How would a consultant view your business? When people get me to help them with their businesses, there are a number of things I need to know in order to help them get more of what they want from their business.
Here are some of the questions you may want to ask yourself. Take a moment to jot out the answers to these questions.
What, specifically, do I want from my business?
Identify both what you want professionally and personally. As part of this, you may wish to list what you don’t want. By being clear, you can set up your business to deliver what you want.
What is my business really good at providing that customers appreciate?
The clearer you are on what you do well that your customers also value, the better. That is, if you can provide it at a profit.
How much profit do I need to get what I want from my business?
Quantify the financial costs of the things you want. That is, figure out just what your business is going to need to deliver in order to achieve your goals. If what you want is to take more time off, then what will it cost to have a senior-level person in there to take your place? If you want to build your asset base, then by how much?
Where, specifically, does my business make its profit?
The clearer you are about how your current business operates, the better off you will be when it comes time to plan the specifics of your growth strategy. If your business does not currently make a profit, then what needs to change to make it profitable?
How big will my business need to grow to give me what I want?
This is an exercise in math, matching the size of the needs you have quantified with the size your business will need to grow to in order to meet your goals.
What strategy do I need to employ to grow my business big enough?
This may be clear to you, once you figure out the scale of growth needed to get what you want. Or, it may be fuzzy. If it isn’t clear, get the help of a business coach or advisor – someone who can guide you along the way. However, if it is clear, then you are ready to take the next steps.
What are the things that would stop me if I tried to grow?
List all the obstacles that could potentially stop you from reaching your goals. Don’t stop until you get all the obstacles out of your head and on to paper. Yes, this even includes the silly or far-fetched ones. This is an important step toward getting what you want.
For each obstacle above, what are some strategies to overcome this?
The obstacles that you listed, if used correctly, can form the basis of your growth plan. By addressing each one separately, you will find it much easier to identify the steps you will need to take to get what you want. Broken down into their component steps, big things can be achieved, one step at a time.
What do I need to do, when?
Once all the obstacles are identified and your strategies are clarified, then next step is to prioritize things so that you can get started.
Where do I start?
The next step is to start with the first priority and take things one step at a time. Only by working through things in a systematic way will you discover whether you found all the obstacles or not. If more show up, then add them to the list, strategize solutions, re-prioritize and keep moving forward.
By taking the view of an outside consultant, you can more easily determine how to use this tool called your business and build it to gain and keep more customers, as you grow your business to be consistent with your goals and commitments in life.