“Last year I made $170,000 with my business, working on it part time. I want to make more this year and I have a ton of ideas for products and services, but I every time I think about working on them I lose interest. What can I do to regain my focus and make more with my business?”
Chris is one of my clients, and when I asked him what his personal goals were, he hesitated and the admitted he didn’t really know. He knew he wanted to make more money so he could confidently quit his day job, but didn’t have a clear vision of where his business was headed.
Without a doubt Chris has been reasonably successful but he’s only tapping part of his potential as an entrepreneur, and he knows it. With his small business ideas and talents, he could be making $750,000 or more, but he’s stuck. What does he need to do be outrageously successful?
No matter how brilliant you are, no matter how successful you’ve been, without a vision of what you want to do with your business and without defined goals to achieve that vision, I can guarantee you’ll wander.
If you’re not making money or not making as much as you’d like to be, the solution could be as simple as clarifying your vision and rethinking your goals.
Say you really wanted to go on a vacation but had no idea when, where or with whom. Chances are that you’d end up just taking a few days off and staying home or hitting the local golf course for a few rounds. Okay, but not great.
Now, imagine you wanted to take the ultimate vacation with a friend or your spouse. You’d make a list of places you want to go, what you’d like to do and see, and the level of luxury you’d like to enjoy. You’d create a vision of your trip.
Then you’d start to make plans, setting dates and making reservations. Of course, this trip would cost much more than a few rounds of golf, so you’d start figuring out how you could make enough money to afford it.
My wife and I have been talking about taking a trip to Bhutan for years. But it’s a vague wish rather than a clear vision; we’ve never figured out when we’d go or what we’d do. At this rate, we’ll never get there.
Having a vision of what you want to do with your business is the starting point. If you just want to make more money, there are hundreds of ways to do it. You have to know where to focus.
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Are you thinking of adding a few more clients, or are you planning to be the top investment adviser (or whatever) in your state? Do you market online?
Are you wondering how to add an additional revenue stream, or are you could be planning to develop five new niche info products, each making you over $250,000 a year? Do you see your business becoming the dominant player in your industry or in your town? What do want your role to be?
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Several years ago I set myself the goal of making my business not only more profitable, but portable, so I could run it from any place that had broadband Internet access. This past December my wife asked me how many days of skiing I wanted to do that winter. I actually hadn’t pinned down a number until that point, but I told her that getting in 30 days on the slopes would be awesome.
When the snow finally started finally falling in late January, my business was set up so I could work from our condo in Vermont. I’m happy to say I reached my goal of 30 days of skiing, and continued to grow my business.
What is your vision of success?
What do you want to accomplish this year? In three years? In five years?
What are your top three goals for this month?
Like my client Chris, articulating a vision for your small business will focus your thinking. Then it will be easier to set specific goals and make plans to achieve them. Keep track of your progress, regularly update your vision and your goals, and you, too, can become outrageously successful.
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