Sunday December 1, 2013 8 commentsThough I'm far from being a perfect business owner, after 19 years of running my own company and 15 years before that, of managing other people's companies, I've got a few things to share with you in hopes that you'll become a better business manager or owner sooner, than later. Here are some good habits to have if you want to become a great business owner:
- Planning: Schedule at least one hour per week to see your business from a vantage point "on the hill," above the playing field. From this viewpoint (in planning mode), you see and remember things that might have been forgotten in the daily work you do. Assess progress on goals; fine-tune them; and create new goals. If the word "planning" doesn't get you excited, then schedule it in to your calendar as "Daydreaming Time." To get started, create a mind-map (here's one for you). Or get a notebook open and write down: "What if..." to begin writing down your plan to solve your biggest challenges of the coming week, month and year. Write down a few action steps to make each dream come true. This simple habit is the single, most important thing you can do with your business time.
- Delegate: Here's the step that most business owners don't know they should do: delegate. Don't do all those action steps alone. Delegate as many tasks as you can to those who are more qualified than you to complete the tasks. If you don't have a team, start assembling an efficient team now (add that as a goal). and see the next step (Build your team). Set up your people to succeed by clearly explaining their tasks and include a time, early on, for them to check-in on the task with you before the task is completed. Why? Just in case you weren't clear and something got missed. After the task is complete, be sure to follow up immediately and give constructive feedback to the person you delegated to, especially if you're adding them on as part of your team.
- Build your team: No one to delegate to? Then write down your ideal employee job description (or intern or virtual assistant) so you're clear on what skills your team should have, then set out to find that person or persons. Use your LinkedIn network and any other network you feel comfortable in. Tell friends and colleagues and reach out to local universities and your Small Business Development Center. If you feel comfortable to reach out to your social networks, go right ahead. Don't settle for less than what you described in your ideal employee job description.
- Education: continually educate yourself by reading articles, blog posts; attending useful seminars and conferences, watching or listening to helpful YouTube video tutorials or the podcasts of the top gurus in your industry. Attend Udemy. Read one or two non-fiction books per month that will help you grow as a leader; teach you how to motivate and manage people; and teach you other business breakthroughs.
- Measure: figure out a system for measuring all your efforts and your team's work. Measure how well your marketing is doing. Measure how well your website is doing. Measure how well your team is doing. Pick one big way to measure everyone's efforts. One big way could be: how many leads are contacting you? Or another way could be: are you meeting or exceeding weekly and monthly revenue goals? If you don't measure your efforts, you won't achieve your goals as quickly or perhaps, not at all.
- Monitor: Your brand's reputation is worth guarding and this begins with monitoring what's published online about it. Google your name and the name of your business and see what shows up in the search results. One free tool to help you with this is Google Alerts. Set up Google Alerts to be notified whenever your name or business name is mentioned on the Internet. Google Alerts help you keep track of positive and negative mentions of you and so you can more quickly take action on negative mentions. Another tool for monitoring your brand name mentions: Sprout Social. You can try it for 30 days for free and then pay a modest monthly fee to continue if you like it. You might be wondering: "well, that's all good and fine, Lori, but what do I do if I find something negative?" Call me and I'll help you.
- Accountability: who's holding YOU, the CEO, accountable? Are YOU getting excellent business advice from someone who has a proven track record in achieving what you're aiming to achieve? Are you part of a mastermind group who can help you with advice? Do you have a coach or mentor whom you meet with on a weekly basis? If not, I strongly recommend you find the right person or mastermind group for you. When you have someone holding you accountable, you'll more likely reach milestones and save money and time in the process.
There are tons of tips I could share with you but these are some of the most effective things you could do.Tell me what you think. I love reading your comments. If you need a little consultation or want to pick my brain, I do rent it out. Call me. Let's get started on achieving your Big Hairy Audacious Goal.