How to work out what to improve in your business first (when there are a 1000 signs pointing in different directions)
Within a small business, there are a TON of moving parts...
You’ve got that invoice from Bob to chase up, that Facebook Ad to write about your next promo, booking that appointment with Joe, writing and sending that proposal to Anne, that thing to prepare for the team meeting, Jillian is waiting on you to provide her something, and then there’s wrestling with your NEVER ENDING inbox.
And that’s just before having your morning cuppa, am I right?
I’m a business owner myself, so I get it. The demands on an Entrepreneur are huge.
You can never quite seem to get through the to-do list you want to in a day!
And then there’s that need to work ON your business not IN your business so that you can make sure you’re heading towards your goals… that’s gotta fit in there somewhere too...
So, how CAN you work out what to improve in your business first, amidst all these demands, so that you can reach your goals?
The answer, in my experience, is to assess these 3 things:
- You first have to understand all the moving parts that are key to helping your business reach your goals
- You need to get a measure of where your business is actually sitting right now in all of these areas
- Then, you need to identify the thing that will make the biggest difference to your business and make an action plan to improve it
(see this post here for help creating an action plan you'll actually use!)
Let's explore the each of these in detail...
1. Understand the moving parts of your business:
As we've established, there are a lot of moving parts to a small business. But, all businesses go through 6 different steps as they grow. So, understanding each of these steps, can help us view the moving parts as a whole, and help us work out which tasks to prioritise.
The 6 different steps a business goes through while it's growing are:
- Step 1 is that the business owner must get into a helpful mindset
(because mindset is a lot of the story when it comes to success)
- Step 2 is that the business owner must decide on an end destination (what does success look like to you? Otherwise you might end up anywhere or nowhere...)
- Step 3 is that the business must check there is enough fuel to make it to your desired destination
(E.g. is your budget, pricing etc set up to be profitable. If not, there's no point growing sales until you have a profitable model)
- Step 4 is to create a Travel Plan
(How will you make it to your destination?)
- Step 5 is to build the required business assets
(E.g. website, email marketing, sales system etc)
- At Step 6 the business is ready to scale its sales
(This is where your marketing strategy and team really become very important)
This article below explains the 6 steps in much more detail and includes a free workbook:
2. Audit how your business is doing in each area
To do this you have a few options...
- Spend time doing analysis yourself.
But, this takes some expertise (and also probably doesn't sound the most fun for the majority of my readers)
- Hire an expert to look into it for you.
Definitely a valid and helpful choice. Although it often comes with a fairly decent price tag.
- OR, you could use the In-Flight Audit® to do the heavy lifting for you,
and find out your results well within the next 15 minutes!
Introducing The In-Flight Audit®
The In-Flight Audit® requires you to fill out a multiple choice survey, then it gives you a nice colour coded report and shows you EXACTLY what to prioritise first. It's easy peasy!
3. Identify what will make the biggest difference to your business and work out an action plan:
So now you’ve got your measure and it’s time to make sense of it and work out what to prioritise.
There's great news if you choose to do the In-Flight Audit®, because it will do much of the heavy lifting for you - the colour coded results will indicate where to prioritise to work on first.
But, if you are working this out yourself, one option is to think about where you are in relation to those 6 steps of growth, and choose to work on the first thing that you don't have.
Another option is to consider - do you need more profit, sales, or time (or all of the above).
- If it's profit you need -
then work on your budget, pricing and cash management.
- If your business is profitable and it's more sales you need -
then work on your marketing and/or sales system
- If it's more time you need -
Then prioritise working on streamlining your systems and hiring a team.
If it feels like you need all three, then work on them in order from the top and start with working on your profit.
If you're not sure how to improve your profits, then I highly recommend taking my free profit class! It'll teach you the 5 steps for creating a more profitable business.
Once you've decided where to start though, I recommend focusing on one thing at a time!
I always recommend working on one area at a time so that you can make progress most efficiently.
Otherwise it's like the person that headed to a forest to chop down a tree and rather than focusing on chopping down only one tree, they got bored and chopped a little bit of each tree instead. You can picture how long it took in that scenario to finally fell a tree.
Your business projects are no different. If you work on a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, then you will make much slower progress in achieving your goals...
I want to end with a word of encouragement:
It's normal to feel overwhelmed by your small business at times!
And it's normal to feel so overwhelmed you feel like quitting sometimes.
So I want to reassure you that these are emotions that every single business owner I know goes through.
The main thing that will help is an action plan so that you can move through the overwhelm into a place of calm.
If you'd like help to create a plan to feel less overwhelmed and make more profit, please reach out and book a free call. I have lots of ways to help.
About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).
Great post! Keep it up!
I’m still new to my business so everything seems important and therefore overwhelming! I need to buckle down and pick my own thing to work on!
What a helpful post! Thank you so much for this quality blog post!
My biggest takeaway was what you said in the beginning ”Identify the thing that will make the biggest difference to you and make a plan to improve it”. Sometimes I focus all my energy on details and other stuff of my business which are not going to make any difference at the end of the day! So it’s interesting for me to first take a step back and take a look at what actually would make a difference! Thanks again! Loved this! ?
Thanks for this post! Super helpful and I definitely have some work to do now! At least I know where to do that work, which is half the battle! 🙂