Work ON your business, not IN your businessa post on leadership and business planning
Owning a business can seem like the best thing in the world. When you’re in the planning and dreaming stage it seems like you’ll have more freedom, time and money. In fact, you probably had visions of spending a lot of time at the beach or on the golf course as you made your plans.
Then reality set in and you soon realized that your business is a daily drudge and worse than a regular job. You start feeling like you want to run away, escape and end your business. But, the truth is, all you need to do is change a few things so that you can work on your business and not in it.
* Change Your Mindset – It can be hard, after years of having an employee mindset, to switch to an ownership and entrepreneurial mindset. It’s time for you to start thinking like an owner, or at least a manager by setting up systems, delegating tasks, and finding ways to do less but still get more done.
* Set Up Systems and Standards – When you set up systems and standards, it will be a lot easier to get people to help you with your business. You’ll have a clear understanding of what needs to be done each day and which things you must do compared to which things your contractors or employees can do.
* Use the Right Tools – Part of setting up systems is to use technology and other tools to help you make the most of your time. Technology such as email autoresponders, customer management, project management, cloud storage and more is important to use as you can afford in order to make the most of your time.
* Plan for Success in Advance – Don’t just work by putting out fires, instead make plans of what you’re going to do each day, week, month, quarter and year. Planning out basic tasks and duties far in advance will give you time to include additional tasks at the last minute as your industry demands.
* Outsource Strategically – When you outsource, ask yourself whether or not that particular task needs your special touch or not. Many tasks, like customer service, data entry, posting blog posts, social media marketing, email marketing and so forth are all things that someone else can do successfully.
* Provide the Right Training – When you outsource to anyone, even though you’ll likely outsource to a specialist, you want to provide training about your business and your processes. Don’t control the process or their function, but rather control the due dates, quality and style which the deliverables will take.
* Delegate and Compensate Fairly – When you outsource to someone, you need to ensure that who you delegate to can do the job, but you also want to pay them fairly. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking they can get something for nothing or near nothing and still get what they need. In truth, you get what you pay for. If you want to command higher rates, you need to be willing to pay for expert help.
* Attract the Right Clients – One thing that will make your business less of a drudge is if you ensure that your marketing efforts are working to attract the right customers to your business. The right customers will be a joy to work with, and you’ll have fewer fires to put out and fewer mistakes to fix.
* Set Your Fees High Enough – Many small business owners make the mistake of setting their rates too low. You need to set them high enough to provide for your family in the manner you deserve commensurate with the type of business you have and who your audience is. For example, high end life coaches will pay more for your personalized services than an internet marketer who uses “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris as their bible.
When you set up the right systems and use the right tools, you’ll be able to manage your business in a successful way that creates the success you deserve.
Pulling it all together begins with a business plan. A task that is made much bigger by the myths that surround business planning. Which is why I’ve developed a business plan bootcamp to help business owners get the plan out of their head and onto paper where it can be worked towards rather than dreamed about.
Join the Business Plan Bootcamp - Live - FREE - December 16
How to Prepare Your Business for Future Growth8 Aspects to Include in Your Growth Business Plan
If you’re planning on growing your business in the next year, it’s highly advisable to update your business plan to reflect your growing vision. Believe it or not, growing a business takes more thought than just making more sales. You could end up in a bad situation where you’re making more sales than your business can support. It can cause a serious problem with trust from the consumer, and can actually totally ruin your entire business. Better to be ready for future growth.
Here are 8 things you’ll want to consider integrating into your growth business plan. Most people neglect to consider these things in the startup stage, especially if they started with the “fly by the seat of your pants” method.
* Create Standard Operating Procedures – Every single business from a fast food restaurant to a service provider can improve their business by creating standard operating procedures. When you have procedures in place that are repeatable, you’ll experience smoother growing pains and even encourage growth.
* Save Money for Higher Expenses – When your business grows, expenses go up. Whether it’s marketing and advertising, materials, costs for contractors and so forth, you’ll spend a little more on expenses. But, if you’re ready for the higher costs (which can sometimes kick in prior to experiencing the revenue), it’ll go smoother.
* Set Up the Right Software – There are numerous types of cloud-based software that you’re going to need in your business. Whether it’s shopping cart software or a website, you need to ensure that what you’ve chosen is scalable. You don’t want to pay for more than you use, and you want to make sure it scales easily.
* Use Automation Carefully – Today you can automate so much, from social media to even accounting. But, it’s important to choose which things should be automated and which should not. Generally anything to do with engagement should not be automated, and anything that keeps you from having to do data entry should be.
* Put an Accounting System in Place – If you’re currently doing your accounting by hand and you want to grow, it’s going to be best to create an accounting system that is automated and done by a professional. You can do this with many programs, from Go Daddy Bookkeeping to QuickBooks to Quicken.
* Identify Holes in Skills – Sometimes when you want to expand there is a problem when it comes to skills. For example, if you have a service-based business such as a website building business, you’re going to have to hire people like yourself in order to scale up.
* Improve Social Media Accounts – As you seek growth, focus more on your social media accounts. Upgrade them, ensure there is a branding match across networks, and then hire someone to keep your accounts up to date and create a social media marketing strategy.
* Make Contact with Appropriate Contractors – You’re going to have to hire contractors or employees as you ramp up your business and plan for future growth. It depends on the type of business you have, but if you make contact now and get to know people now, you’ll be ready.
If you’re not ready for growth, you can actually end up losing your business. The reason is that you could end up making promises you can’t keep, or having to turn away people due to lack of supply. This can be really hard to take. But, if you prepare in advance you’ll be ready for future business growth.
If you want to build growth into your business in 2017, you won’t want to miss the free webinar on business planning on December 16th.
Join the Business Plan Bootcamp - Live - FREE - December 16
The Biz Talk Webinars were launched at the beginning of the year (2015) but they haven’t been publicized much beyond social media, the Biz Talk Bulletin, and live mentions through networking at Chamber and BSN events. Recent surveys revealed that Yellowhead East Business Owners prefer to hear about learning opportunities through word of mouth and so I’m experimenting with honouring that.
For those who aren’t familiar with webinars, they are basically online meetings – you go to a specific link and will be connected to an online conference room in which the presenter can deliver a full audio and visual experience.
The webinars at Community Futures are geared towards small business start up and marketing. I’m open to suggestions on topics and open to adapting any webinar topic to a live presentation if you want to head up arranging a group get-together in your community.
Each webinar lasts approximately half an hour with ample time for questions and answers after the scheduled presentation.
Webinars are currently scheduled for every Tuesday at 1pm. You can join via your computer, smartphone or tablet while we’re live or you can listen to a recording (if one is available) when it’s convenient for you.
To learn more and be updated on our next scheduled topic, be sure to sign up for the Biz Talk Bulletin