Five questions construction SMEs should ask themselves right now

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As 2022 begins, construction coach Maria Coulter urges construction SMEs to think about their future by asking five simple questions.

As an SME business owner, how much time do you spend thinking about your future?  Chances are you’re spending your time wearing different hats and flitting between the key skills of juggling and firefighting? Am I right?

At this time of year, it is crucial for your future mindset and business results to reflect on how the last 12 months have been and what you want the next 12 months to be like.  If you’ve done this already, brilliant. If not, grab a brew, pen and paper and let’s begin.

1. What have you and your business achieved in 2021?  What’s gone well?  What are you proud of? What do you want to celebrate?

When I think about our industry and reflect back to the days when I was a project manager, I get Foo Fighter lyrics in my head – “Done, done, and I’m on to the next one” (All My Life).

We seldom look back and really consider the good stuff. Looking back reminds us of what we can do, especially if you’ve got it written down. This helps to build resilience when your future self is going through a bumpy patch. So, let’s get celebrating.

2. Who were you being to achieve it? What did you do to make it happen?

Have you ever been in your ‘Zone of Genius’? Psychologist Gay Hendricks talks about this in his book, The Big Leap. This is where your talents, skills and strengths are aligned, when you’re operating at your best. Were you in that zone when you achieved all you did in 2021?

“We seldom look back and really consider the good stuff. Looking back reminds us of what we can do, especially if you’ve got it written down.”

Maria Coulter

3. What didn’t go so well in 2021? What did you want to achieve but didn’t? What frustrated you the most?

2021 has been incredibly challenging but aside from that, are there any patterns you keep repeating each year? Do you keep setting yourself a particular goal or target and are just not achieving it? How much of what didn’t go well is related to circumstances or mindset?

4. What stopped you from achieving these things? What (if any) blocks or limiting beliefs did you have that might have held you back?

I’m going to get a little bit deep here but bear with me. Limiting beliefs are often formed through childhood from things your parents, teacher or a person of authority might have said to you. Such as, “you will never achieve that”, “you always do this”.  They are also formed through life experiences including relationships and in your working environments.

Let me give you an example concerning a recent client of mine. He has wanted to grow his business for a few years now and in a coaching session, we uncovered a limiting belief that is holding him back. Before he started his business, he thought he was doing well at the company he was at until one day his boss said, “who do you think you are”? This really shocked him, and these words have been keeping him small.

5. Does this strike a chord with you?

Now, let’s look to the future and fast forward to January 2023. You are reflecting back on the last 12 months.

What have you achieved, experienced and made happen? How do you feel about it all? What is different in you and your business compared to 12 months ago?

This is a really powerful question to ask yourself and one that can change your brain. Did you know, top athletes and sports people visualise success before playing a game or running a race? This is also something top sports psychologist Pippa Grange brought to the England football team at the last World Cup. It’s been proven that the same areas of your brain light up when you visualise running a race as when you actually run a race.

Regularly visualising what you want to happen can make a massive impact on your mindset and your results.

Try it, see what happens and let me know how you feel in 12 months’ time.

Maria Coulter is founder of Construction Coach, coaching SMEs and micro-businesses. She runs an online community for small business owners to get expertise and mentoring.

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