By Melitta Campbell, Business Coach
Stepping back and doing a mid-year MOT has never been more important as businesses face an exceptionally difficult trading environment due to rising inflation and soaring energy costs.
Deloitte’s latest CFO survey[i], which provides an authoritative barometer of UK corporates’ sentiment and strategies highlights that a record number of finance leaders (98%) anticipate operating costs to rise in the year ahead. Many CFOs (71%) believe operating margins will fall over the next 12 months, compared to 44% in the previous quarter.
Conducting a mid-year review and making any necessary adjustments could help businesses deal with the challenges ahead.
All businesses improve from learning, so looking back can be a key ingredient of success – an opportunity to focus on what’s right for the business going forward.
No matter what size of type of business, or even where it is in the world there are questions business leaders can ask to review where they are now and where they are heading:
What important things have been accomplished?
Too often companies focus on what went wrong, not on what went right. Taking an objective look at what went well can capture what really works for the business and highlight successes that can be replicated in other areas.
What did not go as planned?
It is equally as important for businesses to look at what did not go as planned too. Business leaders need to be completely honest, and reflect with curiosity and kindness, rather than being critical or disappointed. Often there are good reasons why things did not happen. Understanding these reasons, can help business leaders improve their plans, upgrade skills or update resources to better prepare for the future.
What has worked best for the business this year?
This is the time to look at which marketing strategies, relationships, products, processes, and clients have worked best for the business. Having a brainstorm to look at the positive impacts of all these areas can clarify which activities could be improved, adjusted, or even stopped altogether? This kind of scrutiny means the business will be building on what works best, rather than wasting time on what is not working.
Analyse the finances
Mid-year is an ideal time to take a proper look at the finances. How much income was the business was expected to generate and what came in? What were the expected and un unexpected costs and what costs could be removed? This is an ideal time to plan for any quiet periods ahead, such as July/August when business activities can slow down. Understanding this financial information, makes it easier to make any necessary adjustments.
What has been most enjoyable?
Another recommendation is for business leaders to think about what they enjoy about running the business. This can be a revealing exercise about them as an individual, their values, and their future ambitions.
Richard Branson once said, “If it’s no longer fun stop doing it.” Businesses and individuals are always evolving so making a note of what was enjoyable, or not over the last six months may give them a fresh perspective on where to head next.
Work out goals for the next six months
With all the above in mind, the last step is to set goals for the business for the next six months. These need to be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. Once goals are set, they need to be split into clear plans and activities so everyone knows what actions need to be taken, when and by whom, so that everything stays on track.
Following these steps will give businesses a sound basis for success for the rest of the year. Business leaders can capture personal as well as organisational learning points, and make necessary changes to their current strategy, processes, or resource allocation, and continue to build on their existing strengths feeling motivated and confident about the future.
Listen to Melitta’s podcast and download her workbook for more tips for conducting a mid-year MOT, by clicking here.
Melitta Campbell is an award-winning business coach who is passionate about helping business owners build and grow a profitable, and meaningful business. Her expertise comes from 25+ years of experience in communication, marketing, and leadership, including more than a decade of running her own successful business. For more information visit: www.melittacampbell.com