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It’s very easy as a Solo Business Owner to become very busy, very quickly. But busy does not always mean productive, and productive does not always mean efficient.
Let me explain.
As a Solo Business Owner, you have to do all the things yourself, and in the process of learning how to do and be all the things, we can end up doing a lot of ‘stuff’ and convincing ourselves it’s all necessary. I don’t think it does any harm for us to review what we are doing with a graceful and gentle but critical mind. Asking ourselves, “Are all these things I do really necessary?”
- Productive is doing a lot of things or achieving a lot of things. The dictionary defines it as: “producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities”
- Efficiency, as it relates to a person, is about “becoming well organised and competent”. My interpretation of this is doing more of the ‘right’ things or gaining mastery, becoming competent. Just because we are great at what we do, does not automatically make us great at business.
First of all, a couple of caveats then I’ll get onto what it means in terms of the Wheel of Progress.
What’s right for one person may not be right for the other, so don’t get too hung up on the definition of ‘right’. There is no one ‘right’ way, we all have to find our own definition of right. I call it finding your guru within yourself.
It’s inescapable that there are some things that we simply have to do, I get that; I am not giving you a pass from them, what I am asking is can you work smarter not harder?
There are a few things that, in my opinion, make up the Business Basics. The key things that garner progress in business; I call them the 5 P’s and together they make up the Business Basics Wheel of Progress.
Let me take them in turn:
- Profits – Understanding your business numbers is key to decision making. Making solid decisions based on data is the first foundation of a successful business. So many business owners I meet, leave their numbers to their accountant. In fact, so many of the business greats I’ve come across have a story about how they should have engaged with their numbers before it became critical in their business. I’m so passionate about this, that I give away my “Knowing Your Numbers” masterclass: please don’t ignore your numbers! [Link to MV masterclass]
- Planning – The old adage ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ is never truer than when applied to a small business owner, where EVERYTHING is on your shoulders so you gotta plan YOUR success first! How much time do you spend planning your business trajectory? I don’t mean your 10-year plan unless that’s what you want to do, I mean setting your business GPS so you know the direction you’re heading?
- Projects – If you want to change something then focused, organised attention on the subject is key. In its simplest form, that’s a project and that’s a business game-changer. Every major corporation I’ve ever worked for has understood the power of projects to effect successful change and transformation.
- Processes – If it’s in your head, you are doing yourself, your clients and your (potential) staff a disservice. Creating systems and processes are the difference between being consistent in your business and being a victim or how you feel that day. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t mastered my every mood, and I’m not sure I ever will; but I do want my clients to have the same great service every time they connect with me, regardless of how I feel or how much time I think I have. The same applies to my VA!
- Principles – To be a successful solo business owner, whatever your definition of success, you need to be great at running a business too; a lot of that depends on your mindset. Understanding your Why, your own definition of success, understanding the nature of thought, your habits and self-care are all age-old Principles that will change the way you engage with your business.
So knowing what the Business Basics Wheel of Progress is, how does it help us move towards Business Mastery? The simple answer is by creating within ourselves a culture of progress or life-long learning and development.
The principle of mastery for me is the same across all industries, all business sectors, all personal sectors. It starts at the very beginning, a very good place to start… is it just me who hears Julie Andrews at this point?
It doesn’t hurt to review all the areas within our business, even if we think we are already masterful; there is always something more to learn. Start with your foundations, give them a shake, how are they holding up in all 5 areas?
As the wheel turns, we move on from our foundations and we kickstart our culture of progress seeing small changes that make a difference. We notice our business muscles getting stronger as we go around, again and again, each time refining and learning more. With this progress, we begin to feel the forward motion.
As with all things as we get motion or traction we build momentum and the wheel turns with less effort from us, but we don’t stop there; we recognise what is working for us, what needs refining or iterating, and what habits are helping us and those that are hindering us.
That repetition and refinement is the way to mastery.
I love the Celtic saying that “as the wheel turns, so it returns”. I think this was originally related to the seasons; the cyclical nature of life, to life and death itself. But it fits so well for me here, in business. The ideas and plans that we have now, have their season. Even who we are now as a business person has its season. As we learn, we develop; as we experience more of life and business, those ideas turn and return. Sometimes they remain the same but build strength, sometimes they change and develop like the leaves on trees throughout the seasons.
Someone told me a while ago about a couple of things Tony Robbins said, and whilst I wasn’t a fan of Tony at the time, they both stuck with me.
- There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people stuck at the level of my past self-development. My interpretation of that was although the change was inevitable, not everyone would continue exploring, but he couldn’t let that stop him from sharing his journey and helping where he could along the way.
- I am not finished. I have not mastered my own personal development. My interpretation of this is that mastery will probably never happen. 30/40 years after starting his own personal development journey, Tony Robbins acknowledged that there is so much more to learn and to experience. It’s an on-going journey.
Now, I haven’t asked him personally, and I didn’t hear him say those words himself, so please allow me the paraphrasing and my interpretation.
To put it another way, think of a concert pianist or member of Fortune 500, do you think they ever think they have arrived? That they are finished? That there is nothing else to learn? Nowhere else to explore?
I recently listened to part of the life story of Warren Buffett, and even though he is one of the richest men on earth, what I heard and took away was how he approached his life and his business as a constant learning experience that never ended.
Now the thing with people in the public eye, they elicit a response, sometimes it’s not a positive one! I didn’t expect to end up with admiration for either of the men I have mentioned and if that’s you too, please don’t let that derail you.
Most businesses don’t last 5 years, in fact, a large number of them fail in the first year. Part of my mission is to help Solo Business Owners with the basics, the foundations of business; because I want to change that statistic by taking my years of experience in the corporate world and making it accessible and useful to Solo Business Owners too. I don’t want to work for shareholders, I want to work for real people making a difference with their businesses.
Am I a master? Absolutely not! But each day I learn something new, I experience something new and my Wheel of Progress turns. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot; sometimes it feels like I’m winning, sometimes it feels like I’m failing. But it’s always turning, and I hope it never stops!
Taking care of your time
Sharyn with a Why
Business Efficiency Coach AKA Master Time Bender 😉 🕰️
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