15 Oct How To Ensure Your Business Thrives Over The Next 12 Months
When you first start your business it’s new, exciting and can very quickly take over your life.
The natural inclination of any business person, who is passionate about what they do, is to work full tilt IN their business.
However, for long term success…it’s vital to learn to take a step back and learn how to work ON your business.
To ensure your business thrives you need to know where you want to get to and HOW you plan to get there.
To ensure you’re in a better place in 12 months time, it requires you to take a step back and spend some time working on your business.
Here are some key steps to follow…
Tip – Consider each of the sections below and put your answers into a document. This can become a central document which you use to help organise, plan and run your business.
Get Clear On Where You Are Right Now
Before you do anything you need to know where you are.
- What’s the current setup of your business?
- Do you have a mission statement in place?
- Do you understand your personal AND business values?
- What is your WHY? (the reason you do what you do).
- How are you spending your working hours?
- What problems are you having?
- What areas aren’t you enjoying?
- How much money are you making? How much are you spending?
Add in anything else useful about where you are now.
Define Where You Want to Be
Ask yourself what do I want to happen? From your business…from your life.
Consider the long term goal of where you want to be. Then and only then you can start to work backwards.
It’s a good idea to define where you want to be ‘Someday’ in 5 Years, 12 months and 3 months.
By working backwards you can start to create a plan. The key then is working day in day out on that plan.
Allow yourself time to do the things that are important to you. Set aside time to be with your loved ones; visit the gym; go for a walk etc. Emergencies aside, there is no reason you cannot build ‘you time’ into your schedule and stick to it.
Learn to manage your boundaries. If you decide that you will be available to your customers for X hours per day then ensure you stick to this. Turn of your phone – better still consider a ‘work only phone’ which remains in your workspace.
Organise Your Clients / Customers
Who do you want to work with? Who are your ideal clients?
Identify them and you will be able to work out how best to target your marketing at them.
Create clear guidelines as to how you work, when you work etc and don’t let anyone blur those lines.
You don’t have to work with everyone, just because someone has the money doesn’t mean you have to take them on.
It’s your business, you have the option to choose.
Organise The How
Success isn’t a straight upwards trajectory. Instead it wiggles around, doubles back, even goes round in circles.
Organise your operation, identify the right people, programs, apps and systems to enable your business to grow and succeed.
Start to document the processes wherever possible, then in time you can more readily outsources and improve processes.
Paul, Founder of YVM, uses Evernote to document everything so that he can either improve processes or more easily outsource it in the future.
Organise Your Technology
These days there is an app’ or programme for just about every business operation.
These develop and evolve with frightening speed so you need to ensure you keep on top of advances. If you are not a technologically minded person then consider outsourcing what you can to a professional.
Network and interact with other experts in your field. What are they doing/using that could benefit you?
Keep in mind that what works for one person or business may not work for you. So, don’t be afraid to keep searching until you find the best apps’ or programmes for you.
You’ve done all the planning, put in place all the systems and (where appropriate) taken on the right people…what next?
To put it simply – check, revisit and re-evaluate on a regular basis. If something isn’t working – change it.
Do not assume that just because you have put a plan in place that it will always be the right one!
PLAN – DO – CHECK – ACT
Sustain the Acceleration
Review your progress regularly. Are you meeting your goals and targets? If not why not?
In a worst case scenario where you are actually not doing as well as before, can you identify why? If you can, can you change something and effect change for the better?
If you are flying, doing really well – could you do better still? Have a look at your successes, identify what is working and do more of it!
You should be learning all the time. Trying new things. Ditching what doesn’t work. Building on your successes.
Common Mistakes That Can (and do) Block Growth
- Not putting on your own oxygen mask (i.e not taking care of yourself)
- Not recognising the importance of positive thinking
- Not setting boundaries
- Doing something that you don’t love
- Not recognising your strengths and weaknesses
- Not outsourcing
- Thinking there is an overnight fix
- Listening to the voice that says you can’t
- Burying your head in the sand
Investing time considering the issues raised in this article will see you reaping the benefit for months and years to come.
Knowing where you are now, where you want to be in 6,12,18 months and understanding what you need to do to get there is invaluable.
To finish with have a think about this quote from Albert Einstein said:
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
When you come up against a problem it’s because you’re current level of thinking isn’t enough to solve it.
That’s like a lot of business owners who reach a certain level of success. They hit a ceiling or a problem that limits their progress.
And so, to get beyond that problem, to push those limits you need to change how you think and the way you do things.
While taking time out of your business to work on it, doesn’t yield immediate rewards…
It does give you the opportunity to take your level of thinking and actions beyond your current level of success.
And when you think like that, taking a bit of time out of your business to work on it, actually becomes the most important thing you could do.