As the 2012-13 financial year comes to a close, many businesses both small and large, especially those in retail, are starting to plan for their usual year-end stock-take. Cue groaning.

And whilst stock-takes are often rather dreaded, they’re a great chance for businesses to;

  • reassess those stock items they’re still carrying
  • those they thought they still had in stock but appear to be missing
  • get rid of anything that no longer serves the business to keep on the shelf

In other words it’s a chance to see how the business is tracking on a more detailed level than you’re likely to get from just your P&L or balance sheet.


But what about those of us business to business (and non-retail) space?


Well, a moment of taking stock might be just what we need too.


However, it’s not about inventory or assets or anything else that might belong on a balance sheet or to be discussed with your accountant.


Rather I’m talking about taking a moment to stop and consider what you and your business have achieved. Not in a big goal, revenue-esque, ticking your list off kind of way. Those of us who have lists know as soon as we tick one achievement off, it’s time to focus on the next one – that we’re usually running a little behind on.


No, this is more about taking a moment of personal reflection – to see how far you’ve come. You might start by asking yourself these four questions;


Where were you this time last year, two or ten years ago? Were you just setting up, deeply in debt, making your first profit? Maybe you’d just moved office – or were growing and considering a serviced office for the first time. Maybe you were taking on new staff or outsourcing. If you were just starting out any time within the last five years and you’re still going – congratulations. Reaching your 5th birthday in business is a huge achievement.


What big decisions were you facing? Did they work out as you thought they might? Was that big investment, move, new business direction you were considering, as scary as you thought it might be once you’d actually gotten the ball rolling?


What lessons did you learn along the way? If your business life is anything like mine, it moves along at a ridiculous pace. And because we’re constantly moving towards the next decision, goal, hurdle, launch, etc – sometimes there’s just no chance to review the good and not so good decisions we’ve made along the way. Think about the things that maybe didn’t go according to plan for you. If not, why not? What happened? How could you prevent those same issues from cropping up again?


Who’s helped you along the way? Have you said thank you or better still shown your appreciation in some concrete way – card, flowers, chocolates, wine, lunch, referrals, invite to a non-business event, etc? One of the easiest ways you can show your appreciate these days is with a linkedin recommendation. Who can you write one for today?


Despite the ‘woo-woo-ness’ of the concept, business ‘karma’ really does do the rounds.


Often we’re so focused on reaching our goals (and sometimes they seem so far away) that we forget to look back to see how far we’ve come and what we’ve gained along the way.


Once you stop – even if it’s only for 2 minutes, you’ll start to appreciate that creating business is at its heart merely a process. It’s the sum total of all the little actions and activities you’ve taken – step by step, day by day, month by month, year by year. Remember that the next time your going gets a little tough and just keep going.


I’d love it if you followed me on twitter or you can connect with me via linkedin. And please feel free to share what happened when you stopped to take stock.


If we can help you keep your focus on what matters to you in your business be it outsourcing administration, answering your phone or providing a great meeting space at a moment’s notice, please call us on +61 2 9994 8000 or visit us