Begin As You Mean To Go On

In the nitty-gritty of your business life, you can lose track of things.

Things like:
Why am I doing this anyway?
Whose idea was it to use that software?
How are we supposed to ‘scale up’?
When is the best time to hire more team members?
What is the bottom line for my company?

In order to stay on course, follow these steps:

I. First, dedicate your best, most energetic time to thinking. Think about your real values – the ones that drive you out of bed in the morning, that keep you in business; things that aren’t necessarily in your mission statement.

Business owners have reported values like: love, creation, fear, revenge, power, conformity, achievement, challenge, security…. Whatever your value is, don’t judge it – it’s what you’re working with right now.

People do best when they’re doing what they value. If you aren’t satisfied with your business, it might be because there’s a misalignment between your values and the operations of the company.

One of my first clients had a mission statement written three different ways on her website, each of them pretty vanilla. But she really wants to shake up the entire industry. Now her mission statement says so, and is up on the wall of her office, so she sees it every day.

We all know that writing down your goals and reading them regularly really does keep you on track. But how many of us do it?
It’s a simple thing to do – try it!

II. Take an audit of your systems, as an organic whole. What procedures are in place already? What’s working, and what’s not? This can sometimes be a painful process, because you’ll see where the gaps are. Finding out and naming your business’ pain points is revelatory.

III. Come up with options. This is the fun part. Fix your problem. You have far more options than you know. Entire VC teams can be replaced. You could sell the business. You can hand over the daily management to your intern. You could change your management style. Once you have a long list of options, then make a selection.

IV. Test the changes. Devise a test to see if any changes are going to work. Move the ficus so that the receptionist can see who’s coming up the stairs. You can always move it back. Take the weekend and see how difficult it is to learn a new software system. Run an ad for your dream employee. Once you’ve run a test, there’s a new reality to test. Keep testing until the system improves.

V. Track the effectiveness. This includes knowing when the process is good enough. You don’t have to streamline your entire company in one sweeping change. Go for the easy fixes first. Then tackle that big issue – and don’t be afraid to call on help. One of the advantages of living in the Rogue Valley is that solid business advice is fairly inexpensive, and very fast.

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