Happy New Year to each and every one and may 2016 bring you all plenty of work, wealth and great health.

A New Year generally lends itself to a time of reflection, it’s a new time to start all over again, it’s a time to bury the past, change old non-productive habits, learn new things so that we can do things differently. Some of us like the feeling of getting a fresh start and forgetting the past. We like to believe that, during the next 365 days, things will be better and they can be!

Sadly human routines are stubborn things, which helps explain why 88% of all resolutions end in failure, according to a 2007 survey of over 3,000 people conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman. Bad habits are hard to break—and they’re impossible to break if we try to break them all at once (the adage therefore being “less is more”).

Here are the Top 10 Made (and quickly broken) New Year Resolutions:

 Spend More Time with Family and Friends
 Learn Something New
 Save money and get out of debt
 Lose Weight and Get Fit
 Quit Smoking
 Diet and eat healthier
 Travel to New Places
 Be Less Stressed
 Volunteer
 Drink Less

New Year, New Turnover
Money does make the business world go round and to rely on increasing revenue purely on pushing prices up (which ironically can lead to a loss of clients) is a short sighted, imagination limited, financial plan. With over 5.4 million businesses in the UK and a UK population of 64.6 million there are opportunities aplenty for professionals who think out of the box.

The legal services sector of the United Kingdom is a significant part of the UK economy; with a total output of £22.6 billion in 2013. The sector had a trade surplus of £3.1 billion in 2013 and directly employs 316,000 people.

The UK is the world’s most international market for legal services. The UK legal market has a strong global position and English law (which easily sells itself) is in high demand, so all we need is a plan of action, sensible strategy, correct skills and a laser-focused approach.

As the scramble for a slice of the legal pie continues, and yet another business takes a slice (LV=), this definitely confirms that the demand for legal services is booming and with a little more creativity and innovation, on top of everything else you have on your desk, there is clearly more clients to reach and cash to make.

Be a Thinker
To help you get your creative business juices flowing and your mind mapping, I have listed below what we have discovered to be the top five business skills that can aid your business development and easily increase turnover for businesses (if planned and executed strategically):

Top Five Business Skills
 Marketing Skills
 Negotiation Skills
 Networking Skills
 Team leading Skills
 Personal branding Skills

Marketing Skills
Everyone involved in a business has a role to play in marketing. In today’s highly competitive world, marketing sits across every function of a business, and it’s not just down to ‘The Marketing Department.’ If you work within any organisation, or run a business, the marketing principles for all businesses (whether large or small) are exactly the same albeit the budget may be different – marketing is as much a part of your working day as everything else that helps make a profit.

Marketing is a very complex subject, but anyone in business must seek to understand the dynamics of marketing, and develop a few of the core skills so that they can contribute to and see the results of their input. You may feel it’s something best left to the experts, but there are some essential marketing skills that you must use to make a huge difference to your business success.

Negotiation Skills
Good sales negotiation can easily add 10% to sales revenues, which arguably goes straight to the bottom line as profit. Good purchasing negotiation can easily save 10% of the cost of bought in products and services, which again arguably goes straight to the bottom line as extra profit. Good negotiation by managers in dealing with staff can easily reduce staff turnover by 5-10%, which reduces recruitment and training costs by at least the same %, as well as improving quality, consistency and competitive advantage, which for some companies is the difference between success and failure.

Negotiation should focus on creative collaboration, rather than traditional confrontation, or a winner-takes-all result. The modern and ideal aim of negotiation is for those involved in the negotiation process to seek and develop new ways of arriving at better collaborative outcomes, by thinking creatively and working in cooperation with the other side.

Negotiating should develop a ‘partnership’ approach.

Networking Skills
For some of us, the word networking can bring on a nervous reaction. Many of us are not sure where to start, what to say when we connect with someone or how to maintain that relationship. The relationships formed in networking help us create a larger world for ourselves; with a variety of new relationships comes new resources and revenue making opportunities.

Networking helps people to meet you, making you a trusted contact and business partner, and forming relationships which can result in business-related benefits such as career advice, business leads, useful information, new ideas and client referrals.

No matter what profession you’re in, networking is the fuel that accelerates success. Not only is it useful for learning directly from individuals you meet (clients and colleagues), but the benefits of association and growing your own authority, reputation, credibility are powerful and profitable.

Team Leading Skills
Who wants to lead a team based on mediocrity and moderation? That would be a direct negative reflection on who? The leader.
Overall, leadership helps groups and organisations build consensus around common goals, improve collaboration between team members and colleagues and ultimately achieve greater success.

Studies show that 80% of problems experienced in any organisation are people-related so good leadership always benefits the organisation as a whole. With good team leading, team members will feel valued and an integral part of the development of the company – this invariably leads to greater benefits for the business to stimulate production within the workplace, and with more production comes greater profits.

Personal Branding Skills
Basically “Brand it like Beckham“!

What is your brand equity? What are you known for? What do you want to be known for? Creating your personal brand affords you the ability to charge higher prices and still win business(!), gives you greater credibility, the title of expert and an unparalleled reputation as the best in the business.

If you are like everyone else in the market, you are a commodity, and you look the same to the client as all the other options. If your target market discerns nothing special about you, it’s easy for the client to pass you by.

Differentiation or specialism in your career can be an asset to your personal success and positioning yourself to stand for something produces personal value, greater recognition to become the call-to-person for expert advice, keynote speeches and industry respect.

So in closing
Nothing can spoil the start of a new year quite like a long list of promises you already know you are going to break. Some resolutions get betrayed right away; others remind you of your ongoing failure to do something for months. But the cancellation of this annual contract with yourself needn’t happen.

Be bold when you set your financial targets, be SMART with your time (remember Rome was not built in 365 days), be proactive with the decisions you make, be realistic in what you can achieve given the resources you have, avoid time wasters (projects and people), and whatever happens resolve not to give up on your New Year’s Revenue Resolution.

Have a happy and prosperous year in 2016.