My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
It’s really easy to be busy all the time. That’s true for everyone, but as entrepreneurs, it’s almost a badge of honour!
But as the CEO of your business, where you’re busy matters. As a guideline, you can aim to split your time evenly between working in your business (client work and delivery) and working on your business (high-level analysis and strategy). 50/50 might not always be possible–you may spend a few years at 80/20, or peak at 60/40–but it’s something to shoot for. Regardless of the split, the point is to make sure you take time to think about your business.
If you can’t find time to think about your strategy, it might mean you need to get some support in your business, or better utilize the support you have. To the soul-centred entrepreneur who does too many small tasks because you don’t want to bother your VA: I’m winking at you ????.
Delegating and hiring the right team members will help free up your time for strategy, which can help your business grow more smoothly and quickly. (Note: Learn how to hire and train your team in my mini-course here.)
Regardless, one thing is certain: it also means that you are at risk of bottlenecking your growth.
Management professor Henry Mintzberg described strategy as “emergent,” which means that strategy comes in response to opportunities, not just in the planning phase.
Nature is a brilliant example of emergent strategy. An aspen grove is actually one root system with many shoots that grow into trees. The root system started with just one plant and responded to favourable conditions with more trees.
Similarly, your creative business may start with one copywriting service but will shift and grow as you respond to your customers, learn more about your preferences, and grow your skills.
Stuff happens. Businesses pivot offers, expand markets, and gain new customers in response to external events and lucky breaks. Last year made this a necessity, but it doesn’t have to take a global event to shift or grow your business. It takes time and a system to analyze, recognize, and make adjustments to what’s emerged.
If you’re not taking time out of your schedule to analyze, assess, and think about your business, you’ll miss opportunities to grow and innovate.
Be sure to build a system around your question and answer sessions. How will you collect questions? How will you answer them? Who will be involved?
Then add your strategy sessions to your team calendar as soon as possible. We schedule our clients’ strategy sessions annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily.
Each type of session asks and answers different questions.
For example, in an annual session, we look back at the past year and see how well we met our goals, analyze what went well, what needs work, and set our revenue and overarching goals for the year.
In a quarterly session, we’ll do a more targeted analysis of the main areas of the business and see which one is currently the weakest link, then brainstorm and decide on projects meant to address the issue.
Throughout the process, remember that your strategy sessions will also continue to emerge. Be open to responding to what comes up, instead of trying to stick to a rigid plan.
Need help knowing which questions to ask, never mind creating the system for answering them? Get on the waitlist for Scale Society, my 6-month, small group experience for soul-centered entrepreneurs that will help you scale your creative business from 5 to 6 (even 7!) figures your own way.
In the meantime, follow me on Instagram for reflection questions you can start thinking about and answering now.
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