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2018 needs more of you to make it the best business year ever

This article was provided by Sanlam and written by Harry Welby-Cooke. See for more information.

Yes, that’s right – I did say more. Your business needs more from you and so does our beautiful continent. No pressure.

We’ve thankfully put behind us an ‘interesting’ 2017. Between the infamous Indian families, state capture, Bell Pottinger, Steinhoff, Mugabe finally going, Trump vs Kim – a seemingly never-ending list – it’s amazing you have survived at all. But although survival is what entrepreneurs do well, it’s not what we’re made for. Entrepreneurs are made to thrive and in doing so create abundance for all those around them. After all, life is only possible because of business.

Think about that for a moment: All of modern life is only possible because of business.

Entrepreneurship, therefore, comes with a huge sense of responsibility and 2018 is the time to banish your comfort zone forever and get going. In fact, stop procrastinating and hurry up.

It’s January and you, therefore, have permission to create a whole new you before creating a whole new business. Throw away all the outdated plans, your old thinking and start afresh. Do not budget for an inflation-related growth in anything, and 10% or 15% won’t cut it either. Take the time to think about what is truly possible for you and your business and shoot for the stars.

To assist you, I have a really simple formula:

Dream x Goal x Learn x Plan x Action


Start dreaming again. Go back to why you started your business in the first place and get serious about achieving that. Find your inner child that still wants to move mountains and change the world and start committing to a dream that excites you. If you’re fortunate enough to have already exceeded your wildest expectations, stop being lazy and get going on some new and bigger dreams. Dreams always need to start out selfish and be more about you. As you start achieving them though, I know you’ll start dreaming more about contribution, leaving a legacy, standing for something important and real. Your business is simply a chosen vehicle to serve you. Get that right.


More and more I realise that people don’t understand goals. Why would we? Other than hearing about the acronym SMART, whoever taught us how to do it? A goal is not an extended or prioritised ‘to-do list’. A goal is a dream with a deadline. Take your new-found, exciting dream and build a set of goals on how you’re going to hit certain milestones on your way to achieving your dream. Goals should both excite and scare you at the same time. The right goal will ensure that you’re bouncing out of bed earlier than normal and doing whatever it takes to make it happen. It’s a non-negotiable, not just a nice–to-have. Break it down like this:

  • Have a high level 3 year goal (BHAG – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal).
  • Break this down into where you need to be in 12 months.
  • Take the 12 month goal and develop quarterly milestones and targets.
  • Quarterly targets can be further simplified into monthly benchmarks.
  • Then set out weekly bite-sized chunks, all rolling up to the fantastic new 2018 you’ve just


Here’s the more from YOU part you were dreading. You can’t go about trying to achieve your dreams, no matter how well you’ve set your goal, if you’re not investing in yourself to facilitate the achieving part. You drive the company and therefore you need to be better. Jim Rohn stated the painful truth: “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Ouch! He also said: “Never wish that your life was better; wish that you were.” You’re not going to achieve new and exciting things with yesterday’s knowledge. Stop trying to wing it and step it up a notch. If you’re in a comfort zone, you need more learning to stretch you to the next level. If you’ve hit a ceiling, you need more learning to get you through it. If you’re not sure what to do or where to start, you need to start learning to discover the clarity. If you’re tired of putting off your dreams and goals, delaying what you know was truly meant for you, then learning is your new best friend.


Interesting how the learn part came before the planning phase? You need new information, skills, knowledge, understanding and insight before you can develop the right plan. Not just a few actions scribbled down or added onto a spreadsheet, but a real plan. Remember, we’re going to be doing this every year, so the plan does not have to take you all the way to 2028. It’s the plan to allow you, your staff and your business to focus on implementing the right things to ensure you hit your goal. It’s taking what is often in your head anyway and documenting it for the benefit of everyone – you and your team. That way you can get out of the way and allow your team to get to implementing what’s required. It should be detailed enough to pass onto others, so that with little or no understanding of the business or the history, they can get on with it. It should, however, also have built-in flexibility to deal with any curve balls you’ll no doubt be thrown during the year.


Now it’s the time to get into action! The right plan now dictates what actions need to be taken. Your actions are now no longer governed by the latest and greatest idea you had in the shower this morning, the panic-inducing news article you read before work, your innermost fears, and so forth. Now you and everyone around you can get to work on what’s truly important. Now you can put your head down and commit to a better business and a better life. Your actions are well planned, based on new and continuous learning, designed to achieve your goals and over time hit every single dream you have for you, your family, your business and the wider community you serve. Now that’s a business I know you can get excited about.

Don’t delay. Your business is your chosen vehicle to serve you. It’s also the abundance creator that employs people, gives work to suppliers and serves the needs of your customers or clients, and when it thrives – so do all those around you. Accept your responsibility as an entrepreneur and get going. Start to truly thrive and make this year your best ever.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straight forward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success

Go to to download your free copy.

Sanlam is a proud Partner of the NSBC.