Where are you on your business journey? Starting a business, running a business, growing a business...? It's no easy feat babe.
Cutting straight to the chase, the truth bomb is this... everything to do with your business starts and ends with you babe. YOU, the business owner.
'Duh', I can practically hear you rolling your eyes. Too obvious to be a truth bomb? Think again. Because if you don't really and truly grasp the weight of what this means, it’s gonna be really hard.
No-one can run your business for you so it's you that needs to know how to do that successfully.
What you need is a functioning 'inner business' with strong foundations that is understood by you plus a clear picture of what success looks like for YOU.
What do I mean by 'Inner Business'?
Before rushing ahead, I just want to be clear on what I mean by the term 'inner business'.
These are all the intricacies that make up the day-to-day running of your business.
From the 'why, how and what' in your branding and comm's, right through to your strategy, administration, finances, systems, processes, supply chain, legislation etc.
My Personal Experience - How Can Business Consultancy Services Be 'Sexy'?
Becky is a Brand Message Expert who is "helping women work out what to say and how to say it, to increase their impact, expand their influence and make the money they deserve".
Let me first say that I adore a skill swap. With so many talented female business minds out there, it's THE way forward to build a network, share knowledge AND benefit your business. Plus, in the longer term, every individual female business owner who succeeds takes us ALL one step closer to gender equality, so why not help?
Becky and I got to talking about the work that I do, as a business consultant, and I shared with her that I felt my work is often perceived as the 'unsexy' part of business…
So often are the women I work with incredibly passionate about their vocation that so much time and resource is frivolously devoted to areas of the business that aren't necessary going to be what sustains and grows the business in the long term.
And let's have it right, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the passion and fire of these businesswomen - their enthusiasm and energy is literally what feeds my passion for my own business. But when I come in talking about structure and strategy, I feel like I'm the sensible parent who's just turned the lights on at the party.
Becky's response to that has not only changed my perspective on my own work but also on how I want to share it with you, her response was this:
"Nothing feels better than feeling in control of your business... THAT feels sexy"
…and she’s SO right…
I'm not a party-pooper, my helping to put in solid foundations for a successful business is exactly the reason WHY the party can go on and on and on!
Think about these 3 things to boost your business confidence
So, with that in mind, my mission is to make you feel in control of your business. And that starts with full accountability. Here are 3 thoughts I'd like you to take away and work through so that you have confidence in knowing that you are the one in the driving seat.
1. Clarity around YOUR business success markers
I coined this little phrase and repeat it a lot...
Stop outsourcing your definition of success
STOP scrolling through social media to compare your business to others - you don't know where they are on their business journey and what they've gone through or had to sacrifice. Or maybe they got lucky. Either way, this habit is not conducive to or reflective of your own journey.
STOP listening to the self-proclaimed 'experts' who will tell you that success is defined by a certain criteria i.e. hitting certain targets, getting X amount of followers. It just bloody doesn't work that way. What success feels like to one person is totally different to how it feels to another.
The definition of the word success is actually "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose" - so who has any right to dictate to you what your aims should be to enable you to feel happy and fulfilled?
START looking internally at what your version of success looks like - 100% unique to you, your lifestyle and your business.
2. Know your business capabilities inside and out
Understand the practicalities and functionalities of your business intimately. I am literally talking about EVERYTHING from the internal to the external. That goes for data, processes, systems, strategies, clients... and everything in between. How do they all work together?
Juggling everything it takes to run a business is tricky and it can be pretty easy to drop the ball for a million different reasons. Be honest, do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?
Your business is growing quicker than expected and you feel you might be losing track of your direction and vision
Your approach has become a reaction rather than a thought-out action because you're struggling to keep on top of things
Your pretty new to business and there are things you just don't know how to do
You've invested money into a system/software that doesn't seem to be doing its job but you don't have the time to look into it so it's easier to just muddle on and 'review later'
Feel like you have zero cost control?
Life is pretty damn chaotic right now
Babe, I hear ya. It is stressful but the good news is that all of these conundrums can be turned around.
A useful exercise to get your business back on track...
Lay it all out so you can visually see what is going on. How you do this is up to you - open up a spreadsheet or even just a word doc or grab some post-it notes and clear a table.
Once you start getting it all down, you'll probably be surprised by how much you're taking on without even realising it. So, first you absolutely MUST congratulate yourself for not self-combusting!!
Then, take a deeper look into it. You could use a traffic light system on each element; green means 'you got it', amber means 'something needs investigating' and red means 'something needs to change immediately because it's just not working'.
And as I will ALWAYS recommend to prioritise time regularly to revisit and review.
3. Explore, discover and take actions for your business
And that previous thinking point dovetails very nicely into this one.
Because once you've worked out those challenges you have this liberating freedom and opportunity to explore and discover the answers.
Make mistakes fearlessly
But don't dwell on them. They are valuable lessons that are key to your growth and development. I don't know a single business owner, entrepreneur or freelancer who doesn't have a story to tell. Mistakes are part of the journey. Accepting them is too.
Do your research
In knowing where the challenges are, you know exactly where you need to focus and can prioritise your time accordingly. Think about things like:
Are your business strategy, marketing strategy, sales strategy and business development strategy all up to date?
Has the market changed at all? What are the trends?
What resources are available or can be adjusted - time and cost?
Where are the gaps in your knowledge?
Are there elements that can be automated, streamlined, made more cost-effective or save time?
There are plenty of services and software on the market so ask around for recommendations! Research them, get in contact with them, think about how you can manage them. Do the time-saved benefits outweigh the cost?
Seek help when you need it
Sometimes there will be an area we get stuck on quite simply because we don't know a lot about it. We didn't all go to business school and that's ok because there are plenty of experts who can fill in those gaps so that you can continue to concentrate on what you love.
It's up to you to gage whether this is something you can be trained to learn or if it's something you need ongoing support with.
Maybe you know a little bit about the subject but you're not confident if you're doing it right and have questions, I'm going to go ahead and recommend a skill swap. This is great way to get external eyes on your business with an exchange of currency that isn't cash. You just need to invest the time to provide a meaningful service in return.
When starting or running a business, a lot of what we do is self-taught and trial and error. But sometimes we're at a crossroads where you just need proper know how. At this point you might find it beneficial to allocate time or money into training, this kind of investment pays off in the long run.
If you've exhausted all avenues or have reach the point where you just can't take on anymore, look at options to outsource. The advantages of outsourcing mean you'll see a quicker delivery (because someone will handle it who already has the skills) and gives you back the time to focus on developing your business.
So technical is the age that we now live in that there is pretty much a software solution for everything. Thankfully, you don't even have to be particularly tech-savvy, just willing to learn.
Streamlining manual processes not only saves you a ton of time but it will help you to feel more in control and able to see your operations in one place.
Most software programmes offer a free trial periods so make the most of those! As well as technical support, so any questions you can fire them over to their team who can talk you through. You'll also be able to see their analytics suites which makes reporting that much easier for you.
The bottom line is...
You need to build both a business that functions uniquely for you and inner trust in yourself to move forward.
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