Lessons from the First Year of Business
Well, it's official! Leap Business Services is celebrating its first anniversary. Like most, my first year was one of big highs, some lows and lessons learned. A personal goal of mine was to run this business that allows me time for personal priorities. Can you be a successful business owner and have a balanced schedule? This concept is a new frontier for me.
I was fortunate enough to hit the ground running with Leap. Thanks to the power of relationships and marketing, I quickly began working with local businesses on a variety of projects. Filled with gratitude, harnessed with opportunity, and looking ahead to the next year; here are a few lessons that I have learned from year one of a new business.
- Pick Your Pace-
It is easy to take on too much, too fast. I think most business owners struggle with balance (most are probably laughing about this understatement). I want to keep a schedule that allows me the flexibility to be present for my kids, available to assist my parents and have time to explore new ideas and interests. It is a departure for my prior work style and truth be told; I still fall into old habits from time to time but am way more considerate on pace.
- Seek Help For The Bottom List-
You know that big to-do list. The list with all your customer needs and project items that need attention. Does your list include ignored items? Often these "Bottom List" items are for the care and concern of your own business. Act now those bottom list items will be ignored. They will not be your best effort, or they would be completed months ago. As business owners, we are conservative with outsourcing and professional fees, but the cost of avoiding your bank reconciliation, finance and budgeting support, marketing plan costs you significantly more in the long run.
- Just Start, And Restart -
Guilty as charged, my social media presence went from planned and consistent to non-existent. When my client's projects and opportunities ramped up, my Leap presence went on the back burner. I can most certainly overthink how to get back on track but in all honesty, start. Stop thinking and begin doing. My rule of thumb is that if you are going to plan out one social media post, schedule three posts and give yourself some breathing room.
- Your Tribe -
Regardless if you are a solopreneur or a small business owner with staff, know your tribe and appreciate your allies. This past year I have been able to create and refocus on my goals by creating a tribe of partners, contractors and friends who all work collaboratively at Leap. Have a challenge? Who better to ask than your trusted business friends. Your tribe will also help you with staying on track, tackling the bottom list and picking your pace.
- Review, Plan and Schedule -
How do you organize your time? Your schedule? Your priority & project lists? Working as a business owner, your ability to plan and optimize operations can be success make or break. So know your personality, does your focus wane Fridays after 2 pm? Schedule accordingly, set weekly and monthly goals and track your productivity and progress. Be honest, start small and plan big!
- Looking Ahead -
Too often business owners are run by their business. By taking the time to clarify and outline annual priorities, you can then begin monthly planning. Looking ahead also requires you look back, I'm a little old school and like to do a yearly SWOT review. When looking forward, start with how do we leverage Strengths and Opportunities, what can we do to minimize Weaknesses and Threats? Lastly, separate your SWOT outlines for your business as well as for you personally. Too quickly, your business plans can differ from personal priorities creating a realignment to ensure success on both fronts.
So let's celebrate this past year of business and many great years to come.