By Hayes Knight – 15 December 2009

When we wrote our Christmas list as a five year old, it seemed that every toy was a need not a want. Cast this forward to our business owners operating in today’s unremitting economic hurricane and although the lists have moved on from a train set, Go-Kart, pocket knife and torch to a more sober register of cash, sales growth, efficiencies, innovation, succession plans and more cash, we continue to see these gifts as needs rather than wants.

Perhaps they are needs but one thing has changed, we now have some control over whether that list is realised. This control means updating or setting a new business plan/strategy to cope with the refurbished market we will operate in, and creating that new direction starts from yesterday. Here is a quote;

‘It amazes me that most people spend more time planning next summers holiday than they do planning the rest of their lives’ – Patricia Fripp

How pertinent. Many business owners have been thinking about today and hoping that come the New Year, there will be a miraculous change in business conditions as trade winds increase and we say goodbye to the sales drought many of us have experienced. Living on ‘Hope’ is possibly the ‘Nope’ approach to rekindled success. It’s time to consolidate our thoughts and innovate to invigorate a sustainable, successful business model. We’re moving to a new space which is going to reward inspiration rather than perspiration in our market niche. That is, take the lift not the treadmill. Those that grasp the strategic planning bull by the horns in the immediate future are more likely to make it to the gateway of prosperity.

2010 is going to be about leadership, governance and spirit. By governance we don’t mean just ticking the compliance boxes of management control. Governance is going to require innovation becoming the core value set of your organisation. The normal as we’ve known it for the past seven years has actually been the abnormal and we’re unlikely to experience a ride on the coat tails of a steep growth curve in our economy for some time.

Tomorrow’s business leaders will be those who search for solutions themselves and create opportunities through strategic planning and refined or new product / service developments. For many, the Santa Sack will be bare, but for the true entrepreneur, they will look into their business and find the future’s success strategy. With that will come the cash, sales growth, efficiencies, innovations, succession plans and even more cash than was on that original Santa list. Our future is up to us and how we choose to act. Coming up with a potential solution is a pathway and implementing it is a few footsteps up that highway. Perhaps it’s also timely to conclude and suggest a final quote as we move to the holiday season with next year’s goals in mind:

‘In golf, as in life, it is the follow-through that makes the difference’ – unknown