If you’ve flown on a commercial airline, you’ve heard the flight attendants provide the safety instructions. Although most airline passengers zone out during this time, the airlines have it right when they tell you to “put your own mask on first before assisting others”.
The first several times I heard the instruction, I thought it was incredibly selfish. It didn’t seem right that I would help myself before those around me. Perhaps it was the 8 years of parochial school or watching my mom sacrifice her needs where I learned to circumvent my own needs. The airlines have the right idea. They know you’re not going to be of any benefit to others, if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Growing your business is akin to that safety instruction. In order to provide the excellent service your clients deserve, it’s important to put your own mask on and attend to your business needs first.
Prioritizing business growth is a common problem for entrepreneurs. You’re busy. You’re helping clients solve problems, responding to requests for information, networking with your colleagues, keeping up with email….the list goes on and on. Even though you start your day with the best intentions of making business growth a priority, it quickly gets derailed with what seems to be the more pressing needs of others. Growing your business gets delayed.
First Things First
If you could make business growth a priority, it would spell the difference between growth and success or struggle and stagnation.
Activities that directly influence the growth of your business include:
- Strategic planning and ‘tinkering’ weekly, monthly, and annually
- Goal setting including implementation of activities related to your goals that move your business forward
- Vital meetings with advisors including your strategic business coach
- Metric tracking monthly, quarterly, and annually in order for you to make informed decisions (Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie.)
The activities to reprioritize to follow those related to business growth are:
- Client meetings or work
- Email communication
- Desk paperwork
Prioritizing activities in such a way may seem a bitcounterintuitive – especially when client meetings are secondary to business growth. However, just like putting on your own mask first, you’ll provide better quality service once your business needs are addressed.
Prioritize, Schedule, Act, and Grow
Here are four steps to make growing your business a priority:
1. Shift from managing to growing your business. Did you know that when primarily focused on activities not related to business growth, you are running your business, not growing it? Although successfully running your business is important, if business growth is not your priority you won’t have much of a business to run.
2. Schedule time to focus on business growth. Devote time at the beginning of your day to grow your business. Make it the first appointment of your day – not the last. Putting business growth off until the end of the day likely means it will get put off until a more convenient time….as if a convenient time really exists
3. Honor your time commitment. Just like you keep promises made to your clients for meetings and deliverables, demonstrate the same respect for yourself and the future of your business. This is critical! If you’re serious about moving your business forward, do not reschedule or cancel the promise you’ve made to yourself.
4. Show up prepared. Don’t just make an appearance, show up prepared and ready to move your business forward with a plan for what you intend to accomplish during that time. If you’re not sure, refer to your strategic plan or your strategic business coach to coach you through the development of a focused plan. (If you’re uncertain about the topics to chat about with your coach, you can learn more at What to Discuss with Your Strategic Coach)