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Work ON your business – not just in it!

What would you like to achieve ‘one day’ in your business? Perhaps you’d like to add new products to your range, upgrade your website, grow your team, outsource some tasks you don’t enjoy, or will you finally get around to working out what to do with your social media presence.

As a business owner, you might find it’s all too easy to fill the hours with the processes and procedures of your day-to-day operations. If it’s time to step up in some way in your business, make this your year.

Here’s a 5-step plan to help you work on your business – instead of just in your business.

1. Schedule a meeting with yourself

There’s a saying that things that can be done at ANY time are often done at no time. In other words, unless you schedule certain things in, they will never get done.

If you’ve always thought you’ll work on your business ‘one day’, it’s time to pick that day and mark it in your calendar. Block out a morning or even a whole day, take your laptop to your favourite café or work somewhere off-site where you can focus and avoid interruptions.

2. Gather your data

To make the most of your business planning time, ensure you have everything you need before you start. You don’t want to block out a morning to make plans to grow your business only to fill the time completing your BAS (business activity statement) for the last quarter. Get your paperwork up to date and have your latest budget spreadsheets and financials ready to work with as part of your planning session.

Before you start, you might also want to have a good look at what your competitors are up to. Plans for your business certainly don’t need to be based on what others are doing, but doing competitor research can help you work out how to make your business stand out.

3. Try a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis might sound like something from a forensic crime show but it simply means looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in your business. As a quick guide – strengths and weakness are factors within your business (such as your staff or store layout) and opportunities and threats are factors outside of your business (such as industry trends and regulations).

If you’ve been avoiding looking at what’s NOT working in your business, your planning session is the perfect time to look into those issues. For example, if you’ve been having trouble with a member of your team, you might list this as a weakness in your business. From there, you can work out how to turn that around to benefit your business. Perhaps that person would benefit from extra training or maybe it’s time to sit down with them and discuss how things need to improve.

Take a look at our business plan template for more details on SWOT analysis.

4. Set some SMART goals

You’ve no doubt heard of SMART goals; goals which are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

As an example, instead of deciding you want to find new clients, you could set a SMART goal:

‘Before 31 March, I will secure three new clients to increase my revenue by $3,000 per month. I’ll do this by asking my current clients for referrals, posting examples of my work twice a week to Instagram and networking by attending at least one new local business event.’

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, work out the next steps to get started on each one.

5. Build your support team

Even if you are the only employee in your business, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.

You can build your support team by finding people with the skills and knowledge you might need. For example, if you don’t already have an accountant, you might decide to outsource your financial reporting requirements to a reliable certified accountant. This could save you a lot of time which you could then invest in other areas to grow your business.

Investing your time and effort into your business can make a big difference to your bottom line. To learn more, take a look at our building your support team guides or contact our free business advisory service.

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