What does football have to do with BUSINESS?
You are part of a team on a pitch pushing the ball forward, you’re working hard but where are you heading? Without goal posts how will you ever know you’ve scored?
SME business leaders – do you find your week is full to bursting but are you sure you are moving your business or department forward?
You are the business and how you show up every day is the difference between failure and success.
Here I share 10 quick wins that, if put into practice repeatedly, can have a demonstrative effect on your day/week/month/year – how you feel about work and the results you achieve.
1. Stop and pause, before you start again.
It is essential to really understand your present business position. Ask yourself the questions below, do the research and get the intel on where you are now.
Before any improvement can occur, become really clear about the present position – point A.
Action: Define and write down where you are now.
What does your business look like today?
Overall view – successful, could do better, struggling, stressful, easy?
What are the numbers / metrics?
How do you instinctively feel about your business or working life?
Do you want to power up to the next level or stay the same?
2. Where do you want to be this time next year?
Really picture and feel the future as if you’ve already achieved it.
Look back with pride at the transformation that has occurred over this past year. What are your colleagues and peers saying about the transformation?
Action: Dive into the detail, really dream big.
What are your personal and professional goals?
Who do you admire, aspire to be like?
What does success look like to you – is it an easier, less stressful week, is it more freedom and a better work life balance, or more money?
It’s your future to design – point B.
Now you have the A and the B, you just need to build the bridge between the two. You are heading in a new direction.
3. Obstacles and Opportunities
In order to create the road map between A and B you need to challenge and test your activity and resources.
When you see the obstacles and opportunities through real understanding of your market and audience you can start to take action. Clarity is essential.
Action: What can power you up the mountain or drop you into the depths? Create two lists of everything that might stop you or help you to achieve.
4. Prime Time
Time is an SME’s biggest nightmare. Potentially, you are hands on and involved in many aspects without designated teams. You have unique skills, so it is essential to remove
anything that stops you from the big goal. It makes sense to delegate, recruit or subcontract aspects that don’t need your level of expertise or experience. So that you can focus every day on the strategy and bigger picture.
Action: List What can you get off your desk today?
What clogs your week? What steals your time and enthusiasm, what do you love but rarely get chance to do?
Make a list and find tasks in your week that fundamentally someone else can do perhaps better or quicker than you.
5. Understand your Ideal Customer
Action: Ask yourself is this work profitable and worthy of my time. When did you last profile your ideal customer? Ideal in every way – great to work with, loves everything you do, never questions the quote, pays on time, refers you to others, gives you a steady stream of repeat business, uses other services in the business… the list goes on.
Your customer may have changed these past months or years – buying habits, customer hopes and aspirations change all the time based on shifting personal, economic, political circumstances. Be really clear on the work you do and don’t want.
Now you know the most profitable client or instruction, why waste a moment on anything that doesn’t fit the ideal customer profile? Because everything else if not ideal!
6. Reactive or Proactive
Do you hope new business will come, hope next month’s figures will be good, hope that client will place an order?
Classically a great many businesses rely on the phone ringing or the e mail enquiry just coming in. That may be from historical repeat business, reputation and referral or a marketing department funnelling leads on their behalf. Either the sales pipeline will be buoyant or stagnant.
Action: Start targeting and design your year. If you don’t have a sales and marketing plan create one or analyse the one that exists. You may additionally, subject to the product/service, have 90-day promotional plans to achieve one campaign.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, there is a business out there who needs what you have and has what you need. Most probably it is expertise or an audience you want to connect with.
Action: Identify a hit list of strong contacts that can help fulfil your goal. Find people with the same purpose and work out the win-win. Partnerships and collaboration are a key marketing strategy and the quickest route. When you understand what problems you solve and are clear on your customer promise you can see alignment more easily.
Do you and your team have one shared vision? Are you all pulling in one direction or is everyone working in silos? Unifying the team and designing the dream together will eliminate resistance and renew respect and morale.
Action: Pull the team together – understand their skills, mindset, motivators, and attitudes. Do not enforce change, design the plan together with their buy in.
Are you perhaps feeling overwhelmed, isolated or jaded particularly in these uncertain economic times? Many business leaders think they might as well pack it in and just get a regular job with no responsibility.
The answer is to reconnect with your WHY?
What drives you? What is your purpose?
Was there a North Star?
Create that unshakeable self-belief that you are clear where you are going, even if you don’t know the route yet, and you will arrive.
CLARITY – become clear on where you are now and where you are heading
MAP – find the what and why and the how will follow
FOCUS – every single day focus on the one thing that takes you forward
ACT – when you’re clear and focused the actions flow
ACCOUNTABILITY – measure and stay focused.