Keeping the Big Picture in Sight

A small business can be a complex operation. Without the benefits of a payroll department, janitorial service, marketing guru, or administrative assistant, there can be plenty to do but not enough time. In most cases, as a small business owner, you wear all the hats.  And if you’re focusing your efforts in the wrong places, your business will suffer. Too many small business owners run around in circles, putting out fires, with no real system in place for smart business growth.  Sound familiar?

Here are three things you can do to keep the big picture in sight:

1. Make a plan. Build a plan for your business with clearly outlined goals. That way you and your team will know what needs to be done and when. Think of your plan as your road map; it will show you where you want to go, how your business will get there and when. Clearly communicate your plan to others to ensure you are all working towards the same goal.

2. Use professionals. One of our Small Business Centre clients told us that he spent many hours learning how to develop websites because he thought he could save money by doing it himself. In the end, he was able to launch a working website, but it was average at best. He’ll be the first to admit that it wasn’t worth it. He should have hired a professional and spent his time meeting the needs of his clients.

Don’t be afraid to use professionals to make your life easier. This includes accountants, web professionals, marketing experts, and others. It might seem expensive, but keep in mind that if you hire a pro, you are more likely to get it right the first time. You’ll have less stress and more time to focus on selling and other critical areas of your business.

3. Think like a conductor. Visualize a large symphony orchestra, with all of the musicians and the conductor at the podium.  The musicians, following the conductor, begin a beautiful rendition of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. The musicians watch the conductor’s every move and create beautiful music together.

Now visualize a trap door opening underneath the first violinist’s chair, sucking him into the basement. The conductor, concerned that he now has no first violinist, abandons his post at the podium and jumps in to play. A noble move, to be sure, but the other musicians are now lost without a conductor, and although they have all the right pieces, without a conductor, they make a mess of “Four Seasons”.

Too many business owners “jump in to play violin.”  To be successful, you need to remember that you are the conductor. People look to you for clear direction. Stay organized by using good time management skills, map out your goals for the day, the week, and the month, and anticipate problems before they occur. Keep an eye on the big picture.

Too many business owners get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations and never get around to critical aspects of the business, such as marketing or new product development. Avoid this trap by making good plans, using professionals, and thinking like a conductor. You just might sing all the way to the bank.

PS: Got a story to share?   Tell us how you learned to keep the big picture in sight. Post your tips and comments here. Once a month we’ll enter all entries into a draw for a chance to win a voucher for one of our upcoming seminars (value $20.)

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