We are so excited here at RuralScope. We turn 20 years old in 2020. We are celebrating by sharing 20 stories. These will include highlights, lowlights and learnings. A unique insight into our development - personal and business for you. Our aim is to share learnings to support others who live and work across rural Australia.
This is our eighth story in the series. It’s about the importance of holding regular business check in days. And how these are essential to growing a profitable and sustainable business. If you don’t currently work on your business in this way, then I really encourage you to stop right now and run a day like this. And if you work alone and think you’ve got this sorted please think again as it was and now in our 20th year in business still is one of the best ways we work on the business. And great changes have always stemmed from these days. Here's just one example.
It’s true, I can get a little over-zealous with a project or a client, always in a good way. I can give some extra time here or not charge for that hour there etc etc. It feels great while I’m doing it because it means we are achieving more for the client while ensuring outcomes are exceeded. I’m driven by creating and supporting real change, so in all honesty it is super easy for me to not even realise that I’m doing it!! That was THEN. NOW as I reflect, I’m super grateful for our quarterly check in days as it was at one of these that I first recognised that the remuneration I was getting wasn’t stacking up to the time / expertise I put in.
On the particular day in question, I recall sitting in the office at the Round Table (this is where we always had our team meetings). RuralScope was based in Brisbane then (we are now based in rural Victoria) and on our Check In Days we had a shared lunch. It was generally a day of celebration. Before the day I always had a quick look at how the business was going, how many new clients for the quarter, what was the revenue etc. This day started with smiles and laughter as I congratulated everyone for their efforts over the last quarter. We have a standard agenda for these Check in Days. It goes along these lines;
- Current Projects / Clients
- Metrics / Targets
- Observations and Challenges (kind of like highlights and lowlights)
- Barriers to Overcome
- Feedback Circle
We had had a great quarter, we had exceeded all our metrics and targets by approximately 20% and we had an interesting discussion about setting more realistic monthly targets as it appeared we were setting targets that were too easy to reach and hence there wasn’t enough motivation for us to really dig in and do better.
And then, the focus turned to me. As the Director of RuralScope I had a client / project list too and like everyone else on this day I reflected on my time. MMmmmm it didn’t take long for the truth to come out. I was spending longer with some clients than others and the time / expertise I put in wasn’t always reflected in the project budget. Hence as a business we were doing well but when we drilled down to each client, our cost of delivery was different and hence some of the profitability around my clients / projects was questioned. And rightly so. We had a discussion about over servicing clients and how easy this is to do based on our values of;
- Courageous Integrity,
But our value of Accountability got talked about the most here and it helped me and each of our team to reset our boundaries. Our value is Accountability – we take responsibility for our work, results and impact. We go the distance. But this doesn’t mean we should at the risk of over-servicing, poor time management or a blow out of the budget.
Working out your own boundaries in business is essential. These boundaries set up and are responsible for ongoing personal and business success. And yes sometimes, it takes colleagues to help in recognising and resetting when they are out of whack! And I want to leave you with one thing, if you don’t already have quarterly check ins in your business, then please consider them. If you have any questions about this RuralScope story please send an email or pick up the phone.
“Quarterly business check-ins are essential to managing a profitable and sustainable business.”
“Accountability is key – look to team members and colleagues to help.”
“Have a go at quarterly check-ins in your business.”