The Christmas season is now upon us. Once again it appears to have started earlier this year.

When I was a kid, Christmas couldn't come soon enough. My recollection was that my childhood (and in particular, my time at school) dragged by like a Galapagos tortoise making its way up a steep hill. The expectancy over the coming celebration (more specifically the presents) added more weight to the tortoise's back. Then back that up with Christmas Eve — the longest night when you waited for Santa and had several unscheduled visits from your parents, getting increasingly perturbed and frustrated at each visit as the night wore on. "Get to sleep, Russell" the catch cry of the night.

Now, it seems that no sooner is one Christmas in the bag than another is upon us. Adulthood wasn't meant to pass this quickly, was it?

My guess of the reasoning behind the increased speed with which one year passes into another, is that our lives are full to capacity with business and busy-ness.


I have been asked an awful lot in the last week or so about how I see the next year and what my advice would be for certain businesses going into the new year. There is no hard and fast answer to that because the business community is an intricate web of interdependent parts and the story for one business will differ from another just purely because of the different frames of reference brought to bear.

For me, the year ahead holds exciting opportunities which weren't there last year. I think we all should be open to new ideas and directions. So it is with the opening of a new hospitality venture in the Avenue — Vault Bar and Eatery (the old Element site). It has fast become my venue of choice — due in most part to the excellent craft beer on offer and the superb outdoor area. It is encouraging that businesses like Vault are "giving it a go" — and they deserve our support this Christmas. My recommendation: try the ribs.

Like Vault Bar and Eatery, there are people, businesses and organisations who will, in 2019, deliver real value to their customers and community — the important thing here is that they will stick to the path of improvement in the New Year and not be distracted by what the environment throws at them. One of my clients said to me from Auckland last week that when it came to their current revenue streams, they "hoped for the best, but were prepared for the other stuff". And in response to the "other stuff" we are helping them develop a completely new business line — and the early signs are excellent — through being strategic, the core of that business will be completely different in 2019 (and more resilient and sustainable).

And whilst I am glad that a short holiday awaits in a couple of weeks, I can look back on this year and be satisfied with how much of it has turned out — particularly helping people achieve their potential and taking their businesses to new levels. But, in addition to this, I have learnt some lessons along the way, which will stand me in good stead for 2019 and beyond.

Balance Consulting is a Whanganui consultancy specialising in business strategy, process excellence and leadership mentoring — contact Russell on 021 2442421 or John Taylor on 027 4995872.