September is around the corner and its back to business for you and your venture. The autumn to Christmas stretch is often the most important, busy and lucrative quarter of the year with many businesses generating the largest part of their annual turnover.
1) Step back before you get stuck in
Resist the temptation to plough straight back into work. Youâ€™ve got to step back and see the big picture or you might get lost in the details, email and paperwork and get overwhelmed. Make sure you relaxed, refreshed, ready and can review precisely where you are and where youâ€™re going.
2) Get strategic
To move your business forward you need to know where you are going. If you donâ€™t have a written plan and specific goals and a clear vision/mission â€“ or if they are out of date â€“ now is the time to write or revisit them. This is essential if you have a team, associates, partners or (potential) investors.
But itâ€™s also important for you otherwise youâ€™ll get lost or set off track. Keep it clear and concise: 1-2 pages with specific financial, marketing and operational goals may suffice.
3) Fitness & reality check
Now we need to do a quick health check on you / your business.
Write down the answers to these questions as specifically as you can:
- Whatâ€™s working well?
- What is not working or what are the problem areas?
- Give your business a score from 1-10 (10 being the highest and ideal state of affairs) for the following: Finance; Marketing; Operations and management.
Give yourself credit for whatâ€™s working well. Donâ€™t get disheartened by whatâ€™s not. Use this as baseline feedback on how youâ€™re doing.
4) Clear steps
Based on your strategy and fitness health check, produce a short action plan with the steps you need to take and when. This is the road map and directions.
Keep this simple and specific. What precisely needs to be done by whom and when? For example: Update website services page by end September; Produce a database of key contacts 1-15 October; Write and promote 2015 price list by 1 December.
5) Confidence and support
Confidence in yourself, what youâ€™re doing and why is one of the biggest keys to success â€“ but also crucially to starting, perceiving and keeping going.
Know why youâ€™re running your business and keep this at heart every day. Also seek out those who can help you. Build a network and build a strong bond with your customers, associates and team.
6) Focus and flexibility
Itâ€™s very easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by emails, social media, the telephone â€“ and your own mind. The ability to focus â€“ and yet be alert to opportunity is what separates winners from â€˜also ransâ€™.
- Tip 1: Start the day knowing precisely what success would look like by the end of it
- Tip 2: Complete a key task before you open your emails or social media. See the difference
- Tip 3: Stay alert to whatâ€™s going on with customers, your contacts and your industry and in wider society. This will help you spot new opportunities.
7) Review and fine-tune
Having a plan is all very well but you, your customers and the world are changing all the time. Take 10 minutes to review achievements, challenges and priorities every week. Use this to fine-tune your plan and your actions. Celebrate each step of the way.
Remember thereâ€™s no failure only feedback. If you get stuck reach out to others who can help you.
Remember too that thereâ€™s heaps of advice, information, one-to-ones and workshops available to support you at the Business & IP Centre and beyond. Make use of it.
Rasheed runs a monthly workshop, Soul Trader: Your Life, Your Business at the Centre to help people advance their business goals.