No matter where you are in your business life (just starting out or been around the block a few times, there are important things you must do to make sure you and your business are set to handle roller coaster economies and uncertain times.
- Know your story. Last week I wrote about how your world view is formed early in life and that drives the stories you tell yourself about the people and circumstances you encounter every day. When you have hit a stopping point or something isn’t working the way you expected, start looking for the story you created that is getting in your way. Remember, when you can see your story, you can change it.
- Plan your business around your values and lifestyle priorities. There are many people that are eager to tell you that in order to be successful, your business has to look a certain way. NOT true. Business planning is not a one size fits all proposition. When you are living someone else’s business model, you are much more likely to give up, burn out or fail. You have the freedom and responsibility to plan it around YOU. In order to start doing that, you have to be clear about several things:
- Why you started your business instead of working for someone else
– What are the things you must have in your life to feel balanced, happy, productive and congruent with your values
– What are the things that you really don’t like or want to be a part of your life and contribute to feeling stressed, burned out, overwhelmed and ineffective.
- Work in your brilliance. Spend your time doing the things that you love to do and are really good at doing. As a business owner you have to wear a lot of hats, especially when you are just starting out. Some of the hats are fun and some quite frankly suck. Spend the majority of your time wearing the hats that are in your brilliance and give the hats that suck to someone else who is brilliant at those tasks.
- Always come from a place of service. This is a tricky one. Many people have warped views of what service is and is not. Service means that you come from the philosophy of more for all and less for none. You are making decisions and interacting with people in a way that helps them and helps you – you are creating win/win relationships that serve everyone. This includes clients, prospects, colleagues, other business owners, friends and family.
- Use relationship marketing. Many people hate marketing. I hated marketing until I realized that good, effective marketing is about building relationships with people (something I love). This is a topic I could spend hours on, so I’ll be brief here. Create a marketing system that allows people to get to know you, learn to like you and develop trust in you. There is not one magic marketing arrow that makes your ideal clients fall madly and instantly in love with you. Instead, there is a whole series of steps that make up a complete and synergistic system. The basis of relationship marketing is getting to know people and genuinely engaging with them whether it is on social media, on your blog at live networking events, through group forums or in your newsletter. Don’t talk AT them, talk WITH them.
- Diversify with multiple streams of income. Developing multiple streams of income is a hot topic these days. There are many ways you can add passive and leveraged forms of income to your business through information products, affiliate relationships, product sales, workshops, retreats, groups . . . . the list could go on and on. Having more than one stream of income allows you to have more freedom and stability in your business and will reduce the risk of burn out.
- Practice self care. When time and money are tight and stress is high, it is easy to drop out the things that are important to maintaining your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being. Make a list of the things that you know you need to do to function at your best (eat right, exercise, meditation, creative expression, mental challenge, socialize, laugh, massages) and them make sure you put them into your schedule like you would an appointment so that you do them regularly. Your business is a reflection of you and when you aren’t taking care of yourself, your business will suffer.