By Gerard Burke, Your Business Your Future

At Your Business Your Future we’ve been reflecting on how our business has developed in 2010 and how to continue our growth in 2011. We’ve come up with a checklist of 11 areas we’re going to focus on next year and in the spirit of our mission — to help ambitious owner managers create the future they want for their businesses and for themselves — we’re delighted to share it with you!

1. Know what YOU want in 2011: what do you want to achieve personally from your business next year in terms of role, work/life balance, reward (both financial and otherwise), etc?

2. Start with the end in mind: do you know where you want your business to be by the end of 2011? Have your clearly articulated that to your team?

3. What gets measured, gets done: are you and your team focused on a few key metrics for next year? Do you review your progress regularly?

4. Assume nothing: when did you last challenge your assumptions about how your market and customers behave? When did you last talk to your customers about what’s going on in their world?

5. Be distinctive: are you confident about the distinctive benefits your products/services bring to your customers? Have you articulated these distinctive benefits clearly in all your marketing messages?

6. Mind your margin: do you have a clear plan to maintain and, if possible, increase your profits in 2011?

7. Focus on cash: do you have a clear and regular view of your cash position? Can you anticipate when you might need additional financing and where you might get it from?

8. Deliver through great people: are you recruiting the best people you can afford? And are you engaging them in the vision for your business and rewarding their contribution appropriately?

9. Develop your team: are you enabling and helping your management team to fulfil their potential? Are you working towards a business that is less reliant on you personally?

10. Create space to be a strategist: do you dedicate enough time to working ON your business as well as IN it? How can you ensure you lift your head up from the day to day running of the business and regularly look forward and outwards?

11. Be the best you can be: how will you maintain your passion, energy and focus through 2011? Are you a potential barrier to, as well as the biggest enabler of, growth in your business? How will you develop yourself so that you become the leader your business needs you to be?

Your Business Your Future runs development programmes, in partnership with Cass Business School, which help ambitious owner managers create the future they want for their businesses and themselves - www.yourbusinessyourfuture.co.uk

Join us on