Everyone, business owners included, typically sit down at the first of the year and set business or personal resolutions. Unfortunately those resolutions fall by the wayside, many times, before the end of January. If you’re a business owner who wants to survive and thrive, I urge you to pull out those first of the year resolutions and business goals, dust them off and see if you’re on track.
Here’s what you should do for your mid-year goal check-up.
Look at your top three goals and see if you’re on track. If not, why not? Do they no longer fit your business model? Have you already achieved them? If so, congratulations!
Decide what three things you want to complete before the end of the year and set incremental goals to reach them before years’ end.
Identify items — one to six of them — that are the most critical for you to achieve before the end of the year. Write down the reasons why they are important to you.
Now, for each goal you’ve set, lay down a road map for achieving them. What steps need to be taken to achieve them?
Break down the steps you’ve identified and put a timeline to them.
Look at some of your other, perhaps smaller, goals and see if they can move up to your daily to-do list so you can check them off.
A mid-year goal check-in and check-up is crucial for entrepreneurs. This check-in will also help you see if your first of the year goals are still important and will also help you celebrate the successes you’ve achieved thus far.
Entrepreneurs know that there are ebbs and flows when it comes to business income and expenses. A way to play for those ebbs in cash flow is to have a plan in place for them — prior to the cash influx slow down. Here are my tips for financial planning for entrepreneurs:
Define goals. If you know your financial goals, you can set a course to meet them.
Know your current financial situation. If you’re unaware of your financial situation or your income and expenses you may either find yourself panicking when you don’t need to or you might overspend when you don’t have cash in the bank to cover your spending.
Build, and protect, wealth. When you’re in a financial upswing, set aside money to plan for that rainy day. Have a savings account for your business. Put money into your retirement account. Talk with a financial planner to assure your retirement goals will be met.
Speaking of retirement… plan for it. You will want to retire at some point and you need to decide what that point is and plan for it. What will you need to have in your bank account in order to survive and enjoy your Golden Years? Determine that and work with a financial planner to help you make that happen.
What’s your legacy? Do you want to leave money to your children or grandchildren? Do you plan to sell your business when you retire? What assets will you need to divest yourself of, and how?
Being a business owner is an ideal way to live life, just make your plans — early on in your business phase — for your eventual retirement. You’ve earned it!
There is no one size fits all for success in business or in life for that matter. There are, however, steps that you can take to help amp up the possibilities for success in both areas. I urge you to take a look at these tips and see if any of them might fit into your personal or professional life and use them if you find them helpful.
Don’t over-complicate things. If you make something difficult, chances are you won’t follow through — why would you? You could very well be taking a simple issue and making it harder than it has to be. Remember the acronym K.I.S.S.? Keep It Simple Silly (It’s actually Stupid, but I don’t like that word)
Write a daily to-do list. What gets written down, gets done. It’s that simple. Beware of making a to-do list that is overly long or overly complicated as its sheer size will lead you to procrastination. A thoughtfully planned to-do list will help you accomplish more than you imagined possible.
Do good. Yes, you’re in business to make a living, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do good and make your corner of the world a better place.
Open your mind to new possibilities. You may not want to say yes to every opportunity, but keeping your mind open will help you succeed in business and in life.
Move forward. Keeping a forward momentum will help you achieve more in life than will spinning your wheels. Even when things look bleak, move forward.
Another tip I have to offer is to ask for help. No one is an island and we just can’t do it all ourselves. Build a team for your business. Delegate those items at which you don’t excel so you can concentrate on your core competencies.
If you own a swimming pool service business or a swimming pool construction business you are, in effect, running a retail business, right? I recently read an article about the steps that independent bookstores are taking to keep themselves and their businesses viable and thriving. There are lessons I gleaned from that piece that will help any small business owner who operates a retail location.
Here are the things that independent bookstore owners have found to be their “secrets to success”:
They have built a community. Those who frequent independent bookstores are typically raving fans. They enjoy the experience they have at the bookstore because the bookstore owner goes out of his or her way to make it an experience for the shopper. What can you do to build a community of raving fans for your pool or other retail business?
Just as Amazon offers its, “If you like this, you may like that” or the “People who bought this also bought that” pop up on the screen, independent booksellers also offer that type of information to their customers. What can you use as an add-on or an up sell in a non-pushy way? Consider, if you’re a pool retailer and your customer buys pool noodles, he or she may be interested in a raft or a life jacket or another type of swimming pool toy.
Is your retail outlet appealing? Make it an experience when your customer walks through the door. Clean, artfully arranged and beautifully displayed items will be more appealing than will cluttered aisles and dimly lit merchandise.
When you’re competing in a small market, or a shrinking market, you need to go above and beyond when it comes to customer service. This means answering the phone when customers call. Being diligent in your duties to the client and making every visit an experience. What can you do to emulate the independent bookseller?