So often we’d like to picture our journey into business as a straight line. Point A to Point B. Start and finish. But, in reality, it ends up looking like a scribbled mess with twists, turns, and full on circles along the way. Sometimes it feels like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back. Staying the course and maintaining momentum towards your goals and mission won’t eliminate those obstacles altogether, but it will help limit them and enable you to move past them and on to your “destination” more quickly.
free download: mission worksheet
Feeling lost and don’t know where to start? Take the same advice that navigators have used for many centuries…
Find Your “North Star”
We have it easy these days – between GPS systems, satellites, and iPhones, navigation has come a long way since the days where captains used the North Star to guide their ships. Still, there’s something so impressive about using one single point to direct an entire journey. We don’t really have anything like it today. Sure, we can input the destination, but that is an exact point. The North Star wasn’t the destination, it was the constant beacon that guided your way.
In your business, you don’t need to know your end destination yet. You just need a North Star that will keep you moving in the right direction.
I used to think that creating a Mission for your business was pointless. Maybe it was important for large companies, but as a solopreneur, I didn’t need a reminder of why I was doing what I was doing. Boy, was I wrong. The truth is, as a one-man show, having a clear Mission serves as your North Star to keep you working toward the end goal. It doesn’t have to be long and flowery or hang on the wall of your office (though it can!), but it does need to come from the heart and give clear direction on why you’re in business. (Get a little head start with this template and guide.)
Focus on RGAs
One of my clients was recently telling me about her daily schedule. She had hit a bit of a plateau in her business growth and we were trying to get to the bottom of it. So, I asked her what she does first thing in the morning. She, like most of us, checks her email on her phone before she even gets to her desk to begin work. So, from the moment she wakes up, her daily activities are dictated by her email – putting out fires, responding to clients, and taking things on as they arrive in her inbox.
It’s hard to keep moving forward when you’re constantly focused on the day to day activities of running your business. We wear so many hats and so often find ourselves getting caught up in the small details like email, education, business processes, or revising our Trello to-do lists for the umpteenth time (guilty!). The truth is that it’s often easier to focus on those things that don’t require a ton of brain power than dedicating our time to what truly matters: RGAs or “Revenue Generating Activities”.
Using your Mission as your guide, list what actions you can take that will truly get you moving in the right direction. For many, this could be implementing marketing strategies, developing new products or services, or even knocking off your to-do list that you’ve been neglecting.
I heard a quote the other day that has stuck with me ever since… “When you’re tired of climbing, picture the view from the top.” The day to day tasks of business ownership can be such a grind – especially if you’re in one of those twists or turns in your journey. But, this is the fun part! Find ways to keep yourself motivated towards that view from the top.
Schedule rewards for yourself when you hit certain goals, keep a photo of something that represents the end game for you on your desk, or a quote that inspires you on the wall. It can be tough staying motivated while working from home, but try to surround yourself with things that keep you focused.
Dig deep into the second part of your mission and really tap into what motivates you. Why did you start your business? What will success mean for you – not just monetarily, but what will it allow you to do in your life? That deeper motivation will help you hang on during the crazy days and celebrate the wins as they come.
Entrepreneurship is never going to be a straight line. For some of us, that’s why we love it so much. Our businesses present a different challenge every day. Some days are picture-perfect and others a bit stormy. Those who are successful find ways to stay focused on the end game, follow their goals, and dedicate their time to activities that are going to keep them moving forward.
So, if your business growth is a journey, what is your North Star?