Thirteen Important Action Steps To Take for Your Business in 2013
Many business owners find themselves so busy working in the day-to-day tasks of their business that they don’t take time to work on their business’s growth. You didn’t start your business with the dream of working long hours for little pay. It’s important to set goals for your business, review your profit plan often and make sure that your business is working for you, instead of vice versa.
I recommend that you take a complete and thorough look at your business at the end of every year. Determine what is working well and what changes need to be implemented. Create a success committee that meets four times a year to review business goals and ensure that you stay on target. Even very small businesses and solo-preneurs need a success team. Here are thirteen action steps that will help you become more profitable and less stressed in 2013.
- Create a new business success plan once a year. Your business plan should be continually evolving. Constantly strive for new growth and equip your business with a success team. Review your plan frequently and make adjustments to ensure that you stay on target to reach your goals.
- Avoid day to day details and shift your focus to business growth & increased revenue. In order for your business to prosper, you’ll need to spend a good portion of your time strategically growing the business and increasing sales. Delegate the details and focus on growth.
- Be a leader and not an employee. It’s really important that you understand all processes of your business, but not necessary that you are the one who completes all tasks. A true leader is one who empowers others. Understand your key processes, but don’t micromanage.
- Focus on the big picture and not just the day-to-day dilemmas. Be careful not become engaged in day-to-day dilemmas, employee drama and time consuming meetings. When you find yourself immersed in a task that is taking a lot of time, ask yourself, “Is this activity helping to achieve our goal?” If not, drop it or delegate it.
- Review your business success plan frequently to make sure that the business is going in the direction of your plan. I recommend that you meet with your success team each quarter. Schedule this on your calendar now for the entire year. Take 45 minutes and review your sales, marketing, publicity and profit goals. If you check in regularly, you’ll be able to make adjustments and stay on track, or possibly exceed your goals. Don’t wait an entire year and wonder why you missed a goal.
- Document each key process of your business. This is a critical step that all businesses need to embrace. What are the crucial day-to-day tasks that must occur for your business to run smoothly? Document them, print them, and keep them where they can be easily located. A digital file lost on a hard drive is no good in an emergency. If there is one person at your company that knows everything and runs everything even if it’s just in one area, your business can be crippled if that employee becomes ill or leaves suddenly. Make sure that you’re key processes are reviewed once a year. Add this task to your calendar and set it an annual auto-repeat.
- Insure your business and the key people who make you successful. There is absolutely no reason why your business and key employees should go uninsured. If you don’t have business insurance, get some today. If you do have business insurance, make an appointment with your agent to review your policy. Chances are, you’re business has changed and may be worth more. Make an appointment for a review and, before you leave that session, make another appointment for next year too.
- Leverage your business with SMART Delegating. If you find that you’re the one doing all the work, chances are you are working long hours for little pay. Use the key processes that you created in step 5 to identify, delegate and automate day-to-day tasks.
- Shape your business by intention, not reaction. Don’t spend your time reacting, be intentional with your time. Before you leave your office each day, identify the tasks that you want to achieve the next day. Review the tasks and make sure that they are important and will build your business. If you don’t have a plan, you may come in to work, answer the phone, check emails and wind up spending your entire day reacting and responding instead of leading and prospering.
- Create a systemized marketing plan that will attract new customers and increase sales. I see a lot of businesses that have no marketing plan at all. They advertise a little, create a website, send an occasional newsletter, buy an ad from time to time. Stop doing that and become an intentional marketer. Identify five ways that you’re going to market your business, ways that target your ideal client and fit into your budget. Review this plan each quarter and if something is not working, drop it and replace it. In the meantime, if someone tries to sell you an ad, you can reply with this: “That sounds interesting, but it’s not in my marketing plan for this quarter. Let me review your information and I’ll let you know if we make any changes.”
- Guard your time and stop being accessible to everyone. Open door policies, while warm, fuzzy and friendly, are a time waster. If you’re door is open to everyone then everyone will come through it. If you answer your phone each time it rings, people will call you for problems that they can solve themselves. You’ll find yourself depleted and you’ll get nothing done. I’d rather you shut your door and complete your work without interruption. If everyone in your company does this, you’ll find that you’ll have time to socialize without stress, when you’re celebrating your latest achievements.
- Schedule time for learning. If you stop learning, you’ll stop growing. Read every day. If you are one of those people who fall asleep reading every night, then try reading first thing in the morning instead. Identify the organizations that offer the type of learning that will help you to lead, grow and prosper. Schedule these workshops and events into your calendar now. If you don’t block time for learning, you know that the busyness of every day will absorb your time and you’ll miss out on opportunities to learn. Be an example to your team and schedule your learning.
- Work with a coach, mentor or mastermind. I don’t know of any person who has achieved their success alone. Hire a coach, engage a mentor or join a mastermind group. Collaboration allows you to see different perspectives, gain fresh insight and can propel new and exciting achievements.
Here’s to your success in 2013…and beyond!