We’ve all heard how important it is to work ON your business, and not just IN your business. Most of the vendors soliciting their services to my businesses have claimed that if I buy from them I’ll suddenly have time to do just that.
Most entrepreneurs are too busy handling the day-t0-day tasks, the urgent issues, and it’s been hard to have free time to focus on business development. And that’s the problem right there – “Free” time. If the time is “Free,” anything unexpected or urgent can fill it at the last minute. And if you don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing in that block of time, then it’s just an empty container waiting for something to fall into it.
It’s been recommended to spend at least 1 hour every week on business development… so once you have that time on blocked out on your schedule, how do you plan to spend it?
Here’s sample 8-week system that can help spark new ideas and promote continual business growth:
Week 1. Who are you? Why are you here?*
In week 1, you’re looking at the big picture – the map of where you are and where you are going. This is the time to learn from how things have been going, look at where you are now, and get proactive about what is coming up. Some questions you can ask are:
– What is your ideal vision of your successful business?
– How many differences are there between that vision and the current state of things?
– What is the one thing you need to stay focused on in order to to achieve that vision as effectively as possible?
– What are you frequently doing that moves you away from that vision, rather than toward it?
– What has your role been within your business? What should your role be?
– What is happening in your industry and what do you need to do to prepare for the direction it is moving?
– What is happening with your customers and what will they need in the near future?
– What do you want to achieve in the next year?
Week 2. New Ideas
If you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. Week 2 is a time for getting creative and dreaming. Get new perspective and try to find something you have not noticed before. Consider:
– What are the upcoming trends in your market?
– Who are some new people you can mastermind with?
– What new questions can you start asking?
– What are some new things you can try out?
– What new income streams can you add?
– What new technologies can you leverage, or how can you use your technology better?
Week 3. Marketing
It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is if nobody knows about it. In week 3, focus on how to get your message out and generate more leads. For example:
– What is the thing your business does better than anyone else?
– Who is your target market, specifically?
– What problem is your target market looking to solve? What is their pain?
– What solution do they think they need?
– What do you offer that meets that need?
– What is the deeper problem that they really need to address?
– How can you teach that the surface problem is really caused by this deeper problem?
– What are your solutions for the deeper problem?
– How many ways can you expand your platform and reach more people?
Week 4. Sales
What do you do once your phone starts ringing? The way you start your relationship with your customers will make a huge difference on whether, and how much, they buy from you. Your sales process requires continuous improvement, and you can start by asking:
– What questions can you ask your customers in order to understand them better?
– What are your competitors doing successfully?
– What needs are not being met for your customers?
– What are the steps in your sales process?
– How successful is each step in moving the prospect forward in the process?
– How can you improve one step of your sales process?
Week 5. Legal & Financial
Week 5 is time to cover your assets and mitigate risks. Give your financial systems a good review to make sure you’re prepared for what you need, your expenses don’t get out of hand, and every dollar on your balance sheet is where it needs to be to make you more money. Check out your contracts, privacy, and related areas and ensure you’re protected should anything tragic happen. You can ask:
– What systems are in place to manage costs?
– What systems are in place to consistently review finances?
– What financial information do you need to keep an eye on?
– How can you improve security and privacy in your business?
– What legal challenges may appear in your business?
– What systems are in place to ensure legal compliance?
– Who is available to provide expertise when a legal situation arises?
Week 6. Process Optimization
In week 6, look at how things are getting done and try to find ways to make it more efficient or cost-effective. Look for areas where time is wasted or resources are not used in the best way, and see what you can do to improve one process.
– What are the most inefficient activities in your business? Which one will make the most difference if optimized?
– What is the outcome of that activity? What results do you want?
– What would the process look like if it was easy?
– What parts of the activity be simplified or eliminated?
– What parts of it can be automated?
– What can you do to ensure consistent results?
– What can you to to improve results?
Week 7: Culture
Whether you’re a lone wolf or part of a “pack,” you need to be mindful of your business “personality” and the environment your business creates. Week 7 is the time to think about how you create “Raving Fans,” in your staff as well as your customers. Some questions to prompt discussion are:
– What feelings or attitudes are most important to have within your team?
– Who have been your happiest customers? What made them happy?
– What do your customers want that they are not asking for?
– What can you do to help your clients get even better results?
– How can you create surprises for your customers?
– How can you improve communication with your staff and your customers?
– How can you improve rewards for your staff?
Week 8: Leadership
You can’t pour from an empty vessel, and if the leader is burned out, the business will suffer. Week 8 is when you focus on you, how you can serve your business better, and how you can get more out of it. Take some time alone and think about:
– Why did you get into this business? Why are you in it now?
– What can you do to be a better leader?
– What educational opportunities are available to improve your skills?
– What 5 books would be helpful to read or re-read?
– What are your personal goals for the next 12 months?
– How do you plan to improve yourself in the next year?
– How can you model the attitude and behavior you want in your team?
– How many ways would a business coach help keep you moving forward?
After week 8, go back to week 1 and continue the process. Dedicate 1 hour each week to these 8 areas and I guarantee your business will grow. If you’d like help with any of this, sign up for a free Business Breakthrough call. Click HERE for more info.
Are there any other areas of focus, or good questions to ask? Let me know in the comments!