We often don’t focus ON the business because we are so busy working IN the business. Don’t feel bad if this has happened to you. It happens to all of entrepreneurs at one time or another. You get those extra orders, a vendor creates problems, marketing isn’t working and on and on and on. Eventually you are so busy putting out fires you aren’t thinking about anything other than fighting fires.
That’s precisely when you should call a TIME OUT to decide if this is the business you want to build. What’s your business culture saying about your business? Culture is the soul of your community. Your culture is what lets you say, “we’re similar” to the people around you and “we’re different” from other cultures. Culture is how you and your business are known. Here are three important steps in focusing on your culture so that you are happy with your reputation.
First, notice what’s happening around you. This is a good time to work with a coach. A coach will support you in noticing how your actions affect those around you. Write your observations so you don’t lose them. Ask some key questions like:
- What changed? Do you like it?
- How is productivity affected?
- What’s missing?
- What still needs to go?
Second, cast your vision. How can you best spread the word about your values, both internal and external, with your business? A coach can help you clarify what’s important to you and how you can show that to other people. Until you talk about your vision, people can only guess what’s important to you. As you talk to your team (again and again), your vision will start to catch. And while you can’t control those above you in the business, you can be assured they will notice what’s happening.
Third, repeat steps one and two. You have created a focused approach. Now go with it. You are at the “aim, fire, re-aim, fire, re-aim, fire” stages. A coach can support you in staying true to your vision and keep you accountable to the things that will help it stick.
Here’s your challenge: take 30 minutes this week to step back and look AT your business. Do you like what you see? Does it stand for what you want it to represent? Are you ready to get started?