When you first started your business, odds are you spent time setting goals and scheduling the components of your business plan. But the bigger your business gets, the deeper into the weeds you go and the harder it is to prioritize these tasks. They seem “less important” than getting all the things on your to-do list done. It’s such a common problem that there’s even a label for this: sacrificing what is important for what feels urgent.
But things like goal setting and time management – are ongoing components of a healthy business, not a one-and-done, and if you don’t create systems to keep these activities at the forefront of your mind, you’ll lose sight of them. You’ll find yourself doing more work, experiencing fewer positive results, and wondering why you feel stuck. I call it “reaction mode.”
Here’s another “task” I see drop off for entrepreneurs as their schedules get busier and their bandwidth gets tighter: messaging. How you talk about what your business does for a living is something people often spend time on at the beginning of their journey because they know they need to have something to tell people, but then they let those words become a default habit and don’t take the time to iterate and upgrade as their business changes and they learn new things about their clients.
This all matters because entrepreneurs often think that business basics are only important for beginners. What they don’t realize is that the bigger and more complex your business, the more important it is to dedicate time to keeping the foundation of your business strong and healthy.
This can be hard to do. Not only because you have more items on your to-do list and less time to do them. But also because you’re conditioned to believe that once you’ve covered a topic, you can leave it in the past and move on.
It’s crucial that you fight against this urge and build in time to go back to the basics.
Business basics to remember:
1. Clarity – You have to be incredibly specific about what you want. You need to know (and remember) exactly who you are, what problem you solve, and who you do it for.
Tip: Regularly go through the language you use for your goals, messaging, processes – basically everything – and remove any vague wording. You will be surprised at how once felt clear to you suddenly sounds muddy if you make this a regular practice.
2. Goal setting – What are your goals and how do you want to achieve them? It’s important that goal setting remains a consistent element of your business because as your business grows, you get pulled into the weeds of smaller everyday tasks. When this happens, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.
Tip: Keep a journal with a yearly, monthly and quarterly plan. Then, calendar time for yourself to review and forecast new goals every month to keep you moving forward in a predetermined direction.
3. Mindset – Mindset work is ongoing work. That’s because your brain fights hard to keep you in a safe and comfortable place. But taking risks and being vulnerable is how you make the most amount of growth. So if you aren’t intentional about assessing your mindset, you’ll slip back into your old ways.
Tip: It can be hard to identify and change your limiting beliefs alone. Join a group, a course, or find a mentor to help you flesh out your limiting beliefs and replace them with something more productive.
4. Habit formation – When you first started out as an entrepreneur, it’s likely that you were hyper-aware of the new ways you had to think and act. As the newness of being an entrepreneur wears off, it’s easy to think that you don’t need to be intentional about new habit formation. Don’t fall into this trap! Your brain will always be inclined to stay safe and unchanged.
Tip: Build systems into your routine for actions and mindsets that are new. So much of being an entrepreneur is working against your brain. Systems and routines help with this.
Business basics are for everyone.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running a 7-figure operation or organizing an event for 10 people – business basics are what allow you to make steady and sustainable progress toward your goals.