Do You Have a Vision for Your Business?
Do you have a vision for your business? Do you know why you’re in business? Do you know want your long-term goals are with having this business? Where do you want to be in 10 years?
So many business owners that I meet can never really answer this type of questions. They never really thought about it. If that’s the case for you, here’s what I recommend.
Take some time out with your staff or with yourself, if it’s just your own business. Get away from it all for a while. Think about the things that really make you want to be in this business. Why are you doing this in the first place? Where do you want to take this business in the next five years, 10 years, 20 years? Craft that long-term vision.
Your Business Is a Reflection of You
The epiphany moment number two is understanding that your business is a direct reflection of you. How you do things is how your business will look. So the more you invest in yourself, the more you improve your personal effectiveness, your leadership skills, your marketing skills, your sales skills, the stronger your business will be.
So many people focus elsewhere but if you’re leading the organization, then the money you spent directly on you impacts the success of the company. Continuously plan to improve yourself. Think about what you might do right now to take the next step.
Passion and Enthusiasm Aren’t Enough: Skills Matter
Don’t assume that enthusiasm and passion are enough. Sure, you’re very passionate about your business and you’re very enthusiastic, but do you have all the right skills?
You need that level of energy as an entrepreneur, but when was the last time you worked on improving your skills? Are you still using some knowledge that you learned maybe back in college or maybe on your first job? When was the last time you read a new book on business or took a course or went to a training program or got another degree or additional certification? How much are you working on those things?
Imagine a professional athlete, maybe someone in the NFL, and imagine that they’re still relying on the skills they learned when they were in high school or in college. They would not be very effective, would they? Yet, so many business people fall into that same trap. So think about what you can do to improve yourself, your personal effectiveness, and your knowledge to be a better leader.
Understanding the Value of Connections
Epiphany moment number four is understanding the value of connections. A lot of business owners focus their attention on their prospects and their customers. It’s all about closing the next sale, and that’s all great, but don’t forget about the other connections. Don’t forget to network.
What about strategic alliances? Do you know some businesses that have the same customers as you have but sell different products? How often are you networking with those people or working with them? Think about all the connections and strategic alliances you can build. Go beyond the direct customer contacts that most people are so focused on.
Don’t Be All Things to All People: Focus on a Niche
Don’t try to be all things to all people. So many times I hear entrepreneurs say “well if I narrow my focus too much, I’m going to miss out on all these clients that are over here and over here. There’s all this business to be had.” In fact, the more you try to be all things to all people, the more you’re not really important to anybody, and that means that your profit margins are likely to be very low.
The more you focus on a niche where you can have a targeted message on the benefits that you bring to a narrow focus of people, the more you can sell at higher prices.
So think about who you really are targeting? What are you selling to those people and how can you increase your margins by being more of an expert in the field?
Avoid Doing It All Yourself: Learn to Delegate
Epiphany moment number six is avoiding the “it’s easier to do it myself” syndrome. How many times have you heard yourself saying that or maybe heard others say “well it’s just easier for myself” or “let me just take care of this.” Well, it might be easier to do it yourself right now, but it’s rarely more effective.
Catch yourself when using that term and think “at this moment it might have been easier for me to handle this right now,” but think long-term. If you keep doing that, when will you have time to do bigger and better things? When will you have time to invest in the growth of the company as opposed to being focused on all these menial tasks? So, learn to delegate!
Understanding the Benefits of Systematizing the Business
So epiphany moment number seven is understanding the benefits of systematizing the business. So many small businesses don’t have systems that are laid out in a clear manual because they say “it’s not really important. We all know what we’re doing. Why do we need to write this down?”
Well if you think about a franchise business, you often pay $100,000 essentially just to get the operating manual, the step-by-step recipe for how the business works.
Now, why is that important? First of all, it helps in training. It documents how we do things, but also, it gives us an opportunity to go back and make corrections and edits. If we’re making up the processes every day, or if we just assume we’re following the same process but haven’t ever really documented it, how can we make improvements? How can we make process improvements? How can we get better? How can we learn?
Take the time to systematize the business. Have an operating manual you can refer to when bringing on new people or expanding the business. It’s a lot easier when you’ve got documented set of processes to fall back on.
So finally, let’s take some action here. Think about these seven epiphany moments we just talked about. Pick one or two that really resonate with you. Create an action plan and get going today!