You started your small business with a vision and plan, but quite often those elements of a business are fluid. The more you learn about your market, your industry, your business, and even yourself can create changes. Sometimes the small business evolution creeps in like a ninja and you don’t consciously acknowledge the change. The question you need to ask yourself: Is this change what you want?
I don’t mean that you should just look at your original plan and try to cram a square peg back into a round hole. I always say, your business is an extension of you, a part of you – why wouldn’t you make your focus one of personal and professional happiness?
Look at the ‘then’ AND ‘now’ and ask yourself these questions:
- What was my original plan and purpose?
- Has my business journey and growth moved away from my original plan and vision?
- Are the changes positive for me and my business – am I happy?
- Is the current state of my business what I want for it? WHY was I doing things this way?
- Have I lost sight of an important purpose?
- What are my new goals?
- What, if anything, do I need to do to get things back on track?
These questions will ground you, bring you to the present so that you can make better decisions.
I guess you could say I’m being an anti-coach. There are a lot of formulas and societal expectations out there for small business owners, dragging you in a million directions because they’re shiny. And then, suddenly, you’re lost in it all.
There will always be some kind of crux; a moment where you have to stop and take stock of everything you know and what YOU want. You’ve got to make your business’s evolution work for you.
SMALL BUSINESS EVOLUTION – A TRUE STORY
I started Pocket Admin for two main reasons:
- I love what I do and wanted to explore a wider world of options; and
- I needed to manage my mental health and work in a controlled environment.
Pocket Admin is now heading into its fourth year, with our third birthday being this month. Admittedly, when I started out, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was winging it. I went out there just wanting to do what I wanted to do, be helpful, and earn some money.
As we all know, the reality of running a business isn’t that simple. So you have to research, and with a resource like the internet opening up a world of information to us, it’s actually an information OVERLOAD. I would chase “sure things” all over the place until I didn’t know what WAS a sure thing anymore. I didn’t even know who I was or what my business was anymore.
All I knew was, people said I needed to earn squillions, I needed to be an influencer or pinnacle, I needed to be important, I needed to be everywhere, and I needed to be amazing.
It took a blow to my mental health last year to bring me back down to earth a bit. By the time the car crash called 2020 came to a close, I realised I’d lost sight of what was important to me: my happiness and my mental health.
I’d already known when I started the business that I wasn’t capable of full time to overtime business and earning mega bucks. I knew I couldn’t handle stress and pressure well. The whole purpose of all of this was to create an environment where I could be my absolute best.
I don’t know if I was my absolute best by the end of the year, I was TRYING my absolute best, though. But I did know that I was exhaustibly weighed down by stress and pressure – mainly imposed by myself.
Today, I’m am feeling lighter as I write this because I stopped and asked myself the important questions and now face 2021 with fresh eyes and a purpose – to be who I should have been all along. To acknowledge my limits. And that absolutely does NOT make me weak, nor a failure.
I’m not here to tell you how to get rich, I’m here to remind you about happiness.
So, back to the questions!
Anytime you realise things have changed in your business, or you are feeling stressed by your business, just stop and ask yourself these questions:
WHAT WAS MY ORIGINAL PLAN AND PURPOSE?
Take a look at your original plan, vision, and purpose. This is not so that you can immediately revert to them. Yes, businesses are supposed to change and evolve. But it’s important to check whether you still truly WANT those original plans before finding a way forward.
HAS MY BUSINESS JOURNEY AND GROWTH MOVED AWAY FROM MY ORIGINAL PLAN AND VISION?
Have things evolved? What exactly are those changes? You need to identify all the changes so that you can assess things in more detail. This could be little processes that have changed here and there, or services that you offer, or new product lines that have crept in.
ARE THE CHANGES POSITIVE FOR ME AND MY BUSINESS – AM I HAPPY?
Believe it or not, happiness is paramount when it comes to running your own business. Generally speaking, you start your business because you love what you do. You should continue loving it. If you’re feeling like the shine has worn off a bit, maybe take a look at what changes to your business and offerings you don’t like. Do you REALLY need them?
IS THE CURRENT STATE OF MY BUSINESS WHAT I WANT FOR IT? WHY WAS I DOING THINGS THIS WAY?
Ok, so, you’ve taken a look at your original goals and you’ve assessed the changes that have taken place in your business. Is it what you want for your business? Does it ring true to you? Was there a particular reason you did things this way? And finally, is there a BETTER way?
HAVE I LOST SIGHT OF AN IMPORTANT PURPOSE?
Like me, perhaps you started your business for a very important reason. Have you lost sight of that reason in the turmoil and change? Is it still equally as important to you? If it is, it’s time to bring it back into focus. Re-set your intentions.
WHAT ARE MY NEW GOALS?
By this point you’ll know – am I happy with my business? If yes, that’s awesome!! Pat on the back for bringing your vision to life with all your hard work!
If you’re not happy, give yourself a pat on the back anyway! You’ve worked so hard and have achieved more than you probably realised. It’s just time to do a little housekeeping and happiness hunting, that’s all!
So, time to set new goals. Don’t stress over the old goals – they got you this far, but business isn’t black and white and there’s a lot that can happen as time passes by, to both you and the business. Sit down and decide now, what ARE my new goals? Where do I go from here?
WHAT, IF ANYTHING, DO I NEED TO DO TO GET THINGS BACK ON TRACK?
You’ve figured out all the ‘WHAT’ stuff, now it’s time for the ‘HOW’. Develop a new plan and strategy to get your business to a place where you are happy.
This could be things like developing better structure to reduce over-work, reducing hours to manage your mental health, or only accepting jobs that you truly enjoy. It could also be a full-blown offensive for continuing in amazing new directions!
But whatever it is, it needs to be YOU.