As the clock hit midnight on January 1, 2016, many people around the world celebrated the start of a new year, followed by a host of inspired thoughts about the many different ways to make this year great for life, family and even business.
With this energy and enthusiasm for your goals and dreams, ensure as a business owner you have set your priorities for the year. Your fresh mindset, perspective and willingness to start the year off right will get you going in the right direction so you can maintain momentum and finish the year strong.
Consider using this advice to help set your small business priorities.
Gather your thoughts
Whether you are starting a business or are in the first year of your entrepreneurial journey, take a moment to self-reflect so that you fully appreciate your current position. Where are you today? It is important to take the time to write down what you hope to accomplish, without necessarily worrying what is reasonable, attainable or realistic. The point of this exercise is to collect all your thoughts without critique and write them down.
A few focused questions can help guide you while you start thinking:
- What type of product or services would you like to expand on?
- What are your skills or talents that are transferable to a business context?
- What are your financial or marketing expectations?
- Are you in a position to hire employees?
- Would you like to expand to other cities/provinces?
- What information or research do you need to complete in order to make your plan happen?
- Most importantly, what are your expectations? (revenue, marketing, operations, etc.)
At the start of the entrepreneurial journey, some people will list website creation, logo design and stationary/marketing goodies as crucial first steps in running a business (rightfully so – there is a time for this). First and foremost, however, be sure to analyze the value you plan to provide your customers by setting up a value proposition. If you provide a service/product that offers value to your customers, it can create a sustainable business.
Create a value proposition statement
While the last section helped you set your mind in motion for brainstorming, creating a Value Proposition involves setting a specific promise about your service or product that represents a valuable offer to your customers, one that will show the difference between you and your competitors.
You can find out more about creating a value proposition for your small business in this blog: What is a Value Proposition Statement and How Do I Create One?
Compare and contemplate
Compare the lists you have created
- Do any of your thoughts from your self-reflection exercise match your research and findings from your value proposition exercise?
- Can you commit to the value you are promising to your customers?
- What do you need today to make a reality out of your promise to your customers? (partners, supplies, etc.)
- Do you have a plan to meet your demand, should you get an influx of calls, orders, and requests?
The journey of a small business owner is very satisfying and exciting, and at the same time very demanding of your time and efforts. As markets change rapidly, nothing guarantees your success more than your discipline, your flexibility and your curiosity to continue to learn from others and market trends. Ultimately, your passion must never dim, for that is the heartbeat of your business. If you can’t keep it alive, who will?
In my next blog post, I’ll share tools and techniques you can use to identify your business priorities in detail. For now, focus on creating your value proposition statement. Find out more about Value Proposition Statements, including a How To and some sample statements.