Indeed it’s most definitely time to change the record. The 2016 vinyl of songs has reached the “Auld Lands Syne”, end of year track. Its time to look back, learn from the ups and downs, to and fro of last year, gain wisdom and insight into how to layout new tracks for the new record to be played in 2017.
Wow! What a year. I must admit by the time i reached December 22nd i was extremely exhausted and looking forward to never seeing a computer screen again. I checked out from the social techno-mania industry i normally thrive in, using the festive season to take a sabbatical from all things online. It was refreshing to just “Eat, Sleep and Pray” as the movie goes. I would highly recommend it to all. A key give back of such a session is that it allows you a clearer perspective of all that has gone on in the previous 300+ days.
I had jumped into 2016 by biting off what seemed like an insane opportunity. No money, lots of vision, boundless enthusiasm and inexperienced staff. Crazy right? It however turned out to be the best adventure i have been on and really stretched us to new heights. The economic free fall of the Nigerian economy coupled with the drop in fuel prices and the tinkering with the Forex market by the powers that be, meant that there was a strangle hold on access to funds. Nothing new coming fom the banks in terms of real loans to SMEs and here i was with what appeared to be highly cash intensive project.
On with the thinking caps and to work we went. Come December without realising it, my team and i had moved considerably close to achieving the January 2016 goal of having a hub up and running.
The insight i have gained from this last year can be divided into the following:-
- Take time out to dream your dream from which you can set your vision and goals for the year.
- Surround yourself with a team that gets your vision and has the energy and determination to help you drive towards it.
- Equally so keep valued friends and professionals close and value their advise and suggestions.
- Remember that you are the one with the dream and vision, so if anyone is going to not get paid it has to be you.
- “Feed” your team. They are there to help you, and sure they buy into your vision, but essentially it is your vision. They are there to get paid at the end of each month. Honor this commitment.
- Always raise the bar, and you will find your team will rise to the occasion. Those that don’t, i am afraid the slow to hire quick to fire rule must be applied.
- Understand the money. Get an accounting software and work with it. Get an accountant to check, but you need to understand the flows and accounts yourself. If i am honest my biggest failure last year was handing my accounts over to an accountant who was far to busy to really service my business. I had no clear idea of what the money was doing, which is big NO! NO! This will change from here going forward.
- Sort out your tax. We have begun. In Nigeria generating revenue at the local and federal level is now key, as the price drop in oil has left a big hole in money needed for expenditure. They are looking to get that back from tax. So start getting right with the tax man.
- Use technology to manage yourself, your day, your work and your life. Set reminders reminders reminders!!!
- Step out of your comfort zone to extend your visibility and reach. It will bring you more business and connections.
- Never ever give up. Reassess, re-plan, replay and refocus but never ever give up.
- Meet regularly with your team and exchange information, ideas, pains and hopes to keep them connected with you and the business and you with them.
- Take a day in the month to have fun with your team, on the firm. You may not pay them much but this little act will show them you appreciate them and reenergise them to do more for the business and you.
- Check in with your mentor often to keep you focused and to gain encouragement or redirection.
- Call card allowance no matter how small to each staff member helps them extend your business reach, try it.
- In hard times think about barter as another form of payment. Exchanging services of equivalent value or part exchanging may save you loan interest payments, get you moving and keep you moving. It was an invaluable factor in our project moving to the stage it did. Most of the vendors we tried to deal with quoted millions and millions of naira. We ended up doing a lot of work ourselves and bartering for services in exchange for our services where we could not do the work. It proved to be invaluable.
Going into 2017 all the above are still going to be relevant but add to the latter the following for 2017
- Dont get into the recession depression. Yes there are going to problems and liquidity will be tight but think of each issue as a problem that needs to be solved and take a moment to pray, meditate or think on it, which ever method suits your style. Look at it from different perspectives until you can find a way through. You will be suprised that there is always a way.
- Work hard, but find balance. Last year i promised myself that i would give my business my all. Literally 365/24/7. I did exactly that. Worked day and night and everything else was shelved. I rarely do this but i wanted to give my business the start it deserved to get it going. It seems to have worked but i will get back to you on that. It however left me drained and inaccessible to friends, family and others. Not to mention thinks like swimming and social activities were put on a back burner. I feel going into 2017 that i will be taking a more balanced approach of working and playing. Lets see how that goes.
- Just get on and push out all the ideas one after the other. BE FEARLESS YET PRUDENT AND JUST DO IT.
- Choose to be successful and you will.
For now this is all i have. If you want to add more to my 2017 list from your own experience then drop me a line.
My vision for this year is clear and i will let you know what they are in the weekend. So keep following.
Here’s wishing you all the good things that 2017 can offer you, prosperity, peace, hope, joy, success and more.