Self Check Up
This month we challenged you to conduct a business check-up to identify key areas of your business that may need to be adjusted in order to ensure your business is prepared for success in the 4th quarter, into 2016 and beyond. Those key areas included:
- A check-up of your annual business goals and setting action steps to ensure you meet goal
- Reviewing your performance indicators to ensure you are accurately measuring progress
- Meeting with your Accountant and discussing tax strategies
- A focus on your Marketing Plan, target markets, and lead flow needed to meet your goals
- Examining your Sales Process to identify if it is producing the necessary sales to hit your goals
- Examining the tools, trainings and measurements of success for your employees
There is however one area that we have not discussed. YOU! It’s not unusual for a business owner to fall into the trap of spending too much time working in their business, and not enough time working on their business. When this happens, the Technician takes over and tends to focus on getting through the day, losing sight of the importance of focusing on the entrepreneurial aspects of business ownership. There are three areas of business ownership essential to achieving your annual goals: management of your time, having a clear vision, and leadership of your team.
Time Management - At best, time management is a challenge. At worst, it feels nearly impossible. It is one resource you have at your disposal that you cannot replenish, so it is imperative that you maintain control of it. Now is an excellent time to ensure you are spending your time in a way that moves your business towards meeting its goals. Make a commitment to tracking your time for at least one or two weeks to achieve an objective look at how you spend your time, and what may be interfering with spending your time on the right activities; the activities that ensure your business achieves its goals. As you track your time, note every time you shift a task and note how many minutes you spend on each task. By doing a minute by minute time log you can more readily identify the number of times you are drawn off task by interruptions such as phone calls you really don’t need to take, checking email, employees with questions, vendors, and friends and family that aren’t aware of the value of your time. Reflect on your time log at the end of each day and identify the opportunities for working more effectively and efficiently. Be objective and seek to understand if you’ve slipped into bad habits or if you’re letting other people spend your time for you. Be proactive and prioritize the activities you focus on, making sure the majority of your time is spent on activities that move you closer towards your goals. Create or innovate an ideal daily schedule to proactively plan what you will focus your time on. If you are in coaching, leverage your coach and discuss the opportunities for changing your habits to maximize your efficiency.
Clear Vision – Moving into the 4th quarter, review your Strategic Objective, the vision for your business in the future. While your annual business goals are incremental steps to achieving your Strategic Objective, you need to be intimately connected to the vision of your business in the future and confident it is a clear and compelling picture of where you want to be. Assess if you will achieve your Strategic Objective if your business continues moving in its current direction, at its current pace. Assess if the decisions being made today will take you to the vision and goals you have for tomorrow. If not, determine what adjustments are needed to get you back on the path to success. This is also a great time of year to reinforce the vision with your team. When your team can clearly see the future you are striving for, and buy into the vision you have for your business, the business has a greater opportunity for success.
Leadership of Your Team – Every business needs leadership and it’s up to you to remember that by default, you are a role model for your team and you should be taking the steps necessary to set the example you want them to see. By conducting a time study and ensuring your team is connected to your Strategic Objective, you are leading by example to a clear future. Do a quick check-up in the following areas to assess how you are showing up as a leader in your business:
- Are you and your managers consistently holding one-on-one employee development meetings?
- Is every member of your team clear on their contribution to achieving business goals?
- Are you advocating the use of documented systems and being a champion for systems development?
- Are you keeping open lines of communication with key staff?
- Are you consistent in your actions?
- Are you dependable – do you do what you say you will do?
- Is your language productive, or are you using sarcastic or negative language?
- Do you focus on problems or solutions?
- In what way do you mentor your employees to grow and change?
- Are there areas of your business where you should be leading by example?
Your attitudes and actions send a message to your team – make sure it’s the message you intend for them to receive! Be vigilant with your employee development meetings as they provide your employees a one on one opportunity to speak their mind and receive the necessary feedback to continue their own development. A consistent focus on systems and systems development empowers your team to be a part of the solutions necessary to achieving your vision. Open lines of communication provide transparency throughout your business and ensuring your team has the information necessary to execute their tasks. Staying positive and focusing on solutions ensures you lead by example and challenges your team to think solutions instead of dwelling on problems.
Conducting a business health and wellness check-up before your fourth quarter can provide your business the tune-up it needs to hit your annual goals. By taking this time to proactively seek out the symptoms that indicate your business has unrecognized problems, you can make the adjustments, identify opportunities, hit your goals and set your business up for success in the New Year.