Your business is off to a great start, but you’re ready to take it to the next level.[cite::219::cite] You know what your strengths and weakness are, and you’re excited to put a clear plan in place to reach your goals. But what are the next steps? How do you turn your plans into action and your dreams into reality?
Here are five things to implement in your business to take it to the next level.
1. Envision Where You’re Going and Create Goals to Get You There
Every business needs a target—something to shoot for—so you know where you're headed. Take a moment to think about why you started this business. What was the big dream you had in the beginning? Think back to how far you’ve come and envision where you want to go.
In his book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Jim Collins talks about creating "Big, Hairy, Audacious" goals. These aren’t just goals, they’re seemingly impossible targets that you can only see working out in your wildest dreams. Still, that’s what makes them so great! Shoot for a Big, Hairy, Audacious goal, and who knows where your business will land.
Most businesses' goals change over time, but a clear picture of where you're headed will make it easier to create an actionable plan to achieve yours.
2. Do a Thorough Business Review
Once you have an idea of where you’re going, give yourself credit for how far you’ve come. You’ve already accomplished amazing things, and there's so much to expect in the future. Take stock of where your business started, its growth, and the trajectory that brought you here today.
Review what’s working, and make adjustments for areas that are lacking. A thorough review of your business will ensure you have a solid understanding of what's made you successful, so you can take it to the next level in the future.
3. Never Stop Learning and Growing
No matter what you’ve achieved in the past, there’s always room for improvement. Some of the most successful business owners in the world are the ones who never stop learning. The best part is that you can learn a new skill or try something new, no matter what age you are.
Check out classes at your local business center or community college. The Small Business Administration website offers a Learning Center that provides online business courses about managing a business, financing, marketing, and more. If you’re looking for more skill-specific training, check out the Microsoft Office 365 Training Center.
4. Be Open to Delegating
Smart business owners know they can’t do it all. Your time is limited, and trying to do it all can put you on the fast track to burning out. For these reasons, it’s vital that you learn to delegate. You’re not the only one who’s competent at getting things done!
With a simple set of processes in place, you can delegate and outsource work to employees, contractors, or freelancers. Just remember to start small, until you get comfortable working with new people. Taking on too many team members at once can be overwhelming and, in fact, have a negative effect on your business.
5. Believe in Yourself and Your Team
Be open to feedback, outside ideas, and learn to listen to your team. Not only is it important to believe in what you’re building, but it’s important for your team to believe in it as well.
As the owner of the business, it’s easy to only see certain parts of the daily operations. However, your team may have a better perspective to offer about various processes and projects. Believe wholeheartedly in what you’re doing, and make sure your team knows that you believe in them too. It's amazing how your own earnest belief in your company will influence your team toward feeling happier, more confident, and more productive.
Successful business owners are always looking for ways to take their business to the next level. This means understanding where you’re going, evaluating current systems and tools, looking for more efficient ways to do things, and believing in everyone’s contribution.
However, a small business doesn’t become successful overnight. Take time to implement each of these 5 steps in a smart but patient manner, so you don’t grow too big, too fast.