It has been difficult the last two years to take the time to work on my business. It is so easy for me to put my head down and just get the work done. Customers, staff, vendors and life can be very distracting and demanding. I only have 24 hours a day. It takes discipline to step back and take the time to reflect on what we are doing. As a result, I was doing the bare minimum. I now can stop and take some strategic time to get back to it.
There is a lot of talk about working on your business, but what does working on the business really mean?
To me it means finding ways to work smarter not harder. This includes ways to do less and get more results. It is also getting a clear picture of what we are doing. Making sure we are doing the right things and living our values. Another issue I like to monitor is to see how I can work with the flow. Sometimes I find myself forcing things to happen, when if I can learn to go with the flow – live is easier.
When I only have time to do the bare minimum, I make sure I keep track of the weekly measurements – where time is going, what cash coming in and marketing efforts. If we hit the standards, I know the business will keep flowing. If we miss the mark, I change our focus or tweak our actions. This is my guiding light.
When I have a day or so available to give it thought, here’s a list of questions I ponder …
- What is my biggest frustration right now? Cash flow, staffing, demanding customers, not enough training, etc. By starting here, I can focus my questions.
- Are we focused on the best customer or client? The best customer is the customer our product or services provide the greatest value to and they are willing and able to pay the highest value.
- Are we providing the best product or service? How can we maximize the value to our client?
- Are we making it easy for our best client to work with us?
- Are we charging a fair value? Giving customer options? Billing at the best time in the best way?
- Are we showing those we work with that we care? How can we show more?
- Am I monitoring the actions necessary so that we focus on the activities that produce the best results?
- Do we offer and promote reoccurring sales?
- How can we leverage what we are doing now to get more out of our efforts?
I pull out my Traction organizer to get back to base, to remember why I started this business. My objective is to make sure I keep true to that mission.
Are you working on your business and keeping true to your mission?
By Mary Guldan-Lindstrom, CPA