Where do you want your business to be in a year from now? In three years? When was the last time you reviewed your business plan to see if you are on track for your target?
Most small business owners wear many hats – operations, sales, bookkeeper, marketer, customer service, etc. When you get busy with the work, you are not always taking time to review how your business is working. Do you have a pipeline for new opportunities? When was the last time you did any marketing activities? Are you in front of your target audience? If you are like most business owners the last time any of those thoughts occurred to you was when you didn’t have enough work to keep you busy 12 hours a day.
Often it is hard to take the time to consider developing a plan for the business? For many, the plan was developed but it hasn’t been reviewed since then. How do you know if it is working and more importantly, is it the “right” plan, if you haven’t looked at it since you wrote it? When you are busy being busy, you don’t think about whether you are going in the right direction, on the right path and getting to your goal as efficiently as you would like. You have things you know you want to do, but cannot seem to find the time to work on them – there is just too much work to be done.
How can you improve your situation? The best way to get a handle on things is to step back and review your business. What is working exactly the way you want it to and what needs dramatic improvement? Are your customers happy and getting the service they need in the time frame they desire? Have you lost any customers or opportunities recently? Do you know why? Do you have systems in place to create a customer experience that is ideal?
It is a good idea to hire someone to help you review your business since it is often difficult to be objective about your situation. When you got into business, you had a vision of your business and/or life as a business owner, even if you never put ink to paper. Is your reality matching your dream/vision? What you started with may have changed as the demands from customers have changed? Reviewing your plan for what seems be working and what doesn’t seem work is a great way to refocus your effort and make strategic decisions.
If your business isn’t producing the revenue you would like or creating too many hours of work in your life, then it is probably not working the way that you thought it would. When you got into business, did you want to be an employee or an owner? Often business owners create a “job” for themselves by starting a business – is that really what you want?
Sharpen your focus and write out your vision for a year from now. Look at where you are and what it will take to get from here to there in 12 months. Determine if you have what you need to make it happen or if you require additional resources; financial, human or services. Then, make a plan and create the business you want!