I don’t know about you but I think it’s been a fascinating start to 2016. The beginning of the year is always an exciting time, but this year feels a little different. It started for me thinking about the International Space Station and Major Tim Peake launching on his 6 month mission back on the 15th December.
I was fortunate enough to watch the ISS travel across the sky on December 24th – OK I lied to my children and told them it was Santa on his way, but I was just excited because I’d never seen the Space Station go across. And of course Tim is still up there now, 250 miles above us, orbiting the earth every 90 minutes at around 17,500 mph.
This coming Friday, Tim will be the first Britain ever to undertake a spacewalk – He’ll get into his spacesuit and go outside the station for 6 ½ hours to go and repair a power module on the far side of the station. And of course things like this take immense planning. Both the ISS crew, and the team back on Earth are already planning how the space walk will go – When he gets outside Tim will have around 3 minutes to acclimatise himself with being in space, with all those stars. It will be a phenomenal experience for him, and we’ll get to share in that with the coverage beamed back to earth.
But this isn’t something they rush into – it takes a lot of planning. I remember being told the stories about Kennedy, stating that by 1969 the US would put someone on the moon. His actual speech was:
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …
A team of scientists and engineers then had to figure out how to achieve it. But once they’d worked it out, they were only half done – they then had to figure out how to get them back again. That took real planning!
In business we really need to make sure that we are fully planned for 2016 – really committed towards our goals that we set ourselves for the year. What I know is that 97% of people don’t set good enough goals, and I suspect it’s because they have never been taught how to set fantastic goals.
I came across a video recently of something called Brave Man’s Bridge in China. Brave Man’s Bridge is almost 1000 feet long, some 590 feet up. It’s basically a rickety bridge between two peaks. Suspended over a gaping chasm in central China’s Shiniuzhai National Geological Park, you need to walk from one side to the other – but this isn’t any ordinary rickety bridge – the floor is made of glass.
You can view a video here: https://youtu.be/y98zlKbqZ1Q
You literally walk on nothing but glass for 984 feet, 590 feet in the air.
Now there are basically 3 ways you can cross the bridge:
- Shut your eyes and let someone else guide you
- Crawl on your hands and knees like a baby
- Focus clearly on the other side, hold onto the handrail if you need some extra support, and walk calmly and confidently across
Now in my experience, running a business is very similar – The best business people focus on where they are going, use support when they need to, and then move calmly and confidently towards their goals.
However what happens to most business owners is they follow one of the other two options. They shut their eyes and allow themselves to be guided by other people (who may or may not also have their eyes closed) or they crawl along slowly, like a baby.
This year, make a decision to make some clearly defined goals. Get a laser sharp focus on where you want to go, and then begin to walk calmly and confidently towards them – and by all means use as much support as you need to on the way.
The first thing you need to do is set a brilliant plan for 2016. I use a one page strategic plan with my clients, which gives them really good focus on all aspects of their business on just one sheet of paper.
This year, I’ve got an exciting new Programme that I’ve been working on for some time, called the Ministry of Business Growth. The aim of this programme is to help as many small business owners as possible get the education, the resources, the support, the focus and accountability to achieve everything that they want to from their business.
The government have removed the Growth Accelerator scheme that was helping small businesses grow and they’ve reduced the Regional Growth Fund. These two things are going to hamper the growth of small businesses in this country. Now I think that’s a great shame, particularly as, of the 5.2m businesses in the UK, 5.1m of them have less than 10 employees. We know that 80% of all new businesses that start don’t make it to their 5th birthday, and of those, only 20% will reach their 10th birthday. So of all businesses started by people in the UK, 96% fail.
I want to change those figures by giving small business owners the education they need to ensure they are on the road to success.
If you’d like some great education this year, you are more than welcome to come along to one of my free business workshops – I run them monthly, around the first Wednesday in the month. Full details can be found on Eventbrite, or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think about where you want to be at the end 2016, and go out calmly and confidently and achieve it.