7 ways to give your business a health kick this year

Treat your business to the corporate equivalent of green juice and hot yoga. Ian Baxter gives his top tips on detoxing your business in 2016

7 ways to give your business a health kick this year

A new year is a fresh opportunity to fix what needs fixing; does your business need a detox? For all you business owners on “dryathlons” or health kicks, here are seven ways to trim the fat from your firm and drive out toxic practices.

1. Mend broken relationships

Going back to work offers us the chance to confront things that went wrong last year, rectify words that never should’ve been said and to help others to do the same. If one of your team is critical of another why not get them both in a room together to discuss the matter? This will either quieten the critic or give you an opportunity to manage your way through the issue. People should know that you don’t allow people to talk behind others’ backs but that you will deal with valid claims.

2. Ask yourself honestly if you’re paying some staff a pittance

Take the time to check that all staff are properly paid for their contribution and ensure each of them has the same chance to progress if they perform well. I see this meritocracy as pure capitalism – it has nothing to do with political correctness. This is your opportunity to embed a culture of fairness and equality; not one rule for some and another for the rest.

3. Inspire your team

Staff need to buy into your vision and their role in achieving it this year. Start by giving presentations involving all staff, updating them on 2014, telling them your plans for this year and making your targets personal to them.

4. Make sure you’re not breaking the rules

How are you doing with regulatory compliance? To me, you either chose to have a professional, safe and frankly legal culture or you don’t. If you’ve fallen short in the past now’s the time to put that right by ordering a root and branch review. Face facts: you will never build a sustainable business without confronting this issue.

5. Look at whether your product or service is actually working for your customers

Grasp the nettle and deal with any issues concerning your offering. Start by asking your customers what they want. Don’t bore them to death with a hundred-page customer survey, just make the decision to phone a few customers each month and ask them how you’re doing. One question. Nothing more. It’s amazing how useful this feedback is. But only if you act on it.

6. Talk to suppliers. Are you being a good customer?

Start the year by calling your suppliers and asking them how you could work together better.

Suppliers are as important as customers; you can’t serve your customers without good suppliers.

7. Finally, stop and think. Do you like what you see in the mirror?

All of us managers should take a good hard look in the mirror in the morning. Are we the boss we’d like to be? Would we like to be in our team if roles were reversed? A new year gives us a chance for a fresh start, to try once more to be the manager and person we’ve always aspired to be.

Baxter Freight is one of the UK’s fastest growing logistics businesses, bringing a fresh approach to the industry. The business now employs over 60 staff and expects to handle 40,000 freight shipments next year.

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