Starting a business is an exciting time! Your brain is probably zooming a mile a minute with the most fantastic brainstorm of ideas. While this high is an essential part in fueling your start-up, you need to strategize NOW to make sure that fuel keeps you running in the right direction.
First, take a few quiet minutes to picture where your business will be in six months, a year, two years… How will it affect your life? What does this mean for your family? How will your business help your community and society in general? Savor these pictures and fix them in your mind. Maybe even write it down so you can review it once a week, and make sure you’re not forgetting the forest for the trees. Keep your eye on that prize!
How can you practically make sure you don’t get distracted from the goal?
Have an organized business plan. Your local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Administration office may be able to help with this. The business plan forecasts, in a logical fashion, the development of your company from all angles – your own resources, expansion, financial issues, advertising – to realistically reach the growth your business needs. Having these goals solidly on paper will allow you to go back and consult this document on a regular basis. The business plan also serves as a way of concisely communicating the purpose and needs of your business to potential lenders, investors and consultants.
Find a consultant or mentor. This must be someone you implicitly trust, paid or unpaid, off whom you can bounce ideas. This person should be enthusiastic about what you’re doing and have more experience than you in the business world. Your mentor must be ready to give you constructive criticism and you must be ready to hear it. Some people choose to build themselves a small group of people to take on this task, rather than only one person. It’s all good.
Finish at least one task each day. In the very beginning stages of a business, you’re generally still working at a different position in order to have an income, dealing with your start-up “baby” on the side. Even with big things that need to get done to advance your company, break them up into smaller, manageable tasks. Write down these tasks with realistic due dates. Knock at least one task off your list every day.
Manage your time wisely. While it’s tough to fit more than 24 hours into a day, it is possible to make better use of your time. Read up on great tips and time management tools and use them. Set aside a dedicated work space. Your workspace may be a home office, a rented space, or even a couple of boards over a pair of sawhorses in the corner of the garage. It’s still your workspace. Respect it. No unrelated issues enter this space, ever. Family problems, community pressure, upcoming holidays… they don’t exist when you are at work. Your schedule must include work time at your work space that is 100% for work.
Find your mantra. Keep yourself centered on your goals by finding a line to repeat to yourself. Have these chosen words running through your head. They can change periodically if necessary. Some people find positive statements reiterating goals and success to be helpful, while others, perhaps facing too many interruptions and demands on their time, might be more successful turning into Nancy Reagan of the 1980s in her Just Say No campaign. Stay centered.
Recognize when you need help and get it. Your time is valuable.Trying to save money by doing everything on your own can sometimes cost you more in the long run. I’ve worked with clients who needed to offload tasks, such as ordering their work space furniture, or projects, such as contracting a logo designer. Some clients just needed to be held accountable in order not to get sidetracked. On occasion I’ve wondered if my “nag list” was annoying my client, only to receive a thank you note for keeping him as productive and focused as possible.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, distracted or just stretched too thin, consult your business plan and mentor(s) to make sure you can do it, and then contact us for a consultation!
Staying focused on your business isn’t easy. But with the above tools, you’ll be able to do it. And there is nothing as satisfying as looking back and seeing how much you accomplished.
Submitted by Aviela