You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘Don’t look back, you’re not going that way’, but whilst it is true that dwelling on past failures isn’t healthy, I believe it’s important to look back, reflect on what has gone well and log your failures and achievements so you can move forward with new understanding and enthusiasm.

For me, there are two distinct aspects to why we look back in business:

  1. Moving forward 
  2. Change.

For us to move forward we often have to stop, take a view of the business, establish what has not worked or could be improved upon, and reflect on what change is needed.

We can always look at what we can cease doing, remove or let go of before replacing it with the progression gained by doing or achieving something else. What’s stopping you moving forward? Is it a physical object, mindset or how you use your valuable time? Perhaps it’s an old way of working, old ideas, old habits or old limiting beliefs that are holding you back. Or it could be that a change of customers, suppliers or team members is what’s needed? All these things can be reviewed and replaced with something new or fortified as needed!

To accomplish progress, we need to make changes, but that’s not something be frightened of. My year has changed me, just as I’ve made changes in my own businesses, and I’m thankful for that. So, for now it’s not the time to learn from past mistakes! Instead, I’m looking back to share and celebrate some of my greatest achievements. Will you join me?

Looking back at some of my favourite moments

In 2000 I was appointed as the National Chairman of Rotaract in Great Britain and Ireland (part of Rotary international), which was an honour and an enjoyable experience for each of the 365 days, 525,600 minutes in the role! During this year, my favourite moment was speaking in front of 5,000 people at the Rotary national conference at the SECC in Glasgow, which certainly helped develop my public speaking skills!

And that lesson certainly came in handy when Ben Thompson and I launched the Business Brunch programme with Get Radio. The first show aired on Sunday 10th January 2021. We have done near 50 shows, the majority with three guests and we’ve never duplicated a single person! What that show has taught me, or perhaps the guests themselves, is that Oxfordshire as a business community is extremely willing to help. Not once has a guest come on and tried to sell themselves but shared their experience, expertise, and knowledge.

I have always enjoyed building businesses with a reliable team, so that the revenue repeats from a loyal client base. This has often worked beautifully and a high was selling my first business in 2013. It sounds easy, but it was a period of huge learning for me to position the business for purchase, attract the right buyer and exit with purpose.

I enjoy recognition for the hard work of my teams and myself. It was especially gratifying when my old Bookkeeping / Accounts business was independently shortlisted three times for a national award for ‘Best Bookkeeping Practice’. That was definitely a nice moment.

I pride myself on supporting others and no more so than having led a local networking community for the past 12 years helping local businesses make great connections. The Oxford Business Community Network has become a county-wide group with a choice of networking sessions from speed-networking and tour visit events to breakfast meetings and the Oxford Supper Club. It was a dream of mine and Ben’s to host opportunities for business people in the county where they could come for support, learning and to market themselves without any pressure, responsibilities or high fees. We now have over 100 members in our trusted community.

I am driven and continually push myself for more or better, but a memorable moment of reflection, when I took a time to also celebrate was when I owned and was running five businesses at the same time but had fewer interruptions during a ten day holiday compared to the number when I was working alone with one business! That was certainly a huge achievement for me, which was also appreciated by those close to me.

So, those are some of my best bits, what were yours? If you can’t quite remember them all, maybe a New Year Resolution could be to open an achievements jar where you make a note and pop it in the jar to look back on later. Or perhaps you could sign off each day by keeping a journal that captures those best moments and at the same time ensures you celebrate the successes or reflect on what could be executed better next time. All that remains for me to say now, is thank you to everyone who has been alongside me on my journey, and here’s to a healthy, happy and profitable 2022.

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