Check for changes in the environment of your business
Check for changes in you
What have you learned?
Has your passion shifted?
Check for changes in your community
Watch for the signs
Redefine your offer
Sometimes it takes a crack on the side of my head by a Cosmic 2×4 to realize I’m stuck or that something basic needs to be changed. It would be much easier if I could figure that out ahead of time.
Take a quarterly reality check
You can take a reality check any time but I suggest you actually schedule one on your calendar four times a year. You might align them with the solstice and equinox celebrations to remind you of a steady pattern of growth.
Begin by writing down the parts of your business that you love to do. List the activities and interactions that fill you with enthusiasm and satisfaction. Mark the ones you are really good at doing. This is your calling. This is where you are needed. This is where you are to serve.
Make a list of what is working. Do you like doing it? Does it bring in enough income for the effort/time it takes? Do people need/want what you offer? Are they buying it? Be honest. Don’t list “what if’s, or maybe’s.” Don’t let something be OK if it is not OK. Circle the most lucrative aspects of what you do in your business.
Look for what is missing
There’s always something more we can do to move ourselves forward. For instance, you may know that your networking and keep-in-touch strategies are weak. What are you willing to do? What personalized version can you create that can fill that need. I’m not a go-to-meeting person but I can reach out through blogging, or simply by calling people I would like to know better and reaching out to deepen our connection. Schedule the actions you are willing to take to improve that area.
Let go of what is not working and that you don’t like to do. Hire it done if it is integral to your business, but if it is a pet project that you like doing but no one needs, drop it.
If you are stuck, take one action as soon as possible
Sometimes it takes awhile to realize that we are stuck. I got stuck recently. It was depressing. Some of the options I considered made me very, very unhappy to even think about. On top of being stuck, the first thing I thought of was the old solution. The very same steps I used to take to rescue myself from this type of situation. All that did was take away from what I had achieved so far. I knew the old solution was not a solution. I needed to find new paths, new opportunities, and a new inner approach.
Strategist what you want to create on the other side
How do you want it to be? What if… What if you started doing more of this and less of that? What if I wrote and posted five articles a week instead of one? How much free advertising would that be? How is my conversion rate? Do I need to change my opt-in offering? What if I clustered my coaching clients and scheduled them only three days a week and scheduled one full day of business marketing for myself? Where are the leaks in my spending? What am I buying that I don’t need? What should I purchase to make my business run easier, faster, better? What do I see as the outcome? How do I want my business to be?
Check your beliefs
Whatever is showing up that is not working indicates an area of your consciousness that needs adjusting. How is your self-esteem? Can you look at your services for the value they bring to others rather than thinking in terms of cost per hour or worse yet, what you think people can afford to pay you. Do you think you can do the job? Do you believe your work is good enough? Check your beliefs around the areas of your business that are profitable and satisfying as well as examine the aspects that are not. See what kind of adjustments you can make. Change your thinking and it will change the outcome.
Ask for signs
This is my favorite thing to do. Ask for a sign for your next step, for guidance in making a choice, for what new door to open next. Then simply watch and interpret.
Look to the future
Start focusing on how you want it to be. Start listing the steps to get you there, the people you need to work with, the outer changes you need to make, the inner work you need to do. Keep asking “what if.” What if I did this? What if I change that? What if I no longer offered that?
The minute you feel stuck take action as soon as you possibly can to change the circumstance and immediately start making plans for the new direction you want to take. Even a small shift will take you down a new path.
This is one of those times I get reflective about how I’m doing and where I want to go. How can I make the next quarter better? Or the next year? Or the next five years? Am I headed in the right direction for me? Am I headed for success?
Am I still going where I want to go?
How has my vision changed? Can I see myself playing bigger, reaching more people, touching more lives? Have new paths opened up that I want to follow or explore? Starting right this minute, what do I want to attract, create, and manifest over the next twelve months?
Write it down. Make it concrete. Prioritize. What’s at the core of all you do that you want to keep doing? Why do you get up in the morning and do what you do? What is your passion and are you still following it?
What new skills have I learned?
We are constantly learning and changing. What have you learned, discovered, experienced that has brought a new realization or insight that you want to incorporate into your life and business? Have you added a new credential? Is there a new venue you want to explore? Have you met new people to partner with? Write down your skill sets, see how many ways you can use them. Prioritize them and build them into your business.
What’s working and what needs to be phased out?
Get real with your dollars and cents. What is earning you money? What is fun but doesn’t bring in income? How can you streamline your costs? What help do you need to get? Shed the worst 10% of everything you’ve got – that includes clients, products and time wasters. That leaves room for you to add 10% more of the great stuff.
What are my goals for the year?
Only take the steps that forward the goal you have chosen for the year. That will keep you on target and produce more relevant results. Do you want to get more clients? How many? What do you need to do to make that happen? Get a coach? Do more networking? Do more referral education? Pick tangible goals with measurable results and track your success. That helps you know what to keep and what to toss at your quarterly 10% house cleaning toss.
Re-price, Repackage, Reposition
The easiest way to increase income is to re-price – as in raise your prices. Don’t look at what you do according to the time it takes you to do it. Look at the value it produces and price accordingly. When I coach a person in developing an information product, it’s not about the time we spend together or the time I spend strengthening the content, it’s about the value of the results she will get with the content we produce. Even more important is the knowledge she obtained that she can reuse again and again to make more information products. That changes our thinking, doesn’t it?
Repackage – position your offering so people sign for longer periods of time. That allows them to make the buying decision only once. I ask for a three-month commitment because the decision-making process takes time. The completing of the project is a snap after the decisions are made. Some coaches have a six-month or twelve-month commitment. How much time do you need to get the results you promise? The coaching process is about change and that simply takes time. If you are settling for a three month commitment, look for other offerings you can make to up-sell that client to a longer coaching package. Keep finding ways to serve those loyal customers who already know and love you.
Chunk your products up or down. Present the same material in new formats. I broke a five-week telecourse down into a series of eight ebooks so people can access the information at a lower price point. Breaking that information down also gave me the chance to expand each topic.
Reposition your offerings to a new target market. As I move into semi-retirement I have discovered a whole new set of personal challenges. How do I stay relevant? Who am I if I am not my business? My passion to learn and teach and write remains but my interest has shifted. I now help entrepreneurs who are moving into retirement with all their creative juices still flowing, to re-purpose their passion and talent so they can slow down and still feel productive and relevant. I’m focusing on personal growth. I help my clients find balance. My business background can help them downsize and reposition their business. My spiritual background can help them prepare for retirement. It’s the same me with the same skill set. It’s simply a different focus for my offerings.
Move more deeply in service
If you continue to move more deeply in service, to continue to find ways to support, nourish, guide, encourage, inspire your target market, you’ll be happy and they will keep coming. Don’t throw out everything. Don’t start over with everything new, but take time to reflect on how you’re doing and how you’d like it to be different. Then simply take the steps to make it happen.
© 2012 Cara Lumen