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5 Things we learnt in Business in 2015

Posted 10 Dec '15

2015, where did that one go?

It’s been a whirlwind of a year over here at Empire HQ but we wouldn’t want it any other way! This time last year, Empire, was simply an idea and it’s pretty exciting what we have managed to accomplish in only 12 months.

It’s no secret that a year in business travels fast, it’s not long before everything you were planning to implement in the New Year is now a work in progress or perhaps something that has totally slipped off your radar as you go about your daily operations.

Something that is rarely on top of a business owners priorities is reflection. Reflecting on the year that has past, all that you have achieved, your wins, losses and what you have learnt. December is a great time to do this as you can take those lessons (good and bad), learn from them, regather yourself, your team and be ready to attack the New Year with both hands!

We love a Top 5 over here at The Empire, so as the year draws to a close we thought it would be the best time to reflect on 5 things we learnt in business in 2015.

1. Be on-time!

While it seems like a little factor in the big scheme of business, being on time for your clients can impact their perception of you and your business to the extent of it being a determining factor to whether they want to do business with you or not.

In our busy society, being constantly late or not showing up for appointments is a huge pain point in your client’s eyes. When you are on time it shows your client that they matter and that you care about their time too.

2. Cash is King!

You know by now how important cash flow is to your business, and how staying on top of your debtors is integral to managing your cash flow. There is a fine line between being understanding to your client’s situation and giving them an extra week or two or seven vs ensuring your own business has enough cash in the account to continue to operate sustainably. Especially coming up into Christmas shutdown periods when accounts departments close down, cash is getting tight for your customers too so it’s really important to think ahead and ensure you’ll have enough $$ in the bank to meet those expenses when the money may not be coming in.

Debt collection isn’t fun but we are big believers in if you have the right relationships with your clients, they will respect you enough to pay your bills! Unfortunately, it is business though and there is always that rogue few that means you may need to call in the big guns (we are talking about Debt Collection Agency Assistance here not Luke’s bulging biceps).

3. Communication is KEY

Just like being on time, communicating with your clients is so crucial to building a relationship with them and having them as lifelong clients as opposed to a once off fling. Communication is not only about talking to your clients or touching base through your marketing channels, it is more importantly about actively listening to your clients.

When you listen to your clients you can understand their perception of your business, know the reasons why they choose you and why they value your service. Listening and asking for feedback allows you to pick up pointers on how to improve your service, what you are doing better than your competitors and use this to communicate to your future clients.

4. Have an Active Plan

Let’s face it, how many business owners do you know that actively review their business and marketing plan? And really, who can blame them, business and marketing plans that aren’t developed with a lot of input from the business owner themselves can be hard to resonate with. If you have developed your own plan, sometimes you are too busy implementing it, get off track, go round in a circle and actually forget the purpose behind what you were doing in the first place!

The trick is to create your plan with your goals and what you are trying to achieve in a certain time frame, and then action steps to follow. With weekly, monthly and even daily steps that are going to get you closer to achieving what you want. Keep this plan close to your heart (literally, as in, right next to your desk) so you can keep checking back, ensuring you are on track and never lose sight of the big picture as you are working on each step.

5. Don’t be everything to everyone

This comes down to knowing what you do and who you are servicing. You don’t have to be everything to everyone, focusing on your strengths and targeting a specific audience will help you immensely with how you get your clients, the language you use, how you position yourself in the market and allow you to be an expert in your field.

The biggest note to take away is to be your authentic self. Know your values, know who you are, know what you want to achieve and most of all – believe it. This defined purpose will allow you to attract the clients you want and build that Empire that all your wildest dreams are made of!

We encourage you to take a moment, even just an hour, and write down your Top 5 things you learnt this year from your business and see how you can use that to be even better next year. If you wanted to be really crazy, email it through to us – we would love if you shared these with us!

All the best for a safe and Happy Holiday season,

Beth and Luke

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