Time to take stock

January is the time of year when many think about changing their lives and starting a business. For those that have already done so, it’s time to think about how they might do things differently: smarter, faster and more profitably. Love them or hate them, the concept of a New Year’s resolution – in fact, any opportunity to stop and think strategically about your direction in business – is a valuable one.

Many entrepreneurs testify to the importance of taking stock on a regular basis. Zach Davis’ “22 Essential New Year’s Resolutions For Entrepreneurs, From Entrepreneurs” for Tech.co gives universally relevant tips from those that have been there, done it and more importantly, learned from it. Many ideas put forward are those that we know we should be doing, but it really helps to hear from successful people just why. It makes for a good ‘take stock’ read if you need some inspiration.

For his New Year article, Martin Zwilling writing for Forbes highlighted the importance of being a happy entrepreneur. He cites staying rooted in the present, keeping expectations realistic, trusting employees and getting a good work/family/life balance as critical success factors in achieving satisfaction as an entrepreneur. He also suggests exercising the other side of your brain. “If your job is analytical, take some time regularly to explore the creative side of your personality, or vice versa. The happiest people are whole-brained, rather than just left brain or right brain,” says Zwilling.

At the start of the New Year, the people behind the fledgling businesses in the Catalyst Centre shared their business’s value proposition with the judging panel who were keen to check in on progress. This time round, their fellow Catalyst tenants joined the panel and were encouraged to ask questions and challenge. Each year, the value proposition is a major focus within the Catalyst programme. At its core, it is a summary of the benefit you provide and why a consumer should buy your product or use your service over another. It requires developing a deep understanding of the problems they face, and how you solve these better than similar products on the market, and the panel helped them do just that.
The value proposition is ever-evolving as it is constantly refreshed by customer feedback. Presenting a clear value proposition involves a great deal of taking stock, challenging what you think you know about your marketplace and the product or service that you hope will make you a success. So what did our current Catalyst Centre tenants make of it?

“I found the whole thing a little daunting, but exceptionally worthwhile,” commented Steve Khoo from Tidal Harness. “Whoever knew there could be so much value in a value proposition! From the moment you start a business, it’s go, go, go! You set yourself tight timeframes to achieve certain milestones and from then onwards you’re engrossed in the day-to-day running of your business. Taking the time out to review and challenge what I thought I knew about the direction of my business was extremely worthwhile. In fact, I think I will make a new year’s resolution to do it every January to guide me in the year ahead.”