[013] You and Your Business: Time for a Check Up

Credit: Dr Jo North | Runway at Gibraltar Airport

What I know for sure…

I know for sure that entrepreneurs who spend time on continuously understanding and developing themselves build even more successful and fulfilling businesses.

Why I wrote this article

The purpose of this article is to provide you with an opportunity to stop and think for a few moments about how you feel about your business and progress right now, and identify some pragmatic, effective actions to create a step change in performance.

You and Your Business  – Free Download

I’ve created a FREE download HERE to help you assess how you see yourself and your business right now. The download also includes some coaching questions to help you identify actions to move forward, and I will be delighted to talk through your thoughts with you on the phone in confidence if that helps. You’ll find out more about the download later in the article.

And now, on with the main content.

Passionate, empowered, confident with a clear vision? Or, under pressure and feeling like you’re always putting out fires?

As entrepreneurs, when we feel passionate, empowered and confident about our businesses and have a clear vision for where we are heading, we are unstoppable. Our energy, insightfulness and preparation combine to create a compelling and powerful effect that inspires, aligns and focuses the people around us to play their part in our unfolding success story.

The challenge is that starting, building, maintaining and growing a business is bloody hard work! There are moments of celebration and even the occasional smidgen of glamour once we begin to reap the rewards, such as an award, a huge contract signing, an exceptionally glowing testimonial. But it can be hard to step back, see what we’ve achieved, and check that the course we are on is the right one for us personally, and for the companies we run. Delivering great service to existing clients at the same time as innovating, expanding and wooing new customers can be tough. Fast growth is a wonderful problem to have, but it does come with growing pains, a lot of firefighting sometimes and a feeling that we are always playing catch up, never mind getting ahead of the curve, because we just don’t believe we have  the time to stop and think. But we do have a few moments if we create them, and it’s so important that we do. Let’s pause for a second, right now.

Just take a few moments to stop and think.

Where are you at this moment, at this stage of your entrepreneurial journey? Are you passionate, empowered and confident with a clear vision? Are you loving your work almost every day?

Or…

Are you head down in your work, bum pointing to the sky, feeling like you’re battling through, reacting and on a hamster wheel, working hard just to avoid slipping backwards?

Is the reality of your business today matching up to what you wanted to achieve?

Or…

Has the strength of your overall vision got lost somewhere in all the hard work, noise and drive of the day-to-day?

Freedom and Fulfilment

I have worked with many, many entrepreneurs, and I don’t know any who are only in it for the money. The two fundamental drivers for people who start and build a company based on my experience are freedom and fulfilment.

  • Freedom to create a business that stands for what we believe in.
  • Freedom to focus on what matters to us.
  • Freedom to make the decisions that we think are right for our companies and ourselves.
  • Fulfilment from building something that is about more than just profit and delivering the numbers.
  • Fulfilment from doing great work, through our products, services and leadership.
  • Fulfilment from nurturing our ideas from concept to commercial reality, giving us a genuine sense of self-achievement

This doesn’t mean that we don’t also want more clients, greater certainty of continuing work, money and security, a brand that makes us proud, and a hassle-free, high performance culture. The underlying reasons many of us say we want these things, though, are to achieve freedom and fulfilment.

Idea Time

Taking 20 minutes to assess the current status of you and your business, and identify some quick wins to move you forward, will be time well spent. I’ve created some resources to help you do just that. Use them today, and keep coming back to them every few months or so to maintain your momentum and make sure that you are working on and not just in your business.

 

Step 1: Download your free copy of my You and Your Business Playbook

First, download my FREE You and Your Business Playbook here and take my quiz to explore how you’re feeling about your business, your contribution to it, and how much freedom and fulfilment you’re getting from it.

A playbook, as you probably know, details the range of moves that a team, usually in sports, has mapped out in order to achieve the target outcome – the win.

My playbooks are designed to help you to step back from your business for a few minutes, and see things from a different perspective and gain new insight by asking you to answer a small number of really powerful questions.

Once you have this new insight, the playbook then walks you through a really quick and easy process to work out how you can take action simply, quickly and effectively to create a step change in your performance.

Top Tips for Using Your Playbook

  • Try not to over-analyse: go with your first response as you read the questions.
  • Think about any other questions you need to ask that are specific to your work and business.
  • Write down whatever is in your head. This will help you capture your thoughts right now, and is also really illuminating when you come to read it back in the future.

Step 2: Think about You

Reflect on each of the statements for You  in your playbook and rate how strongly you agree with each statement on a scale from 1-7:

7 – strongly agree

6 – agree

5 – slightly agree

4 – neither agree nor disagree

3 – slightly disagree

2 – disagree

1 – strongly disagree

Here are the statements:

I enjoy my work, more or less regardless of what is going on.

Compared with most of my peers, I consider myself to be a high performer.

The people I work with hold me in high regard.

If I could start my career over, I would not change very much at all.

So far I’ve achieved the important things I wanted to achieve in my career.

I am satisfied with my career.

The rewards I get from my work are excellent.

In most ways the time I spend at work is close to my idea.

At work I frequently experience moments that make me realize why the work I do makes me feel so personally fulfilled.

The statements are designed to get you thinking about aspects of work that my research and commercial experience show are fundamental ingredients of experiencing freedom and fulfilment at work.

Step 3: Think about Your Business

Reflect on each of the statements for Your Business  in your playbook and rate how strongly you agree with each statement on a scale from 1-7:

7 – strongly agree

6 – agree

5 – slightly agree

4 – neither agree nor disagree

3 – slightly disagree

2 – disagree

1 – strongly disagree

Here are the statements:

There is a clear, motivational business plan for the future.

The business is achieving the things I originally set out to do.

The people I work with – employees and / or suppliers – are creative and come up with new ideas for the business.

Customer retention is strong.

The business is attracting new customers on an ongoing basis.

Cashflow is strong most of the time.

Financial management is a strength of the business.

We have new product/ service innovations in the pipeline.

I regularly network with others to gain information for my business.

People in the business generally perform well.

These statements give you a pragmatic, efficient and insightful ‘healthcheck’ on your business, covering financials, people, customers, innovation and goals for the future.

Check your answers with someone who knows you and your business well: they may have a different perspective on you and your business.

Step 4: Use the Coaching Questions

Highlight the statements that you gave your lowest scores to, and then use the coaching questions I have provided to explore your thinking and come up with ideas and actions to improve. I have provided coaching questions for ALL the statements, but you only need to do the ones that are most relevant to you. Do make sure that you jot your thoughts down in the notes section. Using your head as an office and filing system is not a great idea, and we know that when people commit things to paper they are much more likely to take action.

Again, check your answers with someone who knows you and your business well: they may have a different perspective on you and your business. You can always book a free coaching call with me too, to discuss them I complete confidence.

Step 5: Action Focus

Go back and review your answers. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the key things you need to address right now?
  • What do you need to address in six months?
  • What do you need to address in 12 months?

Write your next steps down in your Playbook.

And finally…

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. Thank you!

Credit: Dr Jo North | Dr Jo

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