I recently had the opportunity to review a book for entrepreneurs that had some great advice, a list of seven priorities for the critical first year of business. The more I thought about this list, the more important that it seemed to me. So I have decided to create a series of posts elaborating on this theme. While “Young Guns“, by Robert Tuchman, is targeted to a just-out-of-college-and-wondering-what-to-do market, I believe that these priorities apply to anyone starting a new venture.
What separates successful entrepreneurs from floundering entrepreneurs? A daily commitment to fulfilling the benchmarks, both short- and long-term, you have set for your company. Every day, you have to be willing to put the time in and do what needs to be done to move your business forward, in a measurable way. For some people, this means making 10 sales calls a day, no matter what. For others, it means conducting a daily status meeting and troubleshooting with your team.
What, you don’t have a business plan? That is okay, get a piece of paper and write down the answers to these questions:
- How would you describe the people that your business will serve, either with a product or service?
- Where will your company be at this time next year? In five years?
- What is your primary goal for your business to accomplish in the next six months?
- List three smaller, more specific, goals that you need to accomplish in 30-, 60-, and 90 days to achieve the six-month goal.
- Do the same for your one-year goal.
There, now you have a business plan. This piece of paper should be handy at all times, and you should be referring to it frequently. I also recommend that you put reminders in your calendar for one week before the due dates of your “smaller, more specific” goals. Now, about that daily action. “I just created 6 short term goals, what is there to do every day?“, you might ask. Well, each of those 6 smaller goals should be a project in itself – a group of actions & tasks that make up the sequence of activities that accomplish the goal. A project called “Optimize Keywords for Website” is a good short term project, but “Review Analytics and Referral Logs” (for example) is not very specific. A better set of actions and tasks would be something like this:
- Review analytics – collect keywords from search results, measure frequency of keywords, look for unusual uses; Review referral logs for inbound links, visit those sites and leave comments/join in the discussion
You will find that by incorporating daily, tactical actions your strategic goals will start to move closer to actualization.