In a plumber’s house, the faucets leak.
It’s the joke people make about not being able to do what they do best for their own benefit, because they are busy doing it for everyone else.
This is worse when you are in a service business: marketing, communication, accounting, human resource, etcetera. You need time to work on your own business, so it won’t fall apart while you are busy working for other companies.
There are multiple tactics to keep your company up to date:
- Plan an hour each week where you work on your own company. Do marketing, accounting, communication, checking out leads. Whatever it is you normally neglect.
- Plan a day each quarter. This works especially well for the bigger picture. Working on your strategy for your company, your services, your marketing, etcetera. Where did you wanna go? Are you going in that direction? What needs to change?
- Plan a week each year. This is the really big picture. Chris Guillebeau does this every year at the end of the year. He calls this the ‘Annual review‘. He looks back at what he wanted to do and what he actually achieved. He then sets the stage for next year.
Doing your finances once a year is impossible. First of all in most countries you need to pay your taxes more than once a year as a company, secondly the longer it has been the harder it will be to remember what that ticket was for… But making your overal strategy isn’t something you want to do every week, and even if you would want to, it would cost far too much time.
So I would recommend combining these 3 for the optimal result. Each week you work on marketing, communication, leads by following the strategy you made in your annual review and that you reviewed every three months to see if everything is still going to plan.
My annual review is different from the reality at this moment. Some things went splendid and faster than anticipated, other ideas are harder than I would have expected. By making a strategy, reviewing and working on it every week I know what is not going the way I want it to. It gives me a chance to try and fix it or decide it’s just not right and change it to something that hopefully is better.
Don’t forget you
But while working on your company is very important I want you to remember that you need to work on you as well.
I don’t mean your downtime (though that is VERY important) but don’t forget to evolve yourself by learning new skills, reading up on new ways to improve your business, learning more about you and how you work best.
In his book ‘The Freaks shall inherit the Earth‘ (affiliate link) Chris Brogan talks about learning a new skill every 3 month. I had never thought about being so specific when it comes to learning, but I feel it is a great idea. Setting yourself a goal will help you spend time on it and succeed, so why not do that with the personal goal of learning something new? – By the way, I love his book! It is about using the thing you are passionate about (a freak) and doing the work to actually being able to make a living of it. He talks about marketing but mostly about business strategy and personal commitment. I highly recommend it!
And this is what I am talking about: personal development can take many forms but it is important for you to work on it. It can also be reading books about topics that will help you evolve. Whether that is business, the topic I am reading loads about these days, or online marketing or even a hobby. It will help you become a more rounded person and therefor will always have an impact on your business.
I am curious: what do you do to evolve your business and yourself?