Some days it may feel like your business is running you. You’re reacting and you’re…
Get Confident – Grow a Plan!
Last time, we talked about the ‘Pentagon of Procrastination’. The greatest causes of our procrastination are doubts. Doubts, insecurity, impostor syndrome, whatever label you want to put on it. The thing that’s holding us back most often is our fear.
Have you noticed that since starting your own business, how much more challenging it is to make the ‘big calls’ that you used to do on a daily basis? Everything has become so much more personal. Yet, business isn’t really personal. There is no parallel commentary to the effect of the prospect not liking us, just because they don’t want to buy a product, at this point in time.
Growing our confidence means coming back to the realisation that business is about business. People look after themselves, and if our product or service helps do that, then they’ll be more than happy to purchase our product or service. Normally when not purchasing our product it’s simply because, at this stage, they don’t see the benefit.
The key to confidence is the ability to consistently produce a great result. When I was young and was just starting to play soccer and cricket, I used to practice twice a week to become better and more confident. In business, we can get put off by the smallest setback. Seeing our experience as part of the journey to improvement is all it takes to set us apart from others.
Here’s where a business plan can really help.
If we have a plan to follow, it’s much easier to check things off the list … to see when we’re making progress and understand if the progress we are making is fast or slow and even if we’re on track. The right plan will give us simple steps we’ll need to take each day, week or month.
My five-step approach to creating a business plan:
1. Take stock:
- What’s the vision?
- Where are we now?
- Identify the gaps.
2. Build a marketing plan:
- The problem? / For who? / What difference does it make?
- What’s the message? / Where to spread the news?
- What return are we seeking with our budget?
3. The operations:
- The team and culture.
- Skills/knowledge and development.
- The resources required.
4. Building the financial plan:
- Putting numbers to everything we’ve identified.
- Understanding profit, balance sheets and cash-flow.
- Planning a return on investment.
5. Milestones and scorecards:
Maintaining the business with scorecards:
Growing the business with milestones
- Just one thing at a time.
How Sandra got her groove back.
Sandra has had her own bookkeeping business for about three years now, and it’s gone through a series of phases. One phase showed growth in her business, but then she’d lose a number of clients … only to build it back up and once again lose a series of clients. It seemed like there was a ceiling she simply kept bouncing off.
Of course, there was no ceiling. It was just because as soon as Sandra got busy, things started to unravel a little. Identifying this pattern helped Sandra establish clear procedures for each client, and in doing so saved about 20 hours a week between her and her team. Her clients were getting better, more consistent and complete service and the business maintained better quality relationships with the clients.
Here’s where creating the business plan got exciting. Having a simple scorecard to follow each week, plus simple milestones each month to compliment them, meant that Sandra knew exactly what she needed to do to take her business to the next level. Instead of losing clients, she started being more consistent. She started getting more referrals from existing clients, and this created a new first-world problem. She needed to tighten her administration. A new milestone was created. It became a priority, and as the next milestone, it allowed her to fast track growing her business.
Bring it together.
If you’re realising a pattern of boom and bust, with jobs, clients, profits or even cash flow, maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at where you are. Determine where you want to go and create a plan that will take you there.
You too can enjoy your own business and a lifestyle.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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