This is the time of year that small business owners start thinking about whether they’re going to hit their first quarter goals. It’s time to reassess, make a few small tweaks to your plan and make sure you’re on track. If you feel your business needs a bit of an overhaul, or if you really want to step things up a notch, I have 7 quick ideas to share with you…
- Put learning aside for a minute. Start doing. Doing is the ultimate teacher. So you end up learning and accomplishing things at the same time. So many of us get caught up in “learning mode”. As a result, it’s easy to spend all your time trying to figure out the best way to do something, instead of just doing it.
- Stop striving. Start being. All of us have an idol or a mentor. You’re not your idol. Whoever inspires you does so because they are being themselves. If you truly want to follow in their footsteps, then do what they really do. If your idol or mentor is someone worth following, they don’t simply copy someone else. They do their own thing. I promise you…whatever you love or admire about your mentor is their authenticity. Their originality is undeniable, isn’t it? They didn’t get that from anywhere but within themselves. It’s a way more ballsy and scary thing way to go, but it’s worth it. If you want to model someone that’s truly successful, start by being yourself. It’s the only thing that actually wins. It’s why they win. And it’s how you can win.
- Don’t question yourself. Yes, you will make mistakes by simply taking action. You will crash and burn. The sooner you get that over with, the sooner you will find out what you’re made of and where you can truly excel. But none of this happens if you question yourself. Dive in head first. Take the blows that come your way…and yes, they’re coming your way. When you come out the other side, you have what no book or course or lecture or conference will ever be able to give you. You’ll have wisdom and self-confidence. This is a “how to get shit done” prerequisite.
- Don’t take on other people’s goals. Living someone else’s vision is a sure way to feel like hell every day. It’s easy to see a celebrity or successful internet guru and think their life must be awesome. The truth is you don’t know them and have no idea what their life is like. Set your own goals, without reference to anyone else. It’s fine to want fame, a Lamborghini or a big house (or whatever), but where did that goal come from? Why do you have that goal to begin with? Does your goal serve you? Or does it serve some false, idealized version of life that you picked up somewhere along the way? It’s helpful to take a minute and make sure you’re not just doing something because you saw someone else do it.
- Enjoy the journey. When you enjoy yourself and are having a blast, it’s so much easier to be effective. It’s so much easier to put in the hours and do the work necessary to excel when you’re having a lot of fun in the process. How do you know if you’re on track? You should feel fantastic about where you’re going, but you should also feel fantastic about where you are…right now. The journey itself should be a blast. If you’re pushing prosperity into the future and saying things like “as soon as I get…this or that…then I’ll be where I want to be”, then you’re not enjoying the journey. If you’re not enjoying the journey, it means you’re grinding your gears and you’re on your way to burning out. This is the universe telling you it’s time to switch things up.
- Make goals that matter. Spend time working toward a goal that will really mean something to you when it’s accomplished. All too often we think getting more Twitter followers or a bigger email list will make our business more successful, but it doesn’t work that way. Not really. I’ve seen people obsessing about their Klout score and spending loads of time learning CSS just so they can make their website look a certain way. So many things can either be outsourced or forgotten altogether. Be careful of your time, because it’s flat out the most valuable asset you have.
- Minimize. Of all the things on your “to do” list, there are 3 that will actually help grow your business, and the rest is just busy work. I promise; it’s actually this simple. Forget about everything else until those three things are done. The funny thing about busy work is that it will take up your entire day, but it doesn’t pay you anything. Yet this is where most of us focus. And ironically, by relegating this kind of work to the back burner you end up finding out which of these tasks even need to be addressed at all. It’s amazing how few things end up being important when it’s all said and done. If you have a “to do” list a mile long like I do, identify 3 high level things at the beginning of the day, and simply do that. It takes a little bit of faith here, but if you’re growing your business and forcing yourself to only work on tasks that build your business, the stuff that’s a waste of time simply disappears on it’s own.