Juggling family and business

We’re at the end of the first quarter of the year so how are we doing against our goals/plans/hopes? Well, the first thing is that if you hadn’t set goals for yourself and your business, you could be anywhere. I guess if you’re still in business, that’s your goal. But for most of us, we want more than that. We want to thrive, not just survive. We want less chaos and stress, not more strain from financial pressures and work overload. We want thoughtful, calm business decisions from the heart. Not emotional reactions and short-term solutions. And this comes from knowing where you are going and how you are going to get there. Even if you only know sort-of.

So, what barriers stand in your way? My suggestion is to make a list of the barriers you can identify, then turn each of them into goals. For example, I don’t have the time to do consistent marketing. This should become, I create regular time in my weekly timetable to do marketing. Give it a try and see how you go. Anything which gives you insight to the way forward is valuable.

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Business Planning and chaos

Can you really plan in today’s turbulent and unpredictable business environment? In the book, Chaos Theory and Business Planning by Schwartz & Wilkinson, an old classic, the business planning process is described as “Proceeding from unreliable date through a process of illogical reasoning employing untenable assumptions to arrive at ridiculous conclusions.”

When you do a business plan, you have to allow for Factor X, the problem being, you never know what Factor X is until it hits. And while we are becoming more global by the day, a dramatic Factor X on the other side of the world, can have a devastating impact on your business. So, how to prepare?

Try to allocate funds for long-term plans and for an emergency situation. By putting on-going small amounts into an account, you give yourself a buffer and the security of knowing that you are secure if chaos hits. Ensure that you book regular back-ups for all your systems. If they are booked into your dairy, you are more likely to do them. Good intentions have got many businesses into strife. These are all taken for granted in bigger businesses but often over-looked in the busy focus on survival for small businesses. And yet a small amount of planning, can save a lot of grief and even the business itself.

Am I a great believer that business plans are vital for the success of the business? Most are not working documents, and research shows that most small businesses are too busy doing the doing, to do the planning. I believe the document itself is not the reason for a business plan. As the famous saying goes, the plan itself was not that useful, but the planning process was invaluable.

 

 

Business – the great teacher

Business is a great teacher. When you go into business, you usually do so because of  your strengths. For example, you may be good at selling, or good at marketing, or good at making something. However, business will very quickly reflect what you are not good at. You might be great at finance and figures, but if you can’t sell and get new customers, you’ll have nothing to add up! You may be good at selling, but if you can’t manage your finances, selling and even increasing sales, doesn’t mean that you won’t go belly-up.

Business is a great teacher because it tells you through your bank account what you need to be better at. Usually, we just want to focus and monitor on what we’re good at. And what many think, is that we’ll simply hire someone to do the bits we’re not good at. But you still have to give clear communication on what they have to do, and you have to be able to measure whether they are doing the right things, and are they doing a good job. If you don’t know enough about the subject, you can’t judge how well they are doing. So the sad fact is, you have to learn the basics about what you don’t like doing. It is one of the inescapable facts of being in business. You have to learn the basics of all areas.

When success is too slow!

One of the most frustrating things is when you decide you are going to move to the next level of success, you learn new skills, you create new goals and you put your plan into action. And while you may start with a burst of enthusiasm, you soon find yourself trying to move through mud. It feels hard, nothing seems to work, you get stuck and you don’t know where to turn, what to do next. Every guru recommends a mentor or coach, but where do you find a good one who understands what you’re trying to do?

The fact is, you have tried new skills with an old mindset. Sometimes, new behaviours reveal what goes through your mind. Do you have an expectation of success? Or do you think that maybe what you’re doing won’t work? Is there a pattern? Has this happened before? Try working on changing the mindset, now restart consistently applying your action plan. If you are doing the action, the results will tell you where your mindset is at.