What you focus on will depend on where you’re at in your business journey.
We all want to see profits in our businesses, but your energy is the most precious and limited resource you have.
Spend it wisely!
What season do you see yourself in below?
(Psst…The seasons – or stages – look linear. They kind of are…but expect to kangaroo hop around them sometimes, too!)
SEASON OF IMAGINING
There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of a Big Idea. Seeing new ways to meet needs in the world that align perfectly with your identity and mission is exhilarating. But Big Ideas often crash when we start asking “will this work?” or even “am I good enough to do this?” The challenge of the idea stage is sussing out how your idea wants to manifest. It can be hard to balance protecting your creative energy with sinking your hands into practical applications. Focusing on the points below will help ground you in reality while protecting your tender Big Idea.
- Testing, listening, and getting feedback from people. This also builds your support system. The people who get just as excited about your Big Idea as you are will be the ones reminding you why you’re doing this as you face obstacles in the future.
- Clarifying the problem your idea solves, or opportunity your idea gives. The clearer you are on why your Big Idea is so great, the more alluring it will be to your clients.
- Who does your Big Idea benefit? Lots of people term this your “target audience.” It’s easy to feel like your idea is so great that it will benefit everyone, but narrowing it down will give you the foundation of how you want to show up in business and also ensure mutually fulfilling relationships with your clients and customers. Looking for someone to walk through finding your target audience? Check out The Minimalist Marketing Plan.
- What similar products or services already exist? Research what others have done, what approaches are working for them and who is showing up for them. Do this in small doses and balance it with activities that feed your creativity to avoid getting sucked into a nasty comparison feedback loop.
- How is your idea different? Pay attention to the gaps your idea fills that others aren’t speaking to. Every entrepreneur has a nexus of experiences and identities that make their approach unique.
SEASON OF BUILDING
Congratulations! You’ve laid your foundation. You’ve verified people need what you want to offer and are willing to compensate you for it. Now it’s time to bring that Big Idea into the world.
- Short term goal setting. Dreaming big can be fun, but it’s time to reverse engineer your Big Idea and break it down into manageable goals. Hone and practice the tangible aspects of what your Big Idea requires. Are you creating and distributing a product, or providing a service to clients? Either way, think through every step of your process.
- Setting up shop, whether it’s digital or brick & mortar. How or where are you offering your product or services? Figure out what options are available and what aligns the best with your goals, financial state, and lifestyle.
- Getting your marketing, legal, & financial ducks in a row. What do you want to DIY and what do you need to hire professionals for? Is sole proprietorship or an LLC the better option for your business? Have you opened a business bank account?
- Continuing to gather feedback. The further along you are in the process of building your business, the easier it will be to convey your vision. You’re showing now, not just telling. Pique the interest of your community by sharing concrete examples and samples of your idea meeting needs in the world and ask how that might serve them in their lives.
- Practicing accountability & asking for help – you have a lot on your plate! Learn your limits and set markers of how much you’ll do on your own before outsourcing parts of your workflow. Plug in to local groups that support entrepreneurs and explore the options they have for accountability.
SEASON OF STREAMLINING
Are you ready to streamline your process and your product to maximize your energy and your profits? I’m so proud of how far you’ve come!
- Narrowing down your priorities. Learn the difference between your business needs and wants, what has to happen to keep things moving, and what would be nice.
- Refining your product/service. What parts of your business process feel sticky and challenging? Are you spending the bulk of your time on the parts of your business you enjoy? If not, what can you outsource?
- Cutting underperforming products/services. You’ve been doing this long enough to know what resonates the most with your community. Let go of the products and services that aren’t as popular so you can pour your energy into what serves your business the best.
- Looking for repetitive tasks and areas to simplify. Where can you become more efficient?
SEASON OF GROWTH
You’re doing it! Your business has a great foundation and you’ve found your footing. It’s time to grow, baby, grow.
- Looking for new opportunities. How would you like to expand or level up your business?
- Long term goal setting. Where do you see your business in 5 or 10 years?
- Building your team of key players + supporters that can contribute to your growth in new ways. Who would you like to collaborate with more?