What’s the best way for a small business owner to start the new year? Try to work smarter, not harder? New products or services? Reviewing old client lists and refreshing their memories of you? Although most of these are probably decent resolutions (and I could certainly work a lot smarter and harder!) they’re probably only possible tasks in a much more important job – reviewing your business model and making some changes.
One of the reasons I have never been a big fan of business plans – those bulky things the banks and business schools ask for – is that because of their size they never get done or updated as things change. In my world, things tend to change the day after I am done a plan! Business models are a lot shorter (usually 1-2 pages) and because of their brevity you can quickly look them over, see what has and has not worked, make some changes and get going on these changes before the rest of the world has even broken their first resolution :-). You should probably do a full review more often (quarterly makes sense to me) but although I often review my model and task list, I’m not sure I’ve ever done a thorough review except on a yearly basis. Better than nothing I figure.
So, what do I review? Generally, three or four key areas and those areas depend on the business or businesses I am currently involved in. For my small business coaching business this year I will be focusing on three areas of my business model only – Goals, Products, Marketing. In short, is the business still achieving what I want it to achieve? Are the products/services correct for my target market? Am I doing the things I should be doing to get at my target market? Based on these questions (and any answers I might actually get :-)) I will update my task list and get going.
It should be an interesting year. I’m in the midst of starting two other small businesses – one in the field of manufacturing and consumer products and the other travel based. I have to continue developing those models and launch them formally in 2015. However, more on that later – I really have to get this coaching business figured out :-).
Cheers and a Happy New Year to all of you using the Gregorian Calendar! For those of you on a different one (and there’s a bunch of you out there), Happy New Year as well!