A new year has begun and now is the time we entrepreneurs and business owners start to sketch out our goals for the next 12 months, five and ten years. It's so important to have a solid, realistic plan in place, firstly to hold yourself accountable and secondly to ensure maximum growth. As the saying goes "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail".
When I first started my production company, I used a vision board as a visual representation of the goals I wanted to achieve. I printed out large photos, made a collage and placed my board somewhere where I would see it every day as a constant reminder. Instead of trying to get all my goals done at once, I prioritized and picked realistic goals that made sense to my overall plan. Choose one task to do at a time, so goal-getting doesn’t get frustrating, overwhelming LEAVING YOU TO feel like giving up early in the race. If a vision board doesn't work for you, list your goals in your phone or even in a daily task note on your computer. The trick is to see your goals daily and to have your consciousness and your surroundings understand just how important your goals are. I know it sounds like a bunch of ‘fairy dust’ but trust me it worked wonders for all of my personal endeavors. The most important factor to any achievement is your mindset and a little bit of patience. Think about it, if you don’t believe in your vision, how can you expect anyone else to?
HOLD THAT SAME ENERYGY
We’ve all had to work for someone else at some point in our lives. With every company comes rules, mandates, code of conduct, policies and procedures. To add a layer of structure to your company, you should be following similar guidelines. Show up on time, yes that means rolling out of bed early and staying the full course. Make those hours count and hold that same energy as if you were at your 9 to 5 job. Maximize your work day and you will see the rewards with consistent behavior.
There are two mistakes that I see start-up businesses make which also leads to the most complaints from consumers.
Professionalism. Have you ever been speaking to someone and felt as if you wanted to take your business somewhere else? The number one reason why business owners do not retain clients, is due to lack of professionalism. That includes not responding to emails or messages in a timely fashion. The language being used when communicating with customers. How you present yourself in person when/if you finally get to meet your potential clients. Finally, product quality is extremely important. Remember you are face of your brand and you always want to put your best foot forward when it comes to representation. Know your demographic and make business choices based on your audience’s needs.
Follow up. After that initial contact with your customer lead, two things can happen; You close the sale or the lead falls through. At that point you still have some work to do. Remember there are many other businesses offering similar services. You want your customer to see what makes you stand apart from the rest, and that you are serious about acquiring new clients. Following up at the right time is a great way to make your presence known and it gives you a second chance to close that pending sale.
As start-up entrepreneurs and business owners, we are often financing or projects ‘out of pocket’. It is key to make sure you create a budget; you aren’t spending more than you're making and your ‘books are clean’. This refers to bookkeeping and having every cent that goes in or out of your business accounted for. As you keep track of your profits and see the growth, over time this will give you a new sense of accomplishment and hopefully push you to set more challenging goals.
Run your own race. There is a lot of noise in any industry and sometimes it's hard to stay on track when comparing your achievements or lack thereof, to other professionals. Strive at a pace that is right for you and just like an athlete, kick it up a notch when you need a good challenge. Don’t be afraid to reach out to mentors, network and ask questions. Everyone started off in the exact same position that you are in now, constructive criticism and a few pointers can really help catapult your business to the next level. Step out of your comfort zone, take smart risk and in no time, you’ll be on the path to financial freedom.