There are many thousands of books, courses, and podcasts on the market today expounding on the benefits and techniques to building and retaining your focus in business.
Many of these have been produced by successful businesspeople who know exactly how they achieved this, and I would highly recommend many of them myself.
However, I’d like to come at this topic from the perspective of someone who, perhaps like you, is still developing methods that work for me as an individual. This perspective may relate to those whofeel like they are continually having to refocus and learn new techniques to achieve what seems to come easily to others.
Firstly, in my opinion, building a business focussed purely on your area of skill, is not enough.
Unless you are content to maintain the very lowest level of consistent turnover – gone are the days where advertising your skills is enough for significant business growth and retaining customer loyalty.
It is vital to build a clear vision for your business as soon as the concept of becoming a businessowner pops into your head.
No, it doesn’t have to be perfect or of investment-proposal standard.
It does need to reflect your motivations, your goals, your desired income, timescales, and what you envision your business to look like at each stage of the journey. It will incorporate every aspect of your skill set, areas for development, aspects you have no clue about, just yet.
According to Michelle from Virtual Hand “Building your business vision is a topic all on it’s own but having a vision in place is absolutely vital to retaining focus, for both you and your team. “
Ideally, it needs to bedisplayedand consistently referred back to, developed and refreshed.It will be what each new team member buys into, and what you share with those you want to work with.
It is also the foundation to the next principle that I have found to be indispensable as both a short term and long-term practice:
The trap I fell into when first starting my business, was believing that developing a broad visionwas sufficient to launch.
“I see where I’m going, so let’s begin.”
Yes, I followed the checklists and established the website and branding, and social media accounts. I signed up for the courses and leapt right into talking about my vision to all that would hear it.
This very quickly led to complete chaos.
At every single step of the way, planning is essential to both the daily success and longevity of your business and team.
Some suggest working backwards from your long-term goal and assessing all that needs to be in place to produce the end result.
It is alsorealistic to work to significant milestones. Breaking down the steps to reach each of these points and assigning action plans and deadlines, gives you a clear path.
Implementing the necessary procedures, and networks, and being able to selectively choose the right courses to upgrade your areas of knowledge, becomes a great deal more succinct, and less all-consuming.
Which in turn leads us on to the ‘day-to-day’.
Planning to conquer networking, social media creation and scheduling, client work, household schedules and mastering advanced EXCEL in the next working week, may sound completely do-able as you still feel the momentum coursing through your blood. However, as your reputation builds, this will quickly push you to a point of overwhelm.
If you are anything like me, everything becomes a priority.
Completion of client work to a point of excellence, is vital.
Meeting the needs of family – vital.
Maintaining a smooth online presence – vital.
Personal growth – vital.
All in one day?–most definitely.
Personal discipline begins with being fully aware of the next goals on your vision planand being able to prioritise a very few specific tasks each day. The experts say only three.
Personal discipline includes being able to say no.
It means prioritising our liquid intake throughout the day and not through tears and a bottle in the wee hours…
It means setting up a scheduler that not only means you never overstretch or double book yourself but also shows your potential clients that you are fully in control of the hours in your day. It says that their work will have its own time slot just as everything else in your day does.
It also means you have room to move with unforeseen changes and can confidently navigate adjustments to workload or family commitments.
As independent businessowners, being able to choose our schedules and fill them carefully, is a privilege we must take advantage of.
In my opinion, ‘self-care’ is a phrase bandied about far too freely these days. However, knowing your personal limitations and what you need to revitalise your mind, body, and spirit, is essential to the wellbeing of your business, your family, your team, and yourself.
I recently travelled to a relatively poor area of Africa, and this is what I noticed: The people were alive, they progressed, and they were happy. And yet, their days were filled with very little hurry. Meals and conversation were prioritised, and out of those times perhaps a business deal arose. The heat meant very little work was done over a couple of daylight hours, and what was necessary was done at a gentle pace. No laziness. Just balance.
Many may argue that this will not bring you riches. I beg to differ. Allowing yourself the room to breathe, and assess, and be at peak physical and mental peace means your entrepreneurial juices flow more freely. You see and grasp opportunities more readily and are able to engage with those you meet in a relaxed and confident manner. Dazed and bewildered rarely wins clients.
Finally, there’s the concept of support.
Many will relate to building their businesses on their own. ‘Team’ is not defined by the number of employees or associates you are able to gather around you. Team can be defined by a supportive partner, a best friend, a couple of colleagues you meet along the way.
The important factor is to have individuals around you who understand and support your vision, are aware of the boundaries and milestones you have set yourself, and who you feel comfortable sharing your struggles AND celebrations with.
They also need to be people that you trust to speak correction and advice into your business decisions and potentially, your personal life – restoring your focus when all around you becomes a little dishevelled.