As small business owners there is always something that requires our attention. The problem with that is that we end up getting inundated (working IN our business) and not having time to plan and move the business forward to where we want it to go.
We tell people and we believe this is the best way, and that is – ‘You should sit down and think about a picture of how you want your business and life to be’. We believe that the clearer the picture you have, the more specific you are with both the vision you have and the way you articulate your goals, the more exact will be your outcome.
As Tom Watson Snr (ex IBM CEO) put it: “IBM is what it is today because at the very beginning I had a picture of what IBM would become and look like”. Then they fashioned the current position to be like that picture. He goes on with “We then went to work each day to build a business not just to do what the business did”.
Now that is really cool. The scary thing is that most people in business do not do that, they fail to plan. They either feel it isn’t important to do that, they don’t know how to do it or they are just too busy (in their eyes). At Indigo Financial we truly believe that the only way to really succeed in business is to plan and we work with clients on a monthly, quarterly or ad hoc basis to achieve that. This is one of our most valuable service that we offer.
Once you’ve been in business for a while and have got some results, it’s not unusual to hit a bit of a plateau that you feel like you are stuck on and struggling to get off. You might be able to look up and see the next level you want to get to, but can’t see a clear path to get there. The thinking, actions and tactics that have built your business to where it is, no longer seem to be helping you to grow your business to the level of income you really want.
The key to reaching your potential as a business owner, is to think differently and therefore take different actions to get different results. But how do you do that? Well here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Step back from your business: When you are working in the trenches day in day out, it’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind and because of this you are unable to focus on anything else. Take some time away from your business so you can clear your head and start to look at the situation more objectively. The way we do this with people is either through our Global Business camp event or through full day strategy sessions. With both of those options you get to focus on your business and look at what you want it to look like and feel like. We can then help you implement the plans so you can achieve your goals.
- Connect with other business owners: Get to know other business owners who are further ahead in their journey than you are. Be super curious and ask them what they did to get where they are and consider how you can take similar, appropriate action to move your business forward. The way we can help you do this is either through our Global Business camp events or through our other varied events and seminars. With both of those options you get to network and speak to like minded people just like you. Please look out for our invitations that come out during the year. There are also other avenues you can consider to connect with other business owners.
- Get clear on where your business is now: Carry out a review of where your business is right now. Be honest with yourself and consider asking for a second opinion from someone your know and trust. Gathering feedback from customers and suppliers on how they perceive you is also helpful too. Consider what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are and where you need to challenge yourself to do better. We can help you do this through our strategic questionnaires and then followed by our full day strategy/planning sessions. By doing this we work with you to look at where your business is at and what we need to do together to help you get it to where you want it to go. We can then help you implement the plans so you can achieve your goals.
- Get really clear on where you want your business to go: Without a clear understanding of where you want to go, it’s very hard to get there. It’s like getting in your car and going for a ride without knowing the end destination. Create some compelling vision and mission statements for your business and then set 90 day, 1 year and 3 year goals to help you achieve them. We can help you do this through our strategic questionnaires and then followed by our full day strategy/planning sessions. By doing this we work with you to ensure you can document and articulate where you want to go and we help you get your business to where you want it to go. We can then help you implement the plans so you can achieve your goals.
- Be a life long learner: Learning is not something we do at school, Uni, trade school etc and then think you are then equipped for life. We have to learn new skills all the time. That is exceptionally true for business owners because in order to grow their businesses they must continually upgrade their knowledge and understanding of everything from what’s going on in their market to technology trends, to the latest marketing techniques and much, much more. Get involved in attending things that will allow you to learn and network. As we stated above our Global Business Camp is a great way to do that as are our other varied events that we hold during the year.
- Take action even without all of the facts: One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many business owners is being ok with taking action before they know what the outcome is. It’s impossible to have all the information before you take action though. You must make a rough plan, take action, assess if it’s worked or not, then either keep doing it or take corrective action and go again. If you are waiting for the perfect plan or the perfect timing you won’t do anything because perfect does not exist.
- Find someone to support you: Putting into place all of the above without someone there to support and guide you can be challenging. Often as business owners it’s like we are standing in the dark, pointing our torch into one place in a room, over and over again; so to us it seems like there is nothing else but that one patch. When we work in isolation, we often don’t realise that if we just moved the torch a bit we’d see there’s a whole load of other stuff going on in that room. When we get support from someone else, whether it be a coach, mentor or another business owner, it helps us to see the abundance of other possibilities out there and it helps to keep us accountable for the new action we have decided to take. We have many clients that we work with on this basis where we act as a mentor, board member or a coach. The benefit is that you have someone else that can provide you with thoughts, ideas and also hold you accountable. We find that the rate of success is higher with a mentor involved.
Here are some results form a recent study conducted from 6 countries:
- People who have written goals were 50% more likely to achieve them than those without written goals.
- Even more importantly, those who had written goals accompanied by written action commitments AND who submitted a weekly progress report to a mentor or coach were 78% more likely to achieve their goals than those who were simply asked to think about what they would like to achieve.
Regularly review your progress
Take the time to regularly step away from your business to check in on your progress. When you make any change you must take the time to assess how it’s going and if it’s giving you the outcome you want. Meeting with us on regular basis will ensure you will hit your outcomes.
Don’t get stuck working IN your business and having your business and your life stagnate, change your thinking to change your results!
Here is a great example:
Zuckerberg’s 10-Year Plan — speaking of third waves, recently Facebook’s founder/CEO announced his next BHAG — “give everyone the power to share anything with anyone” (he literally means all 7+ billion people). He stated that it is supported by three pillars:
- Artificial intelligence, which will help Facebook better sift through and understand all the photos, videos and updates people post to Facebook;
- Connectivity, the goal of making Facebook and the internet available everywhere and to everyone through lasers and drones;
- Virtual and augmented reality, which Zuckerberg says one day will bring friends together even if they are on other sides of the planet through a pair of “normal-looking” glasses that can overlay digital elements on the physical world and become “the most social platform.”
Now that is planning at it’s best. They are looking out 10 years and they have a picture of what they believe they need to be doing to keep being successful. How many small businesses are doing that is the question?
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