Have you ever just gotten in the car and started driving with the intention to do something, but you wind up driving around aimlessly? Achieving nothing. This happens to me sometimes when I have so many things on my mind, from family, to businesses, to ministry work, to LIFE. Oh the many things that come up in a day. My kids and I were walking around in Target the other day supposedly going in to get coloring books. We looked at tablets, movies, toys, clothes. LOL! An hour later we almost left without the coloring books. My 5 year old son said “why do we keep getting distracted?” LOL.
All of these examples, the car, wandering in Target, are what happens to business owners when they start their business without a vision and a plan. I know some people get started and just jump right in and start swimming. Which will get you results and sometimes favorable, but more likely you will hit a major snag in your progress. For many it is a cumbersome and laborious task to put together a plan to support your vision. And a lot of people wanting to start a project or a business don’t even take the time to write down the why and the details of the what. It doesn’t have to be that painful of a process. Really it is just a matter of having the ideas and the general knowledge of where you want to go in the next year, 5 years, 10 years and beyond. This can only come from YOU! It is your baby, your vision, your passion, and ultimately up to you to drive and make it happen. But the WHY is the most important piece to all of this because the why will get you through all of those hard days that are ahead. The “why” gets you through the great successes to keep you grounded.
What does that mean for you? Take some time this week to sit down and write out your dreams for your business, your project, whatever journey you are on. What is your WHY? Then think about all of the things you know you will need to make that happen. Do some research and see who else is doing it or what is missing. Figure out how much all of this would cost to make happen for the first year, 5th year, and beyond and then consider who else you could add to your ecosystem as partners to make this happen more efficiently and create that triple value effect for you, your customers, and your customer’s customer.
Now take all of that information and you have your outline for a proper business plan – roughly (missing the marketing aspect and a few other financial pieces) but this gives you the start to not drive around aimlessly, and if you need a formal one done, you can pass this info on to someone that can run with it and give you a polished plan!
KLH Consulting can help if you want to schedule a Strategic Design Session or go to one of your local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, or the Small Business Administration for business plan support.
Here’s to grinding out your daily dream!
What does it take to lead your life, your business, others? Resilience and authenticity. I was reading in Harvard Business Reviews July 2016 issue talking about characteristics of a great leader, “…having faced setbacks, made errors, run a-drift, yet lived to fight another day!” This resonated with me so much. I feel like it is exactly where I have been on this journey. I am still learning every day, and if I wasn’t I would be scared! I have realized over and over again that you have to be uniquely you and follow your gut.
The times I have veered off the path were times I listened to the voices around me, (all well-meaning) but not understanding my passion and purpose for what I am doing. I know I am running a woman owned small business, but I really believe in the tag line I have used for my business since 2008, KLH Consulting provides “INSPIRATION, SERVICE & SUPPORT”. I always want to be in the business of helping people achieve what they are trying to achieve. So when I do my pricing and I make it reasonable some people think I should charge more. The times I went against my gut and did that, I scared away clients. And I know, this is business and there is a thinking that they weren’t serious if they weren’t willing to pay. I totally get that, and I am not underestimating my value. However, I do not want to lose my authenticity by chasing after money. (I am a for-profit business so YES I need to make money).
My Point is, money should not be the root of why I do business. It always should circle around to meeting a need, providing service, and bettering my community. I work hard to stay true to this and I am still stumbling here and there, but I just wanted to share this morning because it has been a rough couple of months for my business and it is easy to get disheartened. But I am here to say, I am not giving up, failure is not an option, and as long as God gives me another day to live and breathe I can keep going.
So for anyone reading this and feeling overwhelmed, underwhelmed, un-inspired, off the path, take a moment and think about this:
Go back to the beginning – Write down (in your journal – or a piece of paper) why did you start on this journey? And what do you love about it? What excited you to start in the first place.
So how many times have you gone to a conference or a meeting or a networking event and you do the ritual of passing out business cards, and collateral and they all look the same (different logo of course) but nothing stands out. When I was a Small Business Advocate at Lockheed Martin, I would represent the company during Small Business Panel discussions and then do SB speed-dating for vendor outreach. Well, in just one session I would leave the event with a bag full of business cards, flyers, and even folders filled with the same dry standard information. Sigh! The average advocate or individual engaging small businesses or any business owner, they would look at it briefly and then put them in a pile with the rest of the mediocre (but probably really good companies). When you see over 50 a day sometimes, your eyes get blurry and everyone starts to sound and look the same on paper. Unless you have something that really stands out, by the time we would get to our desks you are forgotten. Notes sometimes help, but it all looks the same. At Lockheed, we worked on building a database that we entered business information in to reduce the loss of good small businesses. SBs could enter their own information that went beyond a NAICS code. Now they have incorporated these elements into their marketing tool on thewww.lockheedmartin.com website.
What matters more than anything is having great services and products that provide value for your customers. How that value gets communicated rests on your selling techniques & the tools you use to leave an impression. You want to delight your customers, educate them on why you, and give them the way to access you. If you pull all those elements together and then have the visual collateral to communicate those messages clearly and vividly, you will not only be visible, but you will be resilient. Don't fill your materials with fluff! Be efficient and tell people what they really need to know with great graphics!
YOU ARE YOUR BRAND
You are a personal billboard for your business. Consider yourself as a brand ambassador. Every time you walk out the door you should be ready to represent the mission, vision and value your business brings to the table. Brand consistency is critical to demonstrating a cohesive message. There are so many great examples of branding that make a huge difference in the perception of a business. I recommend seeking help with marketing and branding specialists that can help you figure out your brand identity and make a complete difference in your billboard.
If you are looking for complete packaged solutions for your marketing check out our Product Solutions.
So many possibilities can come out of a strategic design session. It is really up to you and what you want to achieve as an individual, Solopreneur , small business or mid-size business owner. You can use your sessions to build amazing plans and strategies to implement over the days, weeks, months ahead. Create a marketing plan, or an opportunity worksheet to determine the right opportunities to pursue for your business. Having trouble finding what you do best? Use the strategic session to work on discovering your Niche and your target audience, Whatever you need, I am here to help make you valuable, visible, and resilient through inspiration, service, and support.
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