So half term is nearly over for many of us.

Holidays and long breaks are for relaxing with family and friends and recuperating from your hard efforts.

However successful your business is, holidays bring a chance to step back, to recharge and reset both personal and business goals.

However, resetting your business goals starts with resetting yourself.

It’s easy to bounce back from a holiday with enthusiastic good intentions, but good intentions won’t answer a mountain of emails; all those follow-ups to customers or maybe tend to the problems with some of your staff.

Without doing anything differently, before you know it you’re working reactively, trapped in your business due to market demands and ploughing through until the next holiday.

The key thing about change is that it starts with you, so grasp the opportunity presented by any break to make a start towards a change in your behaviour, improve your way of working and therefore your surrounding environment.

10 top tips to create a plan for a change

1. Reflect: Move to clearly understand your own capabilities

Accept that for a change process to be effective, you will need to change your way of working and behaviour through a result of a better understanding of you!

This first step is crucial and it is important to get it right.

A good and easy way to obtain a clear understanding of your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, is to ask for feedback from others and listen, to your staff, your peers, your line manager and your key customers.

At Business Doctors, we call this a 360 degree review and we have a service that can help you to carry this out which is simple and effective.

2. Set targets: Write yourself clear and achievable short-term goals

Be realistic and play to your strengths.

For example, if the goal is ‘to secure six new customer accounts by the end of 2018’, and your personal strength is in communicating with customers and building strong relationships, you might take ownership of this goal yourself.

A good tip is to write down the goal and share with your team.

Put your name to it and the agreed time frame. But if business development is not your strength, don’t take on the task yourself.

Your responsibility is to decide who you could allocate this goal to.

Pass on accountability by saying ‘we agree John, that your target is to secure six new customer accounts by the end of 2018’. Again, document this.

Alternatively, would there be an opportunity to develop someone with potential in the existing team?

If not, to deliver this goal for future growth and success you may need to consider recruitment, so agree as a team to set as an action and agree a time frame to get someone new on board.

3. Choose staff wisely: Surround yourself with the best people you can afford

Recently, an existing client with a well-established business chose to undergo a strategic review process because sales had plateaued for three years.

In the process they came to realise that they were only scratching the surface of their market sector, leaving a lot of potential for growth.

The MD identified and accepted that neither he nor his existing team had the resources or capabilities to develop the sales further to realise the potential for growth identified.

Their clear decision was to recruit a business development manager to fill this resource and capability gap in their organisation.

If this example fits your situation and you also decide to recruit, ensure you employ the best person not only with the capabilities that you need but – and this is key – they match your values and understand the core purpose of why your business exists.

A fundamental part of the recruitment process is to invest properly in the time it takes to search widely and to meet many candidates, and to be patient until you get the right person fit.

It took my client over six months to find the right person.

4. Share: Your goals, achievements and challenges

Update employees regularly on business goals, results, successes and any organisational changes.

Meet challenges by bringing together work teams to help discuss and come up with solutions.

Ultimately you can’t do it all on your own, it’s through sharing your business challenges with your people and working collectively that you will succeed in delivering your own business goals and personal aspirations.

5. Stand up: Lead from the front and be seen
Employees like to see the boss, so ensure you regularly walk the shop floor, staff offices and yard. Twice a day if you are on a single site.

If responsible for a multi-site operation, ensure you visit at least once per month.

Be open to questions and allow staff to interact and engage with you, even get involved in small talk and make them all feel part of the team.

6. Be positive and consistent

Remain positive at all times, even in times of change or difficulty.

Be consistent with the message, objectives and overall goals.

Never get drawn into sharing negative opinions with employees, customers or suppliers.

Remember that whatever challenges your business is going through the chances are your competitors are going through exactly the same.

Many challenges are market (and hence customer behaviour) driven.

Therefore stay focused and keep adapting to the market changes and you will be one step ahead of your competitors, who may just have their heads in the sand.

So there will naturally be opportunities for your business to prosper and get through these tough periods and come out the other side in a stronger position.

7. Be strong: Be willing to make those difficult decisions

When there are tough decisions to make, make them from the head and not the heart.

Do so by utilising and respecting your core team’s input.

Review available data both hard (quantitative) and soft (qualitative) to justify and back up any decision.

Stand by your decision, however, it’s seen by your staff.

Once your decision is made, help your staff to understand why, actively listen to them but ensure you help them to look forward and ultimately this will help everyone move on as "what’s done, is done".

8. Know your limitations: Remain open to seeking help

If you find you are out of your depth, or don’t find the expertise within your business, don’t be afraid of calling in a reputable specialist company or trusted expert.

You are paying for their knowledge and experience and this will help you gain peace of mind.

The advice of experts will be cheaper than learning the slow and hard way or making costly mistakes, or doing nothing at all!

Any change will be quicker to implement too. You will also sleep better at night knowing you have that trusted support network and expertise standing by or just a phone call away.

9. See the goal: Always stay focused on the end result.

Creating momentum and staying focused on the key business goals are two of the key success factors within great organisations.

So stay on track, review, follow actions through and then share the results.

If you do fail in some areas, take it on the chin, treat it as learning, be prepared to adapt and you will bounce back with renewed energy and focus.

Treat the journey as a marathon not a sprint!

10. Rewards
Make sure you reward your team, and yourself, upon success no matter how small.

When things go well, ensure you stop to reflect and enjoy the moment with your team.

Simply have cakes brought into the office on a Friday for delivering a project outcome early.
Or finish early one Wednesday and go out for pizza or even hand out a few tickets to a show, sports event or organise an employee social.

Even consider sharing the financial success through giving staff bonuses or invest in their personal development, but whatever you do make sure that everyone benefits equally, as teamwork is stronger than any individual on their own...

" What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. "

Zig Ziglar

If you are looking to grow your business, Business Doctors Cumbria offer a free business health check where we can help you to set a clear vision to understand the steps you need to take to fulfil your aspirations.

Contact Peter Fleming 0845 163 1490 or 07966 686112 or email