Today, I’m just jumping right in friends!
After a full year of getting kicked around by Covid, what could possibly give me the right to say “Just relax guys! Don’t get stuck in the day-to-day! See the bigger picture!”
Well, nothing really. Except for the fact that it’s probably something many small-business owners (especially those in the hospitality industry) need to be reminded of right now. I know I did.
“The combination of hard work and smart work is efficient work.” – Robert Half
A business exists to serve you as the owner, the owner does not exist to serve the business. You should always remember this. Why did you start your business? Probably not because you loved answering emails and phone calls all day.
I didn’t just want to be a wedding planner, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Growing up I was inspired to watch my father trailblaze his own career path instead of climbing a pre-structured ladder. I loved the idea of building a business that encompassed specifically who I was as a person, including my strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. And honestly, I wanted to take a vacation whenever I wanted!
So what are some steps you can take to separate yourself from the day-to-day, continue to love your work, and hopefully scale your business along the way? Here’s a few to start with:
Define the Vision
So what is your answer to why you started your business? When you think about your why and who you are as an owner and a person, do your current services and methods of operating your business line up?
If they don’t, that’s okay! It just means you’re now being presented with an opportunity to reevaluate. I personally started working with a business coach about a year ago, and in our time together I’ve done a lot of reflection realizing that for my first few years of my business I was just going through a lot of motions. I would just sit in front of my email each day and wait for business and tasks to come to me, then address them as they came up. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do next, but figured that if I always just did a good job at whatever came my way good things would happen right?
Some good things happened, yes. I’m very proud of the work I accomplished during that time, and frankly continually proud of having the guts to just start the business. But since about a year ago, when I did actually define and write down real goals of where I want to be in the future.. Wow have things happened.
I build my weekly to do list around my goals, and I work very hard to prioritize those over day to day operations. The day to day still gets done though. It’s amazing how efficient you can be when there is a true purpose of what you’re working towards.
“You’re on time if you’re five minutes early. You’re late if you’re on time.”
While I can’t say I’m in love with this Drumline quote, it’s accurate and applicable here. It’s also been in my head since the January NACE Evolve conference I attended.
As a planner it’s my job to continuously be looking forward to what’s happening next, soon, and later. If the first dance is supposed to start at 8pm and I don’t think about it until 8pm, it’s not happening on time.
So where are there opportunities in your business to be building processes and thinking ahead? Take marketing for example. Many people don’t worry about marketing until business is slow. However if they just kept up their marketing efforts when they were busy, they wouldn’t have to worry about ever being slow.
Set those goals and have touchpoints along the way to make sure your work is continuously driving those goals.
Stay the Course
Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. If it was a sprint, we’d all be extremely bored trying to come up with new things to do, since we have no desire to go back to the day-to-day of corporate life.
If you’re still wondering how am I going to make it both personally and professionally through the pandemic, reflect back on what you’ve accomplished. It’s been nearly a year, way longer than anyone thought it would be, and you’re still here. You’re someone who cares enough about his or her business to read this blog and hopefully have some takeaways. That is the attitude that is going to take you somewhere.
Remember who you are and why you started this business. Did you do something today or this week that put you closer to those goals? Then you’re doing great.
Chief Strategist and Creative Director of HUE by Sarah Davidson, Sarah is a sought-after event industry consultant, planner, and strategist based in Madison, WI. Follow her work on Instagram at @huebysd.