Have you got the Business you Dreamed of When you Started Out?
People start up their own business for a variety of reasons; being their own boss, earning money for themselves, a great idea they can cash in on, having a good work-life balance. For me I had a busy job in the corporate world which involved long commutes to London, getting home too tired to cope with the children’s tantrums over really important issues like who should have their shower first. I knew there had to be a better way of having a rewarding job closer to home.
When I started my business coaching company back in 2012 I was in a great position – I had a business plan, marketing plan a clear idea of the outcomes I wanted. As time went by the plan got more difficult to implement, the complexities of business got in the way – not all the marketing worked, I worked with the wrong type of clients and the financial rewards and the work-life balance I had left the corporate world for was not appearing. I am sure that is the same for many business owners, I was lucky due to the nature of what I do I had a great network of training and tools to get me on track and with the aid of my business coach the plans were adapted, use of time was reviewed and with a lot of focussed hard work the original dream clawed its way back.
Most business owners I meet haven’t got a business plan or the support of business experts around them. Even if they had a plan it is very easy to let the day to day running of the business take over and for the goals and targets to be based more around beating last month/last years financial figures.
The main challenge is that it takes years to become a technical expert in your field, whatever it is: engineer, solicitor, plumber, trainer – to become a business owner how long does it take…. Around 20 minutes on company house!All through our school life we start from learning a little about a whole load of topics, as we go through school we start to narrow down, choose a language or a science, we then get an apprenticeship, go to further education or start a job in a specific field and work really hard to know everything we can about that.As soon as we start a business we have to be a financial guru, sales and marketing expert, HR manager, logistics manager – the list goes on…
Having all the skills needed in business is a tall order. Business doesn’t always run as smoothly as it could and there are a million and one things that can throw people off their plans stopping their goals and dreams being achieved.
Here are some basic questions to get you thinking…
- Are you getting the financial and personal rewards you want from your business
- Can you take 3 weeks out of your business and it still runs smoothly
- Do you have a clear plan to get an income from your business with-out you being part of it?
If the answer to any of these is no then you are not alone. Most people spend more time planning their holiday than they do planning their business. For real business success personal and business dreams, goals and plans have to be aligned.
The Importance of Personal Goals
Most people think that if they set a financial target that will be enough to motivate them in to achieving it. Money is a satisfier not a motivator – it enables you to do something. The more real those things are and the more they have meaning to you the more likely you are to push to take action to earn the money. A tool that I use and I suggest my clients use is the Dreamchart. This can be in the form of a large sheet of paper, a PowerPoint slide or a digital photo frame. The idea is that you think about all the ‘things’ you want to have, the experiences you want to do and who you want to be. Get as clear as possible on these, for example don’t just choose the car model select the interior and exterior and test drive so you can really see what it would be like.Collect pictures together and collate them. Put them up where you will see them every day. It’s a good idea to have some that are fairly easy to achieve and some bigger goals.
One of my clients produced a Dreamchart and it was all about having enough money for their son to go to college, get them a deposit for their first house – so much more motivating than a figure on a piece of paper.
I have 3 children aged 7,10 and 12, my reality is that in a few years my eldest is likely to prefer to poke himself with a stick than go on holiday with his family. I have around 6 family holidays left so I need to ensure that those experiences are the best they can be to create memories to last a lifetime.
Aligning Your Personal and Business Goals
Once you are clear on your personal dreams and goals you can start looking at how your business will help get you there. When looking at where you want your business to be it’s important to start with where you are now, then work forwards.
A basic business plan will help you do that, sketch out the next 3 years. Year one will be fairly detailed and then it will be a bit more guesswork. In my experience to go much beyond 3 years is tricky as there are so many aspects that are open to change. This can be done visually using a circle for each year, try using segments for each area of the business being reviewed.
Consider all aspects of your business; for example:sales and marketing, operations, financials, team, delivery. Most business plans include an analysis of what is working well in your business – the strengths, what challenges you are facing – your weaknesses and your opportunities. There will also be areas outside of your control to consider such as the economy, social and technological changes (for example the move to mobile devices to shop) and legal/political changes – these may be threats or opportunities. This is known as SWOT analysis and is normally in the format of an easy to read table.
Once you have mapped out the next 3 years get very clear on the goals, plans and actions for each quarter of year one. Make sure you have the resources to deliver them; expertise, money, team – if you have knowledge gaps speak to specialists, buy books and ensure you have done everything you can to implement your plan 100% and get the business results you deserve.
My top 5 tips for reaching dreams are:
- Get clear on your personal goals first
- Be clear on the end goal for your business; your vision
- Create your Dreamchart: get a mix of short and long term, share it and look at it every day
- Draft out plans for the next 3 years of your business
- Get the resources you need, action the plans and make yourself accountable to achieve them