It barely seems two minutes since the first post of the year and yet here we are. Spring. At last. And the clocks go forward on Sunday – one of my favourite days of the year.
It also means that we’re a quarter of the way through the year. Hopefully you’re on track to achieve your goals, aims and ambitions: if not, there may be some serious questions at the next Board meeting…
Spring – and the Easter break – is always a good time for me. First and foremost I’m just back from our two day TAB conference which never fails to re-energise and re-focus me. And it’s impossible not to feel optimistic as you drive around North Yorkshire and see the blossom starting to appear.
It’s also a great time of year for taking stock – and there are five things I try to do every Spring/Easter to make sure I’m right on course for a successful year.
- First and foremost, spend a brutally honest hour with your KPIs. If you’re not on target at the end of March there’s enough of the year left to do something about it – but even if you are well ahead you still need to do the same exercise. What’s gone well, what’s gone badly? Are any of the numbers looking unrealistic? And are any of your targets suddenly looking too easy? I’ve seen too many business owners get into trouble by having a blistering start to the year and then taking their foot off the gas. Like so many things in life, business is about momentum. It’s very difficult to suddenly pick it up in September if you’ve cruised through the summer.
- Spring clean – literally. And get everyone in the office involved. A quick glance around my office tells me that I need to devote an hour to tearing up pieces of paper. And I need to admit that the ‘definitely need to read’ file on my computer definitely isn’t going to be read. Coming into your office on the day after Easter and seeing both your real and virtual desktop looking lean and mean and ready for action has always worked for me.
- Check your online presence. I don’t mean spend thousands on a new website. I do mean check through your website and all your other social media. Is your website responsive? Does it work as well on a tablet and a mobile as it does on a PC? Are the dates correct? If it says ‘last updated 2013’ potential clients might assume that you’re not a fully paid up member of the 21st century. They might be even less impressed if there are spelling and grammar mistakes on your site – which as this article shows, cost British business a significant amount in lost revenue. After all, if the hotel I’m thinking of staying in can’t be bothered to check its website, why should I assume they’ll bother to check that my room is clean?
- As the late Stephen Covey said, ‘sharpen the saw.’ Commit to improving one of your key skills in the next quarter. Maybe you can simply become more productive. I certainly noticed the difference when I started using Toggl to track my time – and I saw a great article in the Observer at the weekend: the top 50 apps for creative minds. These days we all need a creative mind and if you can’t find something in that list that will help you do something better or faster I’d be amazed.
- Finally, sharpen yourself. Get out there and get some fresh air. We’ve all spent too long inside over the last three months and none of the four points above are anywhere near as important as being good to yourself. Take some time off, get some exercise and you’ll come back to the office fresher, sharper and re-focused.
Have a great weekend. Next week I’ll be publishing the blog on Thursday – and taking a look at the lessons you can learn from a $10,000 bag…