Have you ever watched a painter painting the outside of a house? After a while they get off their ladder, take a few steps back and look at their handy work. If you asked the painter why they can’t tell from where they are, they’ll all say the same thing: “it looks good from close up, but you need to step back to get a different perspective”.
Get a Different Perspective
Ever since I’ve been a business owner, getting a different perspective is something that continually pops into my head. Which is why it’s important to regularly sit back and think about the business lessons you learn from the decisions you make and observe the different courses of action that you take.
When you apply your past business lessons, that you’ve learned from running your business, to future decisions you get better outcomes. But to to this, you have to be deliberate in how you you apply these past business lessons.
Hold A Pre Mortem
You’ve probably heard of a post mortem that’s usually applied to understand why somebody has died.
Sometimes, project and sporting teams hold post event reviews or post mortems to understand what went well, what could have gone better and what business lessons can be used to apply for future projects or decisions.
But why wait until after the event to hold a post event or post mortem?
Instead of holding an post event review or pre mortem, before an important decisions is made, why not hold a pre mortem?
A pre mortem is used to test out how you can avoid costly mistakes before they happen. (A pre mortem is an event you hold to help you foresee problems before they occur and therefore positively impact your business outcomes.)
They almost always see something they didn’t see before. In fact many times people see things they had never ever seen before.
An annual review is the same as a post mortem. It’s a way of looking back at your business, figuring out what went well, what could have gone better and what business lessons are to be learned for future events.
Reflect on a year just gone
At the start of a year it is a good time to reflect on the year just gone, the successes, the achievements and the wins.
It’s also a good time to think about what you’ve learned over the year, so that you can apply the knowledge and grow this year.
My top 3 business lessons of 2015;
Here’s my top 3 business lessons of 2015
1. Hire The Right Person For The Job
Firstly, make sure you hire the right person for the right job – last year I decided to have some work done on my website – essentially to give it a freshen up. I awarded the work to a designer I had used before and had a good experience with.
However, on reflection the work was beyond their capabilities and the project quickly went awry shortly after we’d agreed the design brief.
Deadlines were missed and the designer stopped responding to emails.
Fortunately, as I had paid using PayPal I was able to lodge a “dispute” and reclaim the payment that I’d made.
Lesson learned: make sure your contractor has the necessary experience to undertake the work you require by looking at similar examples and if necessary get references off of satisfied clients and if you’re using an overseas contractor, make payment via PayPal or Visa where you can lodge a dispute if you hit problems.
2. Outsource tasks
Secondly, outsource the tasks you neither enjoy or have time for. This has been a game changer for me and probably one of the best decisions I have made in a while. As you know, I’m an accountant and well qualified to do my own books. However, despite having the skills and experience to do it this isn’t a job I particularly enjoy – especially given the time it takes each month. So, this year I’ve engaged a book keeper.
The book keeper saves me about 2-3 hours a month, which frees me up to do higher value work like working with clients or go on a bike ride with my son.
3. Just Ship
The concept of shipping is a simple one. I first heard about the concept on Seth Godin’s Blog and referenced many times in his book Linchpin.
Seth I understand, borrowed the concept from Steve Jobs: “Real Artists Ship”.
Despite knowing all of this, whilst working on a workbook last year, I spent far too long tweaking it which delayed me being able to use it on a workshop – whilst not impacting the clients attending the workshop it did remind me of the old adage to just ship.
When something doesn’t ship you aren’t earning money.
If you want to see what else I enjoyed last year (books, TV shows and movies), check out my post Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016.
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