Let's imagine that you have invited twenty people for Thanksgiving dinner but don't have a plan as to how you will prepare for them. How successful do you think your dinner will be? Well, it's the same thing with business. If you do not have a good plan you will likely not experience success.
Let's compare the two experiences, for it really doesn't matter what you would like to accomplish in life, the steps for achievement are basically the same:
1. See the end result - Imagine the twenty people sitting around the beautifully decorated table with smiles and eager anticipation that is encouraged by the great smell wafting from the kitchen.
Now imagine exactly what you would like to have your business look like in three months, six months and one year's time.
2. Make a list of all the things that you will need - Take out the recipe books and begin making your grocery list. Remember to check the pantry to see if there is anything that you already have so you will save money. Then head for the store and load up on all the goodies. (Oh, and make sure that you don't go over budget. You might have to leave something out to stay within your financial means).
3. Look for appropriate help - Perhaps your niece will set the table and your aunt will peel potatoes. Maybe your sister will bring a salad. You do not necessarily have to do everything yourself but you also do not necessarily have to hire full-time help.
You may want to contract with people for specific tasks or projects so that you can focus on the area that you do best. Once again, though, you will need to be very cautious about how much you are spending as it is ultimately all coming out of your pocket.
4. Lay out the steps - You will need to put the turkey in the oven long before you pour the wine! What needs to be done should be clearly laid out in steps so that you can do things in the right order and on time. When I was making meals for large groups I would write the menu on a sheet of paper and tape it to a cupboard door so that I wouldn't forget anything!
Growing a business means that you need to certain things at specific times. You would not, for example want to have some vacuum while you are in the room with a crying client. Write out a list of all the things that need to be done and chart them on a timeline so that you have a roadmap to follow.
5. Complete clean ups - This is often the hardest part of the day. Doing all the dishes, putting the food away and trying to restore order in the house.
When you have a business there will be times that things are a mess. You might have a complaint to deal with or a period when revenue is low. Perhaps you have computer or physical files to deal with. Do not plan your business for the best day. Remember to also plan strategies to deal with times that are not as good.
6. Enjoy the experience - If you focus only on preparing the meal and serving others you might find yourself tired and sad that you missed the fun.
As a business owner you need to enjoy the whole experience of being in business. Remember to relax, laugh and take breaks to help you with this.