Tuesday, January 3, 2012

5 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Grow Your Business in 2012

New business success starts with improvements in YOU. These questions will get you started

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I love this time of year. It represents a fresh start. It gives people and businesses a symbolic moment in time to assess what worked well last year, what didn’t and wipe the slate clean and start all over.

It is easy and requires no effort to think about what we’d like to do differently in business. The tough part is making and sustaining changes—and even tougher than that is realizing you can’t move your business to the next level or fix a struggling business by simply focusing on the business. You also have to focus on fixing yourself.

Entrepreneurship is literally a self-improvement obstacle course. In launching and growing a business, all your strengths will be tapped and all your weaknesses will be revealed. The business gets better when you get better. If not, the business fails. So any business planning you have done or are doing for the New Year should include taking stock and improving you.

Here are five questions you should ask yourself to

make sure you grow as a person in the New Year and therefore grow your business too:

  1. Am I well? Anxiety, stress and physical disease zap your energy. One of the easy traps to fall into as an entrepreneur is saying and believing that you’ll pay more attention to your health once you make your business successful. That’s a fallacy. Burnout is real. Vitamin deficiency is real. Depression is real. Diabetes, hypertension, emotional bondage and all the other preventable health ailments that come from ignoring your body, eating in response to problems and avoiding issues instead of facing and resolving them are real. That also includes sitting at the computer or working in the business from the moment you get up until you pass out at night with no exercise, quiet time or focused loving interaction with your significant other or family. If you don’t have the stamina to run the business without running yourself down then you must make a conscious choice now to change. You don’t have to be a body builder or love guru but you do need to be well. Try a retreat or another means of pulling back to check in with yourself and make sure you are.
  2. Do I have strong relationships? Every success in this world comes out of some kind of relationship. What’s the quality of your relationships? Think about how connected you feel. Do you feel like you have people who genuinely support and love you—do you support and love them? Check in with your friends, family, employees and business partners to find out how they really feel. These are people who know all your “stuff” and love you anyway. These relationships are a safe haven through tough times and an inner circle to celebrate with during great times. Make sure you make a concerted effort throughout the year to give focused time to your relationships.

3. Do I have the skills I need to succeed?

It takes a lot to make a business work. If you have not taken an honest look at where your business keeps getting stuck and figuring out what skills you need to move beyond that recurrence now is the time to do that. Once you brainstorm a list of skills select one or two of them that you will intentionally focus on improving this year.

4. Am I 100% committed? Successful entrepreneurship does not result from half-hearted efforts. You’re either completely committed or your business is on the way out. Some people believe they are committed because they are still doing business every day. Time in service doesn’t mean you are committed. Being committed means you are willing to show up and make the changes that will consistently improve the business and make it profitable, or move you on to a business that will. Have you had an executive meeting with yourself regarding commitment? Check in with self to make sure you are completely committed.

5. Do you execute? The most talented people with the best ideas and best plans don’t win unless they execute. Do you accomplish the daily, weekly and monthly tasks that are critical to your business success? That’s a yes or no question. If your answer is no, you have to be totally honest and determine within yourself why you do not execute and how to move to the point that you do. In business, there is no trying. Your either are getting it done, or you’re not.

Answer these five questions to find out what you need to work through to hit your targets in 2012.

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