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How your business can stop messing about and get t...

How your business can stop messing about and get things done

As a business owner, it’s not always easy to get your company to go in the right direction. It’s like your business is an unwieldy truck that you’re trying to steer on the right path, or sometimes a car stuck on autopilot that can’t seem to get off the safest track. You can’t have control over everything, but that doesn’t mean that you have control over nothing. It’s still up to you to take the reins and take your business where you want it to go.

Perhaps you’ve been comfortably coasting along for too long, or you’ve just been making random decisions with no goal in mind. If you want to start getting things done, you need to start making the right choices.

Change Gears

The first thing that you might need to change is your mindset. Sometimes when you start a business, it can be easy to get stuck in certain patterns of thinking and behaviour. Maybe you found a comfortable groove where your business isn’t growing, but it’s not at risk of failing either. Now perhaps you’re scared to push the boat out and take any risks. Or perhaps you’ve never really had a long-term plan for your business, so you’ve been doing things rather erratically. Before you can really get anywhere with your business, you need to be prepared to change your tune and commit yourself to doing things differently from now on.

Set Some Goals

If you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with your business, having some cleargoals is essential. One of the reasons your business is remaining in place is likely to be that you’re not aiming for anything. You need to know what you want your business to look like in the future and how you’re going to get there. Of course, just because you set some goals, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to fulfil them all. Some of them will be successful, and some won’t work out, but the important thing is that you have things that you’re working towards. You need some big goals and some smaller ones, so you have some direction when you make decisions. You can ask yourself “how will this help me fulfil a goal?” to make better choices.

Start Prioritising

Another issue that could be holding you back is doing things in the wrong order, or just not knowing what to do first. You can spend too much time worrying about the small things and forget about the big stuff. Or you can forget that you need to get the small things done because they contribute to the larger projects. You need to know what’s most important to your business, both on a day to day basis and in the long-term. It’s not just you who needs to prioritise, either. Your staff should do the same, although you can help them out by making it clear what matters most.

Think About Everything Long-term

If you want your business to actually go somewhere, you should try to think about every decision with the future in mind. Don’t view things in relation to how they might help you in the moment, but how they contribute to your long-term goals. Not everything will immediately appear to have a long-term benefit, but most things will. You might be working with a new client for only a short period, but it could mean you build your experience, have an important name to put in your list of past clients, and perhaps collect a testimonial to help in securing clients in the future.

Start Hiring the Right People

The people you choose to work with are extremely important. You might already have some employees who you feel are valuable to your business, but bringing in someone new can make a huge difference to the way your company operates. It can help to give you a new perspective or a new drive, or it could just help you free up some time to get more stuff done. Using DSC Personnel to find some much-needed office support could get things running smoothly. A new employee, or even two or three, could be what you need to shake things up at your company. Conversely, it could also be time to assess whether anyone in your company could be better off somewhere else.

Find Ways Around Hiring People

Hiring someone new isn’t always a possibility for your business. Taking on a new employee can be expensive, and not all small businesses can afford it. However, that’s no reason to use it as an excuse not to expand your team. You might not be able to hire someone full-time, but you can still tap into some top talent. Outsourcing is easier than it has ever been to do because you can use the internet to find the people you need. There are people all over the world who can help you with what you need, and plenty of services are easy to deliver virtually. Just remember that if you want things cheaply, you might need to do one of a few things. You’ll either be sacrificing a bit of quality, waiting a bit longer for work to be done, or perhaps giving someone with a bit less experience a chance.

Get More from Your Existing Employees

Maybe you don’t want to bring in anyone new right now, whether they’re a full-time employee or a contractor. Focusing on the people who already work for you could be a more valuable choice. Like you, they might just be coasting along and doing what they need to so they can get through each day. But maybe they want to be challenged more, or they want you to help them get their work done more efficiently. Think about what you could do to get more from your employees and how you could help to nurture them at work. Maybe you can offer them some training, or perhaps get rid of some of the boring and repetitive tasks that get in the way of them doing some real work.

Build Your Brand

If you need to give your business a clearer direction, one thing that you could work on is your brand. Some business owners forget to put in the effort to develop their brand, which leaves their company feeling undefined and struggling to stand out. You need to think about what makes your business unique and the image that you want to present to the public. Having a well-defined brand could make a huge difference if you’re trying to get your business recognised. It’s the difference between your business being boring and stale, and actually having a personality.

Find the Right Tools

It’s always important to have the right tools for the job. Whether you’re thinking about the tools that you use to manage your day or those that your employees use to complete their work, making the right choices is vital. If your software isn’t delivering everything you want it to or your hardware is slow and out-of-date, it’s time to look at how you could do things differently. There are so many different tools and there, and many of them are very affordable or even free. Before you start using anything new, think about your business’s needs. Do you need to be more mobile, more flexible, or just more organised? How will investing in new tools help you to reach your goals?

Start Making Valuable Connections

Communicating with the right people can really help to move your business forward. It’s not necessarily about being connected to powerful people, though. You just need to be a team player and get involved with others, whether it’s individuals or other brands. If you want to start forging relationships with the right people, you need to put some effort into reaching out to them. First, decide who could be useful to connect with, then think about the best way to reach out to them. Is your first step going to be to send a friendly email, call them or even start following them on social media?

Be Open to New Opportunities

Sometimes opportunities come along when you’re not expecting them, and sometimes you have to go looking for them. Either way, it’s important to be open to lots of possibilities and think about how they might shape your business. You never know where your next move might take you, and the thing that has the most impact might not be what you expect it to be. Before you decide if an opportunity is right for your business, you need to consider what benefits it could offer and what the potential drawbacks might be.

Nothing will change with your business unless you decide to take action and plan for the future. You need to make an effort to develop and grow your company and find the best tactics to do that. Start getting things done by making some big and small moves, making sure you have some goals to give your business the direction it needs.

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Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

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