A lot of the small business owners I work with come to me in a frazzled state, either rushed off their feet because they’ve got too much to do, or stressed because their business isn’t making enough money (or both!).
They’re normally running around like a headless chicken attempting to stay on top of things, and trying any-and-everything they can think of to get ahead, to little or no avail. It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace that financial or time pressures bring but as Rollo May said “It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when they have lost their way”.
So if you’ve hit a wall in your business, and are feeling a little frantic right now in terms of income and productivity your first port of call is to slow down. Sure, it’ll feel like the opposite of what you should be doing, but picking up speed on the wrong path certainly won’t help you get ahead either!
You then need to take a trip down memory lane and get back to basics, which are typically forgotten when stress gets the better of us.
Here are the first 5 steps you need to take to reconnect with your business and start feeling in control again: –
1. Get clear on your goals and know your numbers: If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your business there’s no way you can guarantee that the work you’re doing is actually a productive use of your time. Think: revenue, number of clients, hours worked, succession planning, social media stats, client engagement, referrals …. the list goes on!
2. Make sure you know who your target market is: It doesn’t matter how hard you work, and how fast you ‘run’, if you’re not 100% clear on who your product or service is aimed at then your sales and marketing won’t reap the rewards you’re hoping for. Drill down into exactly what your ideal client looks like – consider where they hang out, what they buy, how much money they make, their family status, location, age … again, the list of measurables is long, and the clearer you are on them the better chance your business has of booming!
3. Know your value: When things get tough it’s tempting to reduce your prices and offer all manner of crazy reductions in a desperate attempt to lure anyone to buy from you. Unfortunately in so many cases all this does is simply devalue your offering. Don’t downplay yourself – get clear on your market value and think more strategically with your marketing. Perhaps it’s time to update the packages you offer to fit your target audience more appropriately, or maybe you could introduce a referral system or build a strategic alliance with an aligned business that has the same target market as you. Either way, don’t think that lower prices always means more clients.
4. Have a plan and follow-it: When you know what your business goals are, and you’re clear on your target market and value, the next step is to make sure you have a clear plan regarding your business development and marketing activities that you consistently follow. Sporadic marketing and scattered business building efforts can lead to a roller coaster ride in your business, which isn’t much fun when you’re hurtling towards the ground! Make sure you memorise my favorite phrase to help keep your business stable – “ordinary things, consistently done, produce extraordinary results”. When you do the simple yet effective things regularly, and you test and measure how successful they are (adjusting your plan where necessary), you’ll reap the rewards.
5. Introduce Your Goals To Your Diary: There’s no point in having clear tangible business goals and a great business development plan, if you don’t actually do anything about them! So here’s where you need to make sure your productivity skyrockets by diarising the activities you know you should be doing. Having a plan of action whirling around in your head is pretty much useless, so aim to write at least two tasks in your diary a day that contribute directly to your key business goals – so in other words, they need to be revenue generating. Plan your day the night before and get clear on when you’re going to do those two key tasks, giving them the same level of commitment you would your top client.
Of course there are a LOT of other things I get my clients working on, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now and stuck in your business these provide a great starting point to get you over that first hurdle. And if you’d like to find out how I can help your business boom book your 30-minute complimentary consultation now.
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