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.
Happy New Year! I hope your December was restful and, if you celebrate, festive and full of wonder.
How are you feeling about the beginning of a new year? Full of pressure to choose your “one word” or an arbitrary revenue goal? A little guilty about the projects you didn’t quite finish last year? Or are you full of energy and ready to make your next moves?
Personally, ready to hit the ground running with our quarterly plans, even after all that eggnog and fruit cake.
It’s not because I’m innately motivated or abide by hustle culture (I soooo don’t); it’s because I regularly take time to think about, ask questions, and seek answers about my business. Then, I use that information to plan our next moves.
If, as a business owner, you’re not regularly scheduling time to think about your business and ask questions about your business, you’re letting your business run on autopilot. You end up working in a reactionary mode. If your goal is to have a business that offers you more profit and freedom, being as proactive as possible is key to getting you there.
Henry Mintzberg, Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at the Desautels Faculty of Management of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, described strategy as “emergent,” which means that strategy comes in response to opportunities, not just in the planning phase.
When you ask questions, you open yourself up to new possibilities. This is especially helpful if you’re facing the panic of an urgent problem or the low hum of an ongoing challenge. Instead of focusing on what’s going wrong, asking questions about what’s actually happening can illuminate solutions you didn’t see before.
(By the way: if you're wondering what questions you should be asking, we cover that below!)
If you start asking questions and don’t immediately see the answers, that’s okay. It's just about the act of identifying a problem or an area of exploration, and then setting about to find an answer or, even better, someone who already knows the answer. This is how “emergence” happens, and it will help you move forward in your business.
You don’t have to reflect on your business 24/7 (though some of us business owners do!), but I do recommend scheduling at least an hour of uninterrupted time every month where you can reflect on and think about your business.
Maybe you’ll take a Friday afternoon off and give yourself an hour to decompress from client work and reflect on what’s going on in your business. You can do this alone or with your team. You might even consider doing both. Sometimes your team, even subcontractors, have insight into your business that you do not. It’s worth asking their input once in a while to help spark your own thoughts.
Don’t have a team to ask for input yet? Learn how to hire and train your first Virtual Assistant here.
At first, you may not know which questions to ask about your business. The Harvard Business Review has some good suggestions:
Of course, you don’t have to ask all of these exact questions. For example, you might spend these monthly meetings looking at metrics (that a team member ran for you 😉). Think about what they mean. What questions could you ask about those metrics? In situations like these it’s okay to be a bit more narrowly focused.
As you explore these things you may not start out with a clear structure or process, but it will emerge as you continue to ask questions and allow it to.
Are you ready to find the right questions to ask and create a system for answering them in your specific business? 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.
If you do set aside regular time to think about your business, how do you structure it? How is making time to think about your business when there isn’t a metaphorical fire to put out different from reacting to urgent situations?
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