If you are a tiny business owner and find yourself wondering each week if you are focusing on the right tasks. This is for you. Perhaps you’re like many of us and you feel like you keep creating new things and are unsure if they are where you should focus. Or maybe you feel like you’re drowning trying to keep up with it all. You’ve become overwhelmed and at this point have no idea what to tackle first in a long list of to-dos.
The good news is that no matter what your business is, there are three things that if you prioritize these things, you’ll be in a good position. When you begin each week, as long as you’re identifying the tasks that are associated with these three things and getting them done, you’ll start to dig out of the place of overwhelm where you are not.
Some of the issue may be that the things I am going and run through may not feel fun. You want to outsource them as you hate making time for them. But it is incredibly important that you are doing them. These are the things that will make you have a profitable and lasting business, even if you’d much rather be doing the more creative tasks.
I get it, those of us who are talented, tiny business owners tend to be very creative. I’m in this category and I understand the desire, the need to be creating new things all the time. And the excitement that comes from that. I’m talking beyond content in order to establish yourself with the people that are following you, I’m talking more that we keep creating new services and products and things that we’re trying to please our people with.
But the problem is that we ignore a lot of the really basic building blocks of our business. And then we end up at the end of a week and at the end of a month, not seeing any traction in our business, not maybe making any money, which is essential, and finding ourselves frustrated. So let’s take a step back and today focus on the three things that we need to make sure we are prioritizing each week to begin to take some of the stress out of owning a business.
The first is making sure that all of our current clients and customers have their needs met. This means fulfilling orders, providing the services that we have people signed up for, and answering and following up on any correspondence with them. That’s the number one thing that we want to be doing in our business. We want to make sure that anybody who is currently engaged, active, and part of our business is taken care of. Number one priority, you want to take care of those that are already paying you money.
The second is to be thinking about where your future income is going to come from. Now, this is done in a variety of ways that is a mix of sales and marketing for tiny business owners. In the beginning when it’s only us, or if we choose to remain a business of one, there is one essential area to focus on for future business. If we do choose to bring on contract employees, or if we decide to have full-time employees, we may opt to start to outsource some things as we start to grow and get busier.
If it’s just you the number one focus for this thing is networking. Especially if the business is built around you, why? Because people want to support you. It could be online networking. It could be going to group events. It could be having one-on-ones with people, sending emails, whatever is your way to network is great. As long as you remember that we’re not selling, we are networking. We’re building and establishing those relationships.
There is of course more to it than simply meeting new faces. You also have to establish some sort of way to keep in touch with the people you are meeting and connecting with. Social media makes it really easy these days. It goes a long way in making sure that you are being seen by the people who are in your network. And as long you’re not posting 5 times a day, it’s an incredibly useful way to stay in touch. All of those people who you network with can be reminded of who you are and what you’re up to.
Ideally, you would also create some sort of regular content so that you’re both establishing yourself as an expert in your field and making it easy for those in your network to pass on things about you. By content, I mean a blog, video series, podcast, newsletter, or something along those lines. That’s all part of the thinking about future business.
So far, we’re maintaining what we have going on with the current people who are paying us, and then we are thinking ahead to who’s going to be paying us down the road. The problem that usually happens next with tiny business owners is that we get so busy with the first two things that we forget about the second. And then when the contracts or the seasonal products or whatever we offer trickle off and we no longer have enough income coming in. We do not want to neglect our future income! This means that we should be both focused on current income and future income. And this brings us to the last thing? What is the third thing that we should be doing to make sure every week that our business is going well?
The third thing is to be having high-level strategy sessions each week (and yes, you may be the only person involved in this session). You need to be thinking about what is the next steps are in the business. It does not mean you have to bring on big employees. That does not mean that you have to grow very large, but it usually does mean that if you are a product-based company, that you have new seasonal offerings coming, or you have a product that could complement something you already offer in the works.
You could be strategizing about creating a new revenue stream. It could be joining a new networking group. It could be thinking about your big plans for the next 12 weeks or your marketing plan or things like that. You want to make sure that every week you are doing some of this, what a lot of people call, working “on” the business, as opposed to the other two things which are working “in” the business.
It’s very important that you are having those high-level, self conversations to make sure that you are thinking about the big picture. And you’re thinking beyond what you are doing day-to-day that will help the future of your business. Because if you don’t think about the future and you’re just stuck right now in the present, it’s just like those customers trickling off, big problems will happen down the line.
If you need help with any of this, reach out, I am available to help you do that. That is what I do. I’m Sierra Bailey. I’m a business educator, a tiny business expert, and the author of Smarter Starting: Building a Tiny Business. But you CAN do it yourself, you’ve made it this far!