Paul Jarvis, Director of Business Development at St Ann’s Hospice, looks at the year ahead.
As we pack away the Christmas decorations and welcome in a new year, it’s a good time to reflect and consider the direction of our businesses in 2019.
A new year always signifies a fresh start, and whilst for many January is very much ‘business as usual’, it can also mean the chance to take a step back and put a few resolutions in place that will help you to achieve your goals.
So, what business resolutions could we make for 2019?
Make new connections
January is the perfect time to take stock of your contacts book – are there opportunities to start new collaborations with others? Are there people who might be able to help move your business in a different direction? Are there connections you could make that will help you to branch out into new sectors? January is the perfect time to review, refresh, and identify new contacts you might be able to make for 2019.
Ditch the Spring Clean for a Winter one
Why leave the decluttering until spring when you can do it now?
The start of the year is a great time to take stock of what you’ve accumulated over the past twelve months, and think about how much of it you actually need or use. And, if you’re thinking it’s too much hassle to get rid of that old piece of furniture that only acts as a coat stand or paperwork dumping ground, you could try donating it to charity. Organisations like St Ann’s Hospice, where I work, have collection services for furniture and other large items that are donated, so are often able to arrange for pieces to be collected at a convenient time. It takes away the headache of organising removals yourself, and you can also feel good that your office is tidier, items are being recycled, and are also benefiting others – in our case patients and loved ones from across Greater Manchester.
Pledge to leave time for innovation
When the daily grind takes over, it can be easy to miss out on opportunities for development. One way to combat that is to set aside time in your diary each month to take stock, look at what’s going on around you whether with competitors or in other related sectors, and think about opportunities you may be able to take advantage of. It may be as simple as spotting a new potential customer, or it could be that you recognise changes to back office systems or processes that could be improved.
Being strict with the time slot you’ve set aside and treating it like you would another meeting means you will always have time to step back and take stock.
The digital world around us is constantly changing and we must ensure we’re not left behind. But, if your budget is limited, it’s impossible to embrace every new technological advancement in your field. Starting the new year is a great time to think about the digital innovations which would have the biggest impact on your business objectives. Whether that’s using digital to streamline systems, or thinking about how you can improve the digital journey of your customers, even relatively small changes can make a big difference.
Impact your bottom line with a savvy CSR strategy
As a Business Development Director of a local charity, you may think that it’s a given that I would be advocating CSR activity, but as someone who is relatively new to the sector, I can say that I’ve seen the results from both sides.
It can be easy to switch off if Corporate Social Responsibility is mentioned, but a modern CSR plan can benefit businesses in lots of ways – whether that’s improving brand recognition or enhancing reputation, providing development opportunities for staff, raising morale, or increasing profile and profitability, both sides win when it comes to business/charity collaborations.
However you decide to start the new year, I hope it’s a happy, healthy and prosperous one.