- On December 10, 2016
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‘Start with the end in mind’, a well-used quote from Stephen Covey… and acted upon by the most successful of business leaders. As small business owners, if you don’t know your destination, how can you figure out the possible routes to get there? If you’re unclear where you’re heading, those around you certainly won’t have a clue!
As a business coach I support owner managers in having a clear strategy to get them where they want to be. Any strategy needs to have a final desirable outcome so that means you need to know what you want from your business – what you went into business to achieve. It sounds straight forward enough, but being victims of our own success, we can lose sight of what we really want.
Here are four key steps you can take to ensure that you have a clear and sustainable business vision.
1) Remind yourself why you went into business
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget about what you really want to achieve by running your own business. Think back to when you first started. What were your sources of motivation? Are they still the same?
Many owner managers want the control that having your own business gives you, or the flexibility to work the hours you choose, with whom you work and of course what you do day in and day out. Others want to earn more money for themselves instead of another company, and for most, to suit their lifestyle so work can fit with other priorities in their life. Think what rings true for you and consider if the reality fits the dream.
If the dream is not becoming your reality, go back to your core values to bring front of mind what success means to you and how you measure it. Is it more fun and less stress? Is it to make more profit for financial security? Values are also fundamental in the way you do business and lead to living other core values such as happiness.
Once you are clear about what you want from your business, you can set goals that are achievable as they will be congruent with the way you want to live your life and run your business.
2) Think about what you have achieved so far
Remind yourself of where you started and where you are now. Try to work out how you got there – what worked, what didn’t, what you enjoyed and what you found difficult. Consider the following points and jot down a few notes.
- What are your successes? They don’t have to be huge. Success as measured in terms of what you wanted to happen.
- Who helped contribute to your success? Keep them around and make sure they know they are valued!
- How well did you manage to play to your strengths, to do what you do best and retain inspiration for your business?
3) Decide what you want to achieve in the next year
Think about the year ahead and decide upon your priorities. Once you are clear about what will make this year a success, put a plan in place to achieve it. Consider the following points.
- How did you make last year’s successes happen? If you want a repeat of the success, what can you do again this year to make it happen again?
- What didn’t happen that you tried to achieve? What do you need to do differently to make it a reality this year?
- What didn’t you make time to even try last year that you really want to go for this year? How are you going to make time for it now? How much of a priority is it?
4) Establish a 3 year vision
Project yourself 3 years ahead to where you want your business to be and how you want to spend your day. Know you have the power to create the life exactly as you choose it to be. The following questions may help.
- What does your environment look like? Are you in an office? What colour are the walls and what is hanging on them? What furniture and equipment is around you? What is your view from the window?
- What can you hear yourself saying about your day and how business is doing?
- How is that making you feel? What are your energy levels like?
- What activities make up your day?
- What are you looking forward to?
- What do others see you doing?
- What does your team look like? How many staff do you have, or do you outsource? Are they all based in the office? Do they work part time or full time? What can you hear them saying? What is their mood?
- Now let’s take a look at your clients – Who are they? What range of clients do you have?
- What about your income? What profit is the company making? How is that helping you live the lifestyle you want?
Just by taking the time to write down your considered responses, it will start your creative juices flowing as to how to get on track and create the business you want.
Speed of implementation
Now you know why you are in business, what you have achieved so far and where you want to get to, you need to take action. Don’t procrastinate – make a commitment to take action. Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect; you can tweak things on the way, but surround yourself with the team you need to make it happen.