BUSINESS REVIEW: OCTOBER 2016

If you’ve been reading my articles for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big advocate of regular business reviews – weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual – as a tool for keeping your business on track. Weekly and monthly reviews are more about completing projects, hitting targets and realising goals. Quarterly reviews are about detailed planning for the next 3-6 months. And annual reviews are about looking at the bigger picture, seeing if the focus has shifted and course correcting if necessary. Monthly Business Review

I like to do my own annual review in late October/ early November. Well in advance of the holiday season and New Year. I do a deep dive into my own business to look at its strengths and weaknesses as well as potential opportunities and threats. I ask myself questions like ‘am I enjoying my business?’ And how does what I’m doing align with my why? Am I on the right path? Am I making the right choices?

The question of ‘why’ I do what I do is a big one for me. I never set out to be a CEO or to run my own business. Throughout my childhood I dreamed of being a doctor. And probably because I watched too many Hollywood movies, went to bed every night imagining I’d have a paediatric practice in the US. One of my early memories was of being told that I couldn’t be a doctor because I was a girl. I could however be a teacher, a nurse or secretary. Later I was told that there was no purpose in my going to university as girls didn’t need that level of education as they were "only going to go and get married." These comments left a deep impression on me, not least because at that time I didn’t know of any women who had broken free of these stereotypes, and forged a different path.

I grew up with a father who in many ways was like a mini Donald Trump. If you’ve been following me on social media, you now know where my deep distaste and disdain for men like Trump comes from.  When you grow up in such an overbearing environment, it can be hard to know exactly what you are for. But you sure know what you’re against. Bigotry, misogyny, sexism, racism for starters. Knowing what you're against is important. But you also have to know what you're for. Your 'why.'

[callout]CLICK HERE to start planning your 2017 budget and map out your financial plan for the year ahead.[/callout]

I had the very good fortune to receive a first-class education at an all girls’ school where we were encouraged to fulfil our potential. Education was my root out of my circumstances. It’s an agent for positive social change. I was lucky enough to go to university at a time when tuition was free and I received a full grant. If I'd had to take out a student loan, I'm not sure as a girl from a single parent family that I would have gone. School and college is also where you meet your champions. The teachers who tell you that it’s possible. Who cajole and encourage you forward in the direction of your dreams, instilling a sense of confidence and determination along the way. The Head Teacher in my case who told me to use the library after school so that I could get my homework done in peace, away from the daily rows at home. When your home life isn’t great, education can be a game changer. This is a key reason why I became an Ambassador for Half The Sky.

At a critical moment, my confidence deserted me, and I made a fateful decision not to train as a doctor. A decision I subsequently regretted for many years and that left me without ‘my why.’ Had there been more positive female role models to show me the way, to show me what was possible, maybe I would have had more self-belief. But there's no point crying over spilt milk as the old saying goes. It certainly led me down a road that wasn't part of my original plan. A path that led me to a corporate career, working for organisations that worked with the marginalised and disadvantaged. And to 8 years in a tough leadership role as a CEO. I'm very proud of the work I did during that time which included representing (and winning) sex discrimination cases  at employment tribunal, advocating to government on mental health issues and campaigning with MPs on domestic abuse.

But after 25 years in senior managerial and leadership roles, I decided I wanted something different. It awoke in me a deep desire to create something that is uniquely my own. That something will be Built To Succeed™.

Why am I telling you this now?

I’m writing this article at the most consequential time in history. Not just because a man who is uniquely unqualified to be President is on the cusp of being elected to the highest office and having access to the nuclear codes. But because a tough woman has bravely fought her way to within an inch of the Oval Office. And if Hillary is elected, I believe that glass ceiling, whether manifested internally within our psyche or externally through the obstacles we encounter in the boardroom, the workplace, our political institutions etc. will come tumbling down for women not just in America, but around the world. This is what I believe explains why, for so many women and men, casting their vote in this dumpster fire of electoral contests, has been such a deeply moving experience.

This psychic shift has had a profound impact on my own ‘why.’ For years, I thought education was a driving passion within me. And it is. But I believe the role of the champion, the mentor, the coach and the guide is even more powerful. The person who’s trodden the path and got the battle scars to prove it. The person who’s made more mistakes than they care to remember. The person who is a pioneer and a trail blazer. The person who can illuminate the way whilst simultaneously building confidence in others to follow their true path.

This is what I love about my work. Yes, I get excited when my clients hit and exceed their business goals. But what truly inspires and motivates me is seeing my clients grow in confidence to realise that they have bigger dreams and goals than they had ever imagined and can accomplish far more than they ever thought possible. Somebody like Paul Sullivan who has taken a huge risk by going on The Apprentice. But who dares to dream big and has the courage to go for it irrespective of what the 'negative Nellies' have to say.

Along with millions of others, I'll be staying up late hoping to see history being made. And then when I've caught up on my sleep, rolling up my sleeves and getting back to work!

[callout]CLICK HERE to start planning your 2017 budget and map out your financial plan for the year ahead.[/callout]

Join The Conversation

Question: What's your 'big why' behind your business? I love hearing from you so please do share your feedback in the comments box below.

Explore These Additional Resources

Did you miss these articles from October? 

Work With Me

I’m Denyse Whillier, a London based business coach and consultant. I guide entrepreneurs from across the globe to achieve profitable, scaleable growth and create businesses that are Built To Succeed™. Built To Succeed™ is my proven success system, developed during my 8 years in the trenches as a CEO, 25 years’ experience at senior leadership and managerial level and training at Cranfield School of Management, the UK's leading business school. It's this background that sets me apart and helps my clients to get BIG results.

I’d love to start a conversation. Simply use this link to arrange an informal Skype coffee chat. There’s no hard sell. Just solid advice and a straightforward, honest assessment of whether 1:1 business coaching (or business consultancy) would be a good fit for your business, the results you can expect and how to get started.

To get a copy of my e-book, 'How To Take Control Of Your Business ... And Get Off The Financial Roller Coaster,' click HERE.