Small and mid-size business owners often have the luxury of flexible time and scheduling. The flexibility means the time is made up somewhere else! This very asset can be a pitfall without a crystallized structure upon which to assess and process what happens with that time.
Try these five approaches to start putting form and function in your business day:
1. First ask yourself this primary question: Are you running a business or giving yourself a job?
A job can be filled with the contents of your to-do list. A business must have structure and processes to run smoothly.
Study the operations side of your dream.
Operations can be overwhelming and cause the silent demise of a non-focused business.
• Assign a monthly meeting with yourself!
• Allow at least two hours of uninterrupted time to assess the prior month’s business activity, quality of prospects, procedures in terms of effectiveness.
• Use these metrics to build consistency in your accountability to yourself, employees and customers.
• Were you on target? State why.
• Do you spend too much time on “busy work” that maybe can be accomplished by someone else?
Analyze your marketing
• Does your printed material reflect your current image? Your business may have shifted since its inception. A simple redesign of these materials may be a refreshing way to elevate your services. It is an opportunity to contact existing customers, prospects, family members to what you are doing NOW!
• Are you open to new ideas like multimedia to “broadcast” your message?
• Can you benefit from a monthly “brainstorming” meeting with a business coach to keep the marketing plan on track? Do you even have a real written, not imaginary, marketing plan! If not, make this a priority.
Put Fun in Your Business
• Explore ways to keep yourself and employees motivated about your products and services.
• Encourage group participation to build team work. Celebrate the company’s birthday, set a yearly theme calendar of events relative to your industry and target market, open your staff meetings with a three-minute standup routine or book review. This encourages communication skill building and overcomes stage fright.
Consistently Evaluate Your Target Market—It’s Moving!
• Read industry publications.
• Familiarize yourself with venues, publications, websites your target audiences dwell. Study the images, language and pace.
• Keep a notebook of your favorite advertising campaigns and figure how they work. Can you adapt an idea to your business?
Think Creatively, Not Competitively.
• This process will remove the stress of outdoing your competitors. More resources are wasted on the “Me-Too” syndrome.
• Know your competition. Analyze what they are doing. Keep a file for each one and at your monthly “personal meeting” sift through and use as a motivational tool.
Now, think about what business you are really in–do you sell houses or match people with dreams? Do you write résumés or are you a career strategist? Your self-perception has everything to do with the clients you attract. Being different is sometimes risky, so it requires courage to stand apart from the crowd. However, that’s the best way to be noticed! If you see a crowd, go the other way.
For more ideas, contact Michelle Cubas, Enterprise Business Coach/Career Definition at Positive Potentials, 480/922-9699 firstname.lastname@example.org or www. positivepotentials.com.
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