This past Monday was the eighth anniversary of quitting my corporate J.O.B. and starting my own business. It wasn’t an easy or quick process. I’ve learned a lot and adjusted my approach along the way based on feedback from clients and other business owners. I’ve benefitted from tenacity and serendipity and achieved my business and personal goals. Plus, I’ve had some fun along the way. The fun is probably why the time has flown by so quickly.
Anniversaries are worth celebrating, as well as the perfect time for reflection. That date on the calendar reminds us to step back to assess our progress, identify areas of potential improvement, and update our goals. Businesses that survive long enough to celebrate many anniversaries are the same ones that invest time and effort on these four activities:
- Plan to Meet Defined Objectives
A business plan is a road map to get where you want to go and help to keep your “Eye on The Prize.” Unless you know what you’re reaching for, you can’t grab it. Set your overall objectives and describe the detailed steps to achieve them. Set interim milestones along the way to help measure your progress and keep you motivated.
- Execute Your Plan
Actively work through the detailed steps in your plan. It’s exhilarating to achieve goals and move forward. Executing your plan also gives you opportunities to get more information. Use added information to adapt your plan and make course corrections. Also, listen to how your network receives your message and adjust the wording to get your message across better.
- Outsource Needs You Can’t (or Shouldn’t) Meet
Be realistic about aspects of your business where you do not have the necessary expertise or can’t take the time away from your core business to do yourself. Legal, accounting, and social media are some areas where engaging an expert can accomplish specialized tasks, free up your time, and prevent you from making costly mistakes.
- Give Back
Answering general questions in your area of expertise and presenting at workshops are ways that you can share knowledge with your network and establish your credibility. Sharing tips and perspective helps to create your brand and draw people to you and your business. Being generous is often its own reward, over the long run.
The last eight years of having my own business have been hard work, fun, and rewarding – all at the same time. It takes a lot more than investing in the four activities described above to be successful. But businesses that invest in planning, executing, outsourcing, and giving back increase the chances that they will celebrate anniversaries for years to come.