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So as I write this it’s Sunday night, and the temptation is so strong to pour a glass of wine, grab some chocolate from the fridge and kick back and watch some old episodes of the West Wing from the comfort of my couch.

But I can’t – because tomorrow morning I’m meeting with my “partner in accountability”* to go over our business priorities and jobs for next week. And, in the true tradition of leaving my uni assignments to the last minute, I have a few things not quite crossed off my list of priorities from last week.

So here I sit, writing the blog posts I committed to and polishing some of my business processes so I can report back tomorrow.

In the day-to-day busy-ness of running your business, who holds you accountable for your own business growth? For many micro- and small-business owners so much of our time is focused on our customers’ needs and meeting urgent deadlines, we can go a long time without focusing on our own business priorities.

To combat this, my friend Sally from alluxia and I catch up every Monday morning. While we sip coffee (or chai, for me) and scoff avocado on toast we chat through the challenges we’ve had over the past week and the things we want to focus on over the next seven days. We bounce ideas around and provide a much-needed sounding board for each other. As we’re both “one-(wo)man bands” it gives us the opportunity to get out of our own heads and get an objective opinion from someone whose perspective we trust.

We avoid the (often very strong) temptation to chat about our weekends, leave our social catch ups for another time, and set aside this time to focus completely on our businesses.

We leave with a list of clear priorities for the week, and the knowledge that in just one week there will be someone waiting to hear about our progress and hold us accountable for what we have and haven’t done.

We also give each other permission to be honest (brutal even) if we haven’t fulfilled our commitments, or in challenging the value of new activities and goals.

In sharing our goals and plans, by speaking them out loud, we’re giving them greater weight and therefore a much greater chance of being achieved.

And this works not just in business but for personal goals as well. Having someone to keep track with you, cheer you on and give you that sometimes-needed kick up the butt makes working towards any goal easier, and more enjoyable.

So who holds you accountable, either in business or with personal goals?

ACTION: Identify a friend who has the skills, experience and approach that you think can help you with your business. Identify how you can help each other, and set a schedule to catch up regularly. Come prepared, keep focused on your business and leave with clear action steps.

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