Progress should be every small business owner’s objective whether it be increased sales, establishing expertise, brand recognition, organization, functional systems, etc. The list could go on. With a new year, brings excitement, motivation and aspirations. However, it also brings new challenges, anxiety, uncertainty and soon, overwhelm.
The problem with a new year and resolutions is that the New Year essentially is just another day. Unfortunately, we don’t get a clean slate at the strike of mid-night, so all of our issues and concerns and disappointments of the day before are still there. With resolutions, we employ the best of our intentions and ideals to motivate ourselves to look forward to a better year and give us hope. However, resolutions become short-lived and the New Year gets tramped on in anticipation of yet another new year. And real change becomes the daily struggle again.
Progress can only be made with careful calculations. You have to truly understand how you got to the point you are at right now; the past. You have to know who you are and what your capacity is. Sometimes the best of intentions cause the greatest harm; the present. And you have to be able to move forward from a standpoint of reality and practicality; the future.
The past. You can’t move forward without knowing where you’ve been. There is a reason we’ve heard this over and over again. Because it’s true. How will you ever know what needs to change unless you know what the underlying faults and root causes of missed opportunities are? Just like a doctor, you have to treat the disease, not the symptoms. If you are lacking a clearly defined target market, you may not be clear on what the benefits of your product or service are.
The present. What are you capable of right now? With everyday distractions, deadlines and commitments, know what you can realistically expect from yourself. Know your faults. Know your strengths. And be able to exploit them both.
The future. Rome was not built overnight, so why do we continue to expect ourselves to achieve so much in such a short period of time. Without benchmarks to closely measure your progress on a regular basis, you’ll have no idea what works, what doesn’t work and why. Which, in turn, prevents you from making necessary adjustments. (i.e. how will you know if you are reaching your ideal clients?) Real progress is carefully planned for and measured. Your future is created by the actions you take today.
Real change should yield progress. Progress cannot be made without proper planning. Smart and savvy small business owners understand the importance of and value proper planning. Proper planning is never complete without giving careful thought to the past, present and future. So, if you resolved to make changes this year and find it difficult to break away from old behaviors, take some time to reflect and understand why you do what you and how you can better work within your means.
Developing, managing and growing a small business is a tremendous challenge. If your mission and purpose have been lost in the daily grind and fire-fighting, consider Micro Business Therapy. It’s common sense, practical and realistic. Don’t forget… we want to hear from you. Share your comments and questions below! To address your specific concerns, Skype me: amichelleblakeley or email me at email@example.com
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For over 18 years, Simplicity Mastered™ founder and CEO A. Michelle Blakeley has owned or managed small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Expert in her field, Blakeley personally guides her clients out of their Business Brain Freeze™ to streamline operations, increase return on investment, and attain quantifiable results. Forbes.com and FinancialPost.com each recommended her as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, joining the experts who know that Blakeley is a master at growing small businesses … and doing it with “Simplicity.”