Are you serious about business? The first few years of business are amazing. You’re running hard; everything is new. There are a million things to get done, and you’ve managed to get enough of them done to get your business up and running. You have earned the right to be proud!
There are always loose ends – things that should be done but you haven’t yet tackled. Some of these are minor. And some of these are the things that you know you should do, but somehow are always left for tomorrow. As your business grows, the little things grow into big things. And big things can choke your growth and sink your business. If you’re serious, it’s time to take inventory, and run your business like a business.
What’s on your “Someday I’ll…” list? This is the list of things you’ve been meaning to do, and know you should do, but obviously haven’t done. Everyone’s list is different; here are five common candidates.
- Do you have, know, understand and review your financial statements? Financials are critical. Without them, you’re perennially shooting in the dark. Do not rely on a staff member, partner, accountant or advisor to analyze these for you. Others may be instrumental in offering their insights and expertise, but you must have the capability to read and understand these on your own.
- Are you working on your business? “Working on your business rather than in it” is classic advice. The bottom line is that you need to recognize that a successful business goes beyond production, to management, organization, sales, strategies and other overarching concepts. If you’re serious about business, you need to embrace rather than ignore these disciplines. You don’t need to be a lawyer, CPA, MBA, data analyst, and more. You do need to know enough to ask these specialists the right questions, and understand their answers.
- Do your processes fit your current and future size? A child can have success with a lemonade stand, waving at passing cars; an international beverage company needs something more. What worked in the past might not be the best way to work in the future. Assess your structure and strategies. Ensure they will be efficient and effective today and tomorrow.
- Do you continuously watch the competition? It’s easy to get caught up in your own operations, especially if you’re successful. But while you are riding the wave of success, competitors are gaining on you. If you have something wildly successful, they’re copying you. If you are all pretty much the same, they’re creating new things to lure away your customers. Don’t be blindsided.
- Do you prioritize and act? You can spend days, weeks, even years just keeping up, day to day. But what is your big picture plan? Do you have one? Do you take purposeful action regularly, to work toward your big goals? Make time to step back and focus on your future. Make a commitment to yourself to do the things you need to get there. And make it a priority to keep that commitment.
Success in business requires commitment and purposeful action. Get focused; be strategic. Tackle the things that are difficult or uncomfortable to address. Get serious about business and position your business for success.