Yesterday I had my monthly board meeting. Do I actually have a physical board of directors? No. I am a Sole Trader. I have a support team of business buddies with different skills and experiences to mine. We bounce ideas off each other on a regular basis.

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Tip to set yourself up for success in 2011

Tip to set yourself up for success in 2011Yesterday I had my monthly board meeting.

Do I actually have a physical board of directors? No. I am a Sole Trader.

I have a support team of business buddies with different skills and experiences to mine. We bounce ideas off each other on a regular basis.

But when it comes to my monthly board meetings, it boils down to little old me reviewing every area of my business, measuring how it is performing, using the information for future goal setting and action planning.

You can find out more about why I do this and why I encourage all my clients to do this by reading Why Board Meetings are Essential for Sole Traders

I wanted to mention this whole subject again now because it is a critical time of year for setting yourself up for success in 2011. Board meetings for sole traders are an essential part of making 2011 your best year yet. Don’t under estimate the powerful impact this one activity can have on your success.

Tip to set yourself up for success in 2011

  • Read Why Board Meetings are Essential for Sole Traders
  • Make a commitment to yourself that you will hold a board meeting every month in 2011. Having a set day each month helps (mine is usually the first Friday of every month).
  • Work out what are the key aspects of your business that will influence your success in 2011 (hint: you need to be covering every aspect of the business that a board of directors would review).
  • Make a list of everything you need to measure monthly. Measuring performance is essential. It is the driver of your action plans.
  • Don’t let not knowing what to do get in your way. Find out. Research. Ask other people. Read books.
  • Do it NOW. Set up a process to manage your board meetings now so that you can hit the ground running in the New Year.

There are many factors that will influence your level of success in 2011. But having a monthly board meeting that assesses every aspect of your business, measures results and uses the information to drive action plans is the backbone that will hold everything together.

Do you already do this? If so, please share your views on how it helps you in the comments below. If you don’t do this yet, do you think it would make a difference to your success levels next year?

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  • Hi Ali, great timely reminder on how important it is to work on your business as much as one works in it. We as sole traders forget this at our peril, but it is so hard to do. Just to share I have a 1 hour marketing meeting on a Monday first thing with little old me, I thought I was crazy doing it when I started out this year but as I come from a corporate background I have done this with my teams for years and it produced results. My challenge was to see if I could repeat this with just me. You know what it works but you need self discipline though and some Monday’s I just down right fail and when this happens there are no excuses I accept from myself and at all costs I make sure the next Monday meeting happens. If I don’t do it then I am not working on my business and I know if I am not doing this then I am not positioning my business for future growth. Thanks for sharing I know I am not alone now in doing this 🙂

  • Sharon, love the idea of your Monday Marketing meeting. I think by scheduling this sort of activity on a set day at a set time and treating it like any other appointment is key to making it become habit.

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  • Marc Sokol

    I love this idea and the metaphor of the board! Most sole traders do this from a financial standpoint at least once a year (as in, did I make sufficient money to stay in this business?). Boards tend to have specific agenda and drive discussion on those topics. Why not do the same with your own board: plan to review your brand, your competition, your R&D/innovation capacity, and even the day-to-day engagement of your most valuable asset…yourself!

    This is a great way to keep your business plan alive. Thanks for the idea, Ali.

  • Hi Daniel, I agree that mastermind groups are extremely powerful. I have read Napolena Hills’s “Think and Grow Rich” several times as there are so many valuable points relating to the mindset of success and pointers about powerful mastermind groups.

    I tend to keep my mastermind group work and my board meetings separate. My board meetings tend to be about strategy, performace measurement, goal setting and action plans. My mastermind groups are around brainstorming, creative thinking, new perspectives, new ideas etc.

    I think they are two “must do” activities for sole traders to boost their success.

  • Hi Daniel, I agree that mastermind groups are extremely powerful. I have read Napolena Hills’s “Think and Grow Rich” several times as there are so many valuable points relating to the mindset of success and pointers about powerful mastermind groups.

    I tend to keep my mastermind group work and my board meetings separate. My board meetings tend to be about strategy, performace measurement, goal setting and action plans. My mastermind groups are around brainstorming, creative thinking, new perspectives, new ideas etc.

    I think they are two “must do” activities for sole traders to boost their success.

  • Daniel Wood

    Hello Ali,
    This is what Napoleon Hill calls the “Master mind group” and is one of the most important keys to success. Gathering people with the right skills and all working to achieve success, for all, is hard but if you can do it, just as you have, this group will help you succeed in things you never would have otherwise.

    Having others look into your business from a outside perspective gives you a lot of new tips and advice.

    //Daniel

  • Hi Ali, this is a great idea and something that will allow us to separate out when we are working ‘in’ our businesses and when we work ‘on’ our businesses. Thanks for the reminder and tip. It is something that I will be getting stuck into again in my business.
    Adrian

  • Hi Adrian, it is a great time of year to review what procedures and systems we have in place to support us and give us the best possible chance of success in the coming year.

  • Malcolm Evans

    Very important. We stretch and trim and reduce our personal feedback to ourselves to suit our comfort levels. Everything will always be just about OK under this excessively tolerant regime unless we learn to evaluate ourselves more objectively.
    I’d also like to stress the SOCIAL element – do try to keep real people invovled as well. There is nothing like having a challenging personal coach and a group of like-minded friends who know when sympathy is required, advice is overdue and, sometimes, when nothing other than a kick up the backside will suffice!

  • Hi Malcolm, thanks for sharing your views. I think your point about having like minded people who stretch and challenge us is spot on. It generates new ideas, creative thinking and accountability. All key to creating success.

  • Bill Park

    Ali,
    Without a doubt it is a must do…I have always run my company around the principles of daily, weekly, and monthly activity (DWM), we also referred to it as “Do it With Meaning.” If you understand the expected outcome, realize that your A-B travel will not be in a straight line, and you use your DWM-activites to make minor adjustments left and right, you will arrive…

    Bill

  • Hi Ali — I echo all these comments here. This really is such a good idea. Every now and then you read something and you feel like slapping yourself — in a good way — almost why did I not think of that. This post is like that. As someone working on my own this is a must. Thanks.

    Michael

  • Michael, really pleased you found this useful. It is a very simple but very powerful thing for any sole trader to do and as you say is a must. Have fun setting it up

  • Hi Bill, love your “do it with meaning” phrase. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Anonymous

    I think what’s really key here is the idea of stopping what you’re doing to reflect. So often we only look at our progress and performance while we’re moving at 100 mph – and from that perspective it’s impossible to assess accurately. This “board meeting” is a great format for real reflection and iteration for improvement!

  • The realisation that change and new ideas only happen if you create space for them is very powerful. Having time to think is often missing in the busy pace of modern life.

  • Naomi

    I think this is a great idea. I also meet with indivuduals to talk about progress, where I am going with the business and bounce ideas around. I totally recommend this.

  • Hi Naomi, it is such a simple yet powerful thing. Good to hear you get value from it too.