James Caan on growing your business in 2015

‘New year, new career’ has made its usual appearance across media channels this month and the encouragement of annual reflections often makes employees wonder if the grass is greener on the other side?

Reflecting on 2014 reminds us all to think about our career focused New Year resolutions and ensure we have done everything we promised we would do the year before.

More importantly though, it prompts us to focus on projections for 2015.

Annual reviews always seem to be met with negativity and dread but really, they should be welcomed as the perfect opportunity to map out your year and discuss mutual progress trackers.

As an employer, it is important that you communicate clearly to your staff what you’re expecting from them and what success looks like to you. Setting these goals will not only aid their productivity, it will also improve your working relationship and reputation as a good manager.

As well as a time for nostalgia, January is the time to set goals for 2015 and drive ambition throughout your business. Re-engage with your team; are you confident they are happy? Ask them these questions and reiterate why they are so valuable to you and this is especially true when it comes to annual reviews.

As a manager or business owner, you have a real vision of where your business is going, you know exactly what your plans are for the next 3, 6, 12 months but do your team? Make sure you are consistently sharing your vision with them.

Employees who feel irrelevant in their roles are ripe for headhunting. If you do not make each individual member of your team part of the business’ future progress, recruiting new staff is a consequence you may have to face.

Sometimes staff can feel like they’re efforts aren’t being recognised, so make sure you demonstrate their value and contribution during the planning process. Every employee from the apprentice up to Director should be clear on their role in achieving your business goals for the year ahead.

As an employee, working towards a shared goal is one of the best ways to analyse your own performance too. Once you have worked with your manager to establish what success looks like, you will always have an indicator to help keep you on track.

Remember, a review is for you as much as it is for your manager, so when it’s time, make sure you have a list of things you want to cover.

Have a think about the process of goal setting; what are the steps you need to take to reach the next level?

Are there any obstacles preventing you from getting there? Identity the contacts and information needed to achieve the goal and finally review and assess.

As a leader, understandably your business is your passion, you put in every hour of your day to ensuring its success and of course your team will possess a similar kind of dedication.

However, you need to realise that, that same level of drive and passion will not always be equally shared by your employees, so it’s important to maintain motivation and provide career progression.

It’s your job to drive your staff because your people ultimately drive your business.

As an employee, understanding what success looks like for 2015 means you‘re in a better position to explain why you deserve that bonus, pay rise, new responsibility etc.

As an employer, setting clear goals and giving good feedback on last year’s progress will ensure your team stay motivated, and on course to help your business grow.


About James Caan

James Caan CBE is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs. He made his fortune through the global success of his Recruitment companies, Alexander Mann and Humana International, before founding private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw in 2004. He is best known for joining the panel of the hit BBC show Dragons’ Den, and more recently, The Business Class on CNBC. A passionate supporter of small businesses, James chairs the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme, which provides funding and mentoring to budding entrepreneurs.