When working with business owners, the first simple question that I ask them is -
What do YOU want from your business?
That question is based on an extremely powerful principle:
There are only two tangible things you can ever get from your business… time and money.
As a business owner, your business can either eat away at your time and money or create time and money for you. Of course, there are plenty of intangible benefits such as job satisfaction and doing what you love, but without some return for all the effort you put in, these intangibles will only get you so far.
The reality is that over 95% of businesses around the world are small businesses (those with annual sales of $10 Million or less) which means the majority of business owners are trying to grow a small business. So what does all of this mean for you as a business owner and how you go about setting real goals for your business?
In the past ten years of coaching business owners, the questions that I have found to be the most valuable in helping them create real goals for their businesses are as follows:
1 Where does your current business factor into your overall life plan… is it the first of many businesses that you want to own? Do you want to build it up your business and sell it on, or do you plan to have someone else run it for you? In other words, how important is your current business to you and what do you expect from it in relation to your overall life plan?
2 The next key step is to reflect on how much time and money do you want to create from your business. How much time do you want to spend working in your business and how much money do you want to make?
With regards to money – always look at the ideal wage you’ll need from the business plus the amount you may require in additional dividends to invest in other assets outside of your business. This will assist in accelerating your personal wealth creation.
3 The third key question is to ask yourself where your business is right now and what does it need to look like in order to achieve your desired time and money goals? Be as specific as you can about this - What do your annual sales need to be? What about your sales margins? What resources will you need in order to achieve those desired sales levels? How many team members will work in the business?
4 Then move on to set yourself a realistic time-frame to get your business from where it’s at now to where it needs to be.
5 The first four questions above, will enable you to have clarity on what you want to do with your business, where it fits into your life plans, where it is right now, where it needs to be in the future and also the desired time-frame. You final step is to now set out your strategic plan and a clear set of tactics in order to achieve your end goal.
Key success factors for your plans will include:
- Your leadership and entrepreneurial skill set, do you have what is needed to actually see the plans through and make them real
- The strategy of business in terms of the business model and the product(s) and how meaningful they are in the marketplace
- Amount of capital you’ll need and have access to
- How realistic your assessment of these issues actually is (objectively)
In following the steps outlines above, you will start out with a clear path and most importantly you’ll be working on business goals that are real for YOU – this is critical.
Finally, once you have completed your plan, consider getting some outside objective viewpoints from people you trust and respect.
Eric J. Gregory is the Author of ‘Would you like Profits with that?’ and the founder of
Gregory Business & Trades Coaching which specialises in working with SME
business owners and entrepreneurs.
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'To help SME business owners and their teams create Quality Lifestyles through Business Success'