When meeting new clients, there’s one question I hear over and over:
“How can I take my business to the next level?”
Some even ask if there is some kind of checklist or template they can use to make this happen.
Unfortunately, there is no universal set of tactics that are suited for every business. However, there are a few things that every business needs to have right away (a business banking account; a way to track income and expenses; a dedicated place to work, etc.) Once those are in place, I recommend that each business owner make a checklist of their “best next steps” and set off to tackle them one by one.
Here’s where I recommend you start: Consider the problems first (and be honest about what it will take to fix them).
Problems Slow You Down…As your business grows, so do its problems. Ignoring these issues will lead to complications. Eventually, you’ll be overwhelmed with work and unable to deliver good results because your systems won’t be able to keep up.
Here are some examples of a few problems that escalate as your business grows:
1. Your email inbox. If you’re having trouble keeping up with your inbox now, think about what happens when you reach your dream and your business doubles or triples in size. The volume of emails will double or triple, too. So take the time now and figure out a system to manage your inbox, such as deleting and blocking spam as it comes in, and create folders to help organize your inbox.
2. Your contact list. You have business cards piled all over your desk, a Gmail account, a business email address, and a ton of LinkedIn contacts. Right now, you can kind of, sort of, remember where to go to find a specific contact…But as you grow, it will be too much to keep track of. When you want to announce a new website, promote a webinar or even just send a holiday card, it will be a huge chore. The solution is to keep all your contacts in one place. Choose a CRM and keep everyone in one place!
3. Your finances. Whether you offer a service or a product, it’s important to know whether or not you’re making money. When a business is just starting, you might have more time than money and not be too worried about profitability…But here too, as you get busier, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not losing money on some of your efforts. So either take the time to figure this out or find yourself a capable financial resource who can come in and sort things out for you.
Problems are as individual as the person who made them – but they’re all fixable. Make a list of all of yours and prioritize them according to how much time (and money) they are wasting and how much they’re holding you back.
Then, either hire someone to help you handle them or make a list of actionable steps to get them under control. Get rid of them one by one so you can be bigger, more efficient, work less, and make more money (yay)!