How to wrap up the year if you are an entrepreneur
David Seinker, founder of The Business Exchange, discusses the best ways for entrepreneurs to wrap up the year.
Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to take their foot off the gas at the end of the year, so to speak. For a lot of the self-employed, time spent relaxing on the beach and on holiday is time spent not making money - something that is always front of mind. It is, however, imperative for freelancers, entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed to mark and end to the year, if possible, and to take time to recharge and refresh before the next year starts. David Seinker, founder and CEO of South African co-working space The Business Exchange, has a few tips on how to wind down 2019 so that entrepreneurs can start off 2020 with clear goals and renewed focus.
1. Take stock of your biggest successes of the year
Even if the year was tough, to have made it to the end of 2019 in one piece means that you must have done something right. Look back on your year and make a note of some of the biggest successes that you and your business have accomplished this year. Perhaps it was onboarding a big client or finally being able to hire more staff? Take stock of these successes and plan how you would like to build on this in 2020.
2. Identify the failures
With success comes failure, too. Identify at least three failures or shortcomings that occurred in 2019 and try to identify what it taught you. Perhaps you had hired someone who turned out to not be a good fit for your team? The lesson here could be that a more thorough interview process is needed going forward Or perhaps you lost a client due to non- or late-delivery of services? Here the lesson could be that you possibly bit off more than you could chew and for 2020, you need to learn to either say no to more work or improve your time management.
3. Acknowledge those who helped you throughout the year
This could be clients, staff or friends and family - identify these people and thank them for helping you in 2019. If it’s staff, thank them for their dedication and hard work over the past 12 months and hint at some positive new plans for the business for 2020. If it’s a client, thank them for their business and let them know that you are looking forward to working with them again in the year ahead. If it’s family or friends, thank them for their help and make sure that they know that their contribution and input has not gone unnoticed. Not only does it make everyone feel good to receive this type of message, but it sets you up for a strong start to 2020 and it makes people want to help you again in the future.
4. Set goals for 2020
It is important to set goals for your business. Set a yearly goal, turn this into monthly goals, which turn into weekly and daily goals. Every business - big or small - needs focus and goals. Perhaps you want to grow the team?dentify the roles you need and how you want to create these jobs. Or maybe you have your eye on a big contract for 2020? What’s the plan to land itt? All the while, keep in mind that at the end of the day, these goals need to contribute to the financial health of the company. You can’t expand your business at a rapid rate and bleed money in order to get there.
5. Mark a definite end date to 2019 and a start date to 2020
Don’t wing it. If you don’t set a definite end date to your working year, you might find yourself waking up on Christmas morning opening your laptop instead of presents. Set a date as to when you would like to close up shop for the year, even if it’s just for a short period. Let your clients know (I am sure they will understand) and put your out-of-office on. If there’s an emergency, you can be reached on your cell phone. In the same manner, set a start date to your 2020 working year. If you said you’d be back in the office 3 January, be back on the 3rd of January. Even if the first day or two is quiet, it will give you time to do some critical planning and thinking about the year ahead. The better prepared you are, the more in control you will feel. With that understood and respected, 2020 might just become your best year in business yet.
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.