It turns out the hardest thing to do is to keep on track when you start a new business. The truth is when you start out you have lots of ideas about how it will be and what clients you will get, but as it turns out your ideas are very different from your plans. In fact, I would say that every small business needs to go off course in order to re-find their course. I started my business a few months ago with very specific ideas about the clients I would get, the type of work they would need and the money they would be willing to pay. However, in the first few weeks I discovered the need, client and money was totally opposite to the ideas I had plucked from obscurity.
I attended a great Free Range Women in Business session run by Jane Cooke a number weeks ago and the topic was all about course correction. Normally I attend events, listen, maybe apply a few tips and then move on. But this session was so specifically useful to me, I have not been able to let it go.
The metaphor was that your business is a boat and you need to correct its course in order to stay on track. The track is your happiness and purpose, holding true to why you started in the first place. Simple huh? It was explained that it was easy to quickly divert from your course and often business owners don’t notice until they are way off the trajectory. This is exactly what has happened to me.
So, what is the answer to help steer your business boat? Reflection and questioning.
You need to take some time, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly (whatever feels right for you) to ask yourself these fundamental questions:
- What should I stop doing?
- What should I start doing?
- What do I need more of?
- What do I need less of?
- What is in my zone?
- What am I happy doing?
- Do I enjoy what I am doing?
With most training sessions it seems so simple, but in the (what I like to call) “business fog”, it is easy to be led away from what you wanted and into what others want. This is particularly the case if you are a solution-orientated person who wants to help others (like I do).
So, in the interest of supporting and helping others, I thought I would share this learning and thank Jane Cooke for such an excellent lesson. Since the session, I’ve taken time to sit down and start considering these questions for my own business and I have started forecasting the trajectory of my business boat, tweaking existing agreements so that I can get closer to having a business that delivers on the reason I set out to become self-employed in the first place.
For more information about Free Range Women in Business click HERE. It is a totally amazing networking group. If you are after more business give-back then please check out Colleagues Getting Coffee, a give back channel full of useful tips from the business community.