3 Basic Questions: Part 3 - How?

This series of articles focuses on 3 questions every business owner should be asking, regardless of what stage of life their business is in to help them grow to the next level.

Whether starting a new business or continuing to run an existing business, when things go sideways many business owners look to jump straight into the deep end of strategy. If you've been reading this series you know that is definitely not where you want to start. The identity of your organization and where you fit in the marketplace plays a huge role in pointing toward what kind of strategies will work for your business--and more importantly what kind of strategies will never work!

Assuming you've already locked up those important pieces of your business, we can start to look at the strategy of your business, the "How???". Fortunately, strategy plays a role in every aspect of your business and can go in any of a million different directions--your options are open. Operations, marketing, sales, finance, production, communication...the list goes on...and your strategy for How you are going to do each of those aspects of your business are ripe for improvements.

If you've been operating your business for awhile now you may be saying, "Wait a minute, I've been in business for eight years and have never had to define these things, why now?"

Good question. You can probably survive, and even thrive, for awhile by reacting; but the only way to establish long term health (for your organization and for YOU) is to have some systems in place.

There are a lot of places you can start. You can read a bunch of experts' books and find a new strategy that you like. You can dump your old system and put something new in place wholesale (works if you are new, but can be a real bear if you are trying to make a change with limited resources) or you can start with what you have.

When is the last time you thought about how you did (INSERT ONE TASK HERE)? Start by writing it down or charting it out. Write down all the steps you take to get that task done. Now really think about that process. What makes sense? What doesn't make sense? Is there anything you could switch around to make it more efficient?

Here's my challenge for you this week: Pick one process in your business that you feel is the biggest waste of your time and give it an evaluation. Commit 30 minutes to an hour to really investigating how you do that task and why you do what you do. If you can save yourself 5-10 minutes a week that commitment of time will pay itself back in no time flat.