First of all, breathe, don’t panic! You have not left it too late. This is not a failure of your business. You are taking stock, taking action and steering a new course for yourself. By confronting you have problems, you are dealing with them. It’s a good day already! Here’s a few of my thoughts on how to put your business back on an even keel again. ( I know this blog has a nautical feel to it today, it just happened that way!)
1 Get back to that living business plan as soon as you can. The chances are nearly everything has changed since you initially created it. Perhaps it seemed a great scheme at the time, but things in the business world change fast. Go through each section and create new goals and new stepping stones to get there. You may be shocked at how out of date it has become. With a clear vision you will already have a fresh perspective of your business and your place in your market.
2 To accomplish the task of refreshing your business plan I would thoroughly recommend a brainstorming buddy. Bouncing your ideas off somebody with a spidergram spread out on the table (works for me!) is worth its weight in gold. It will generate ideas and minimise panic. I will be honest with you, this task could turn into a project, but it is necessary. I would set aside a good week to plan your business reboot.
3 The very thing I am currently working on myself, the ‘Ideal Client Exercise’. Visualise the perfect client or clients you would love to see on your books as regulars. Imagine their whole lives, their ages, where they are, what online groups and forums are they on, what memberships are they likely to have and what they like to read. The more information you can gather about your ideal clientele the more likely it is you will find them. It is all about identifying your niche market. This exercise will help you to do just that. You are not limiting yourself or your prospects, you are specialising.
4 Finally a suggestion I know pretty much everyone will identify with. I suggest taking a good look at your business social media. Redesign your online campaign, because if you are honest you are not networking or creating an online presence, you are getting sidetracked. Decide what forums your business needs at this point (your needs will have changed dramatically). If you are an accountant, do you really need Instagram? Decide what you want each forum to do for you.
For example, I use Facebook to post and explore my career field in depth with links to talks and developments of my own business. I use Twitter for small, fun, business related thoughts and projecting the human side of my business. Any offers, coupons or training opportunities I would suggest posting here. I use LinkedIn to network with others in my field and research articles. It is a place where I connect directly with contemporaries and keep up to date with how my business world is changing. All of these I flow through my website, because that is your business home, the hub of your empire. When you decide you want social media to work for you in specific ways, you can clarify what and how you will post. Set aside a small portion of your day to post what you need to and then get back to work!
I hope these little tips help you to admit freely that you are struggling a bit. It’s ok, we all do! If it was so easy that you could learn it in a day on Wikipaedia everyone would be an entrepreneur. It’s a matter of admitting current practices are not working for you, assessing and readjusting. Sometimes a change of course is all that is needed, for some it is a whole factory reset. Just don’t ignore the fact you are struggling, take it back to the foundation if need be, refresh and reboot!
Do you have suggestions I should have added to this list? Then let me know and let’s get these small businesses flourishing!