5 Key Habits for SME Leaders

April 29, 2018


VALUE YOUR TIME - Your time is a limited resource, 1440 minutes in every day is all you get and you have lots competing for those precious minutes. Valuing your time is really about being mindful of the choices you make on how you use that time, and having a simple routine that enables you to ensure you are using your time on the right things. Start by identifying your key tasks and prioritising by the outcomes you want to achieve from the task, then group similar work together and schedule the groups in your calendar, lastly stand back and look at your week as a whole to see if you have the balance right. Take one week at a time and be very clear that its not about managing the time its about making the right choices.



KEEP YOUR WORD - Your business relies on loyal customers and staff, referrals and support, to achieve that you must build trusting relationships. Make a habit of honouring your commitments and when you can't renegotiating as soon as you can. Make bold promises to your clients and customers and do everything you can to follow through, be committed to providing an extraordinary workplace for your employees and exceed your suppliers expectations every time. Businesses built on purpose and values out perform those that don't, and nothing will damage your reputation more than unkept promises and disgruntled customers, staff and suppliers sharing their poor experiences. And don't forget that the small things count, because trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.



BE GUIDED BY A PLAN - The right plan can double your chances of success. We all know that business plans work and some of us have them, however even less of us actually bring the plan to life and use it to guide us. I set an annual plan on a page, and I have it where I can see it. When I am scheduling my weeks I check in to ensure that what I am spending my time on is moving me closer to my end goal. Each month I check in on the plan to ensure it is current and I make changes where I need to. Keeping your long term goals front of mind and using them to guide your decision making will significantly increase your chances of getting where you want to be. 



KNOW YOUR NUMBERS - They may be the elephant in the room but embracing them is one of the best things you can do for your business. Know and love your numbers is one of the key habits I support my clients to develop. We do that by keeping it simple, set a budget and some other key metrics like repeat customers. Next identify a small group of key metrics that really highlight the health of your business (around 5-7 is usually plenty). Finally integrate a check-in (actuals to budget/plan) into your routine, like over a coffee each Monday. Doing this can really give you fantastic focus for the week, and there is no better feedback as to the health of your business.



LIVE YOUR WHY - "People don't buy what you do they buy why you do it" Simon Sinek. You don't sell to people, they chose to buy from you so give your people a reason to choose you. Give people something to care about, unite people in a common cause, help your customers or clients to be part of something more, something that helps them leverage their small contribution to have a bigger impact. How do you make a habit of living it? Make sure your why guides every decision, talk about it often, use it as your elevator pitch, when you are asked what you do tell them why you do what you do, design your marketing around it, put it on the front page of your website, be prepared to say no because of it, keep it front of mind for everyone by communicating to your key stakeholders how they have helped make an impact. Make it a regular part of your conversations.Why? Because it matters!


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