But before you all burst into a rousing chorus of Slade, let’s try and finish the business for 2014…
As I wrote last week, December isn’t a normal month: it’s a month for taking stock, having some fun and saying ‘thank you.’
And with six days to go – yep, I miss the days when my boys used to count down to Christmas in ‘sleeps’ – it’s time for the last of those three.
It seems a long time ago – certainly a lot longer than 11 months – when I started the year by encouraging you to ‘think the unthinkable’ and get rid of a significant number of your clients or customers: the unprofitable ones. Here’s what I wrote:
I think 2014 represents a major opportunity for all of us. There are clear signs that the economy is recovering and the evidence – both analytical and anecdotal – points to a year where significant growth is possible. But you can’t do that if you’re wasting a lot of your time dealing with unprofitable clients – or profitable clients who simply suck the life out of you.
Hmmm… I’m not so sure about the first part of that paragraph now: there are worrying signs for the global economy and the UK isn’t immune to what’s happening in the rest of the world. But damn it, there have always been worrying signs for some part of the global economy. Whatever winds are blowing, if you’ve planned and prepared properly, if you know what you want to achieve and you’re absolutely focused then you’ll succeed in the coming year.
Over the 47 weekly posts since then I’ve drawn on the management lessons of David Moyes, the incremental gains of Dave Brailsford and encouraged you to ignore the advice of Gordon Gekko. As well as reaching the significant milestone of blog post number 200. I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read and I hope at least some of it has been useful, encouraging or entertaining.
So thank you for reading the blog every week – and in particular, thank you for all the comments, whether they’ve been on the blog itself, by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or a casual aside in the pub. Anyone who writes a blog will tell you that it’s a slightly lonely business, so the comments mean a lot.
…And it goes without saying, thank you to the Board members of TAB York and to everyone at TAB head office in Harrogate. There are not many people who can say they roll out of bed every morning looking forward to their day. I’m one of them and I’m blessed to work with so many intelligent, inspiring, amusing, challenging, ambitious and – to use a simple but accurate word – good people.
Two particularly good people are my colleagues in TAB York, Jackie and Julia – who have emphatically added a new dimension to the business throughout the year. It’s been a pleasure to work with you: thank you for your support, energy and expertise.
Let me also say a word to my TAB colleagues in the UK. All the adjectives above apply – and maybe a few more… Thank you ladies and gentlemen: you have given me a memorable year. Thanks too for the exceptional welcome I receive from everyone at TAB in the States: the visits are always a highlight of my year.
Closer to home, a word to my boys, Dan and Rory – thanks for keeping me grounded and for reminding me what’s really important: Rugby World Cup on the Xbox. Make as many tackles as you like, guys. The Master will show you how it’s done over Christmas…
But my biggest thanks are reserved for my wife, Dav. Being the partner/husband/wife of an entrepreneur is not easy: there are long hours, occasional mood swings and times when you’re there but not there. No-one succeeds in business without an amazing person at their side – and I’ll say the rest somewhere other than the blog!
That’s it for 2014. The blog will return, refreshed and rarin’ to go on Friday January 9th. In the meantime have a truly lovely Christmas, and may the New Year bring everything you would wish for.