A question I get time and again is “how do I build a successful business that I love and that makes me money?”
You’re smart. You’re an action-taker. You don’t back down from a challenge.
And yet, you find yourself at a standstill in your business. You’ve reached a plateau that feels unending.
From working with dozens of clients to build six-figure businesses, I often find that there’s a step in the business building process that’s been overlooked.
It isn’t the same for each person, but there’s usually one part where you told yourself, “yeah, I’ll get back to that once I have more clients and hire more support.”
But then that time comes and goes.
And you reach the point where you just don’t want to hustle for that next client any more.
So I put together the exact steps clients and myself have used to create successful businesses that support the lives we love.
Think of it as a checklist to revisit each time you’re at a stall point in your business growth.
1. Picture yourself as a next-level business owner
It sounds so squishy and WTF. But really, if you want to become the next version of yourself, you need to know who that person is, what she does, how she shows up.
If you can’t quite see who that person is, think of someone you consider a business badass and look to them as your spirit guide. Perhaps that’s Marie Forleo or Jenny Shih or Kendrick Shope. Start there and see what qualities the person has that you envision for your next-level self.
Then, act as if you’re that next version of you today.
2. Know your business vision
You can’t steer a ship without having the course plotted or at least know where you’re sailing to.
You can think of it as figuring out where you want to be once you’re over the river (you don’t need to know where over the mountains is at this stage though).
Getting clear on the vision for where you want to take your business next is key because it gives you an aim.
Otherwise, how will you ever know when you arrive?
3. Get clear on your time and where it’s going
You control YOU and if you’re overwhelmed, the rest of your business feels it, from your team to your clients to the work itself. And your family and friends likely feel it, too.
When our businesses are so ingrained with who we are as people, stress and overwhelm impact everything.
The best part is that you get to decide where your time goes.
But first, you need to know where it is going. Track your time for at least a week and write down what you do in your business each hour you’re working.
From there, determine what items on your to-do list should stay, what can be delegated out to your team and what can be completely eliminated.
And then, work from that bank of tasks and projects to put together a daily routine so that you can keep on course of your business vision.
4. Decide on your next BIG priority and plan it out
With a clear picture of who you want to be as a business owner, where your ship is sailing and what you’re spending your time on, you get to pick what happens next.
What is the biggest priority right now to execute on for your business vision? Is it team building, operations, marketing?
Then, make an action plan for what you and your team need to do to cross the priority off of the list. The plan needs to be clear, specific, actionable and include a timeline.
5. Do hard, scary things everyday
Each and every day, you want to do things that are going to move the needle on your priority.
A good judge on if you’re making progress – is the action hard? is the action scary?
Bonus points if they’re both.
If your priority is team building, then you likely need to make hiring decisions, interview candidates, have conversations with existing team members (some of which might be difficult).
If your priority is streamlining your operations, then you likely need to learn exactly how your business is operating now so that you can make informed decisions for the future. And when you bump into a knowledge gap, you need to close it. The easiest way is by talking to someone who’s had that problem and understand how they solved it.
If your priority is marketing, then you’ll be getting yourself out there to meet people every day, whether that’s chatting over social media, during an industry event or speaking at an organization.
6. Step back, review and evaluate
As you’re doing the hard, scary things to move your business needle, take the time to pause for an hour or two regularly and review what actions you took and what results you saw from each one.
The review period should be long enough that you have a large sample of data to look at, but not so long that it’s too much data to sort through. I suggest a pause-and-review period of every 2-6 weeks, though monthly is a good sweet spot.
This step is commonly overlooked but it’s the only way you will truly know what is working and what is not so that you can do more of the good-resulting actions and make adjustments on the actions that are producing less than great results.
7. Do it again and again and again, aka the “Lather, Rinse, Repeat” step
This step is the shortest and more unsexy but without it, we only ever reach that very next level and not the one after and the one after that.
Each time you find yourself at a place where growth is stagnant, whether in your entire business or just a specific area, go through the steps one by one. Find what part is the weak link in the chain.
Does this demystify the “how” of your business? What step are you skipping over?
Photo by Jodi Herrling of Jodi B Herrling Photography