As we enter the second half of 2016, it’s a perfect time to do a halftime review and make sure our game plan is working out.
Let’s start by going over the goals we set at the beginning of the year, the progress we’ve made, or didn’t make, and tuning up our game plan to make the rest of 2016 kick ass
Step One: Get clear on your goal
[Tweet “To move the needle on your business, you need to devote consistent focus.”]
Did you set a goal for 2016? Did you set a bunch of different half-baked goals? Did your goal evolve as the year progressed? Dig out your list of resolutions. If you did set a concrete goal for 2016, have you been focusing your actions to make this goal a success? If you have a more casual list of resolutions, is that working out for you? Chances are, if you are juggling several ideas, your focus may be too divided.
Having a goal is just the first step. Knowing what actions to take to turn your intentions into reality requires that you break down the big hairy goal into smaller, bite sized tasks. You should be able to put three things on your to-do list each day that are specifically designed to move you forward. Your goal needs a plan. If you need a little assist with goal planning, please check out my awesome system. It’s vital to keeping me on track and productive. If you don’t like mine, there are literally hundreds of other planners systems out there in the world. Use one.
Step Two: What are your numbers?
Your “numbers” are the money you spend running your business, the money your business brings in, and most importantly, the difference between the two. This is officially referred to as a profit & loss statement. The scariest question an entrepreneur must ask themselves is “What are my actual numbers?”
One thing that I’ve learned, in life not just business, is that ignoring scary stuff doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it usually makes it scarier, because it’s an unknown. It’s always less scary when you know stuff. And you can’t grow if you don’t know. I didn’t even try to rhyme there, so, bonus.
[Tweet “Do you know your numbers? If so, good for you! Knowing them puts you in control.”]
If you don’t know your numbers and need some help figuring it all out, here are some resources:
- Check out this video by Tara Swiger to get you started on knowing your numbers.
- Tara also wrote a great post about lessons learned from income reports.
- A Simple Guide to Understanding Profit & Loss by Entrepreneur.com
- An excellent primer in bookkeeping for crafters and other small businesses by Lauren Vernell
Figuring out your numbers is about as fun as filing your taxes, but it’s a vital step in growing your business, so, sorry but you’re going to have suck it up and get started. Good news, you only have to set it up once. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that you are doing okay, maybe even better than ok. If you crunch the numbers only realize that you’re not doing so well, at least take solace in the fact that with this information, you can start correcting your course to success.
Step Three: How did you get this far?
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Have you heard that one before? It makes perfect sense. How do you know if you’re making progress if you’re not keeping track of what’s happening? How do you know how you got where you are if you don’t know what efforts are paying off and which ones are just a waste of your time?
After you get your numbers straightened out, check out your key performance indicators to figure out what is working and what is not. Entrepreneurs these days feel like they need to do everything and be everywhere on social media, but the fact of the matter is you only need to do what works. So, although it may take a little effort to figure out what is working and what is not, in the long run, you’ll save time by not doing things that aren’t moving you forward.
If you aren’t tracking your KPIs, it’s time to get started. If you sell on Etsy, you probably know that it keeps track of your stats. Did you also know Etsy has some amazing articles to help you grow your business? Google analytics is another amazing tool, and they have a free Analytics Academy to help you get the most out of it. If you have a WordPress blog, you can install plugins to track your analytics. Nathalie Lussier’s “30 Day List Building Challenge” explains how to build your list by using analytics, and she even walks you through the steps to set them up for your WP site.
You might be surprised how things ‘magically’ start to grow when you make the effort to measure their progress. Here is a list of resources to help you better understand what KPIs are and how to build your business.
- Check out the Etsy’s “Seller Handbook” articles on growing your business
- Take Nathalie Lussier’s 30 Day List Building Challenge
- Set up Google Analytics and put them to work for you
- Which KPIs are meaningful for your business according to Tara Gentile
- Get clear on the “5 Key Metrics You Need to Be Tracking in 2016” via Entrepreneur.com
Step Four: Why we do what we do
Running your own business is hard, and sometimes you can get so discouraged you might wonder what you were thinking by starting this in the first place.
I began making bamboo tile jewelry back in 2009. I was looking for an easy & fun project to teach in workshops at Party Arty!, the art studio my sister & I owned at the time. I fell in love with everything about these magnificent bracelets and necklaces, and spent many hours perfecting my process until it was no longer a craft project, but an art. I got lots compliments, and then requests for custom orders, so of course I took the next step and turned my jewelry making into a business. In 2012, I quit my job to work on it full-time. I was so sure that I would soon be making a living doing what I love, but here we are, almost three years later, and I am still struggling to make consistent sales. If not for my husband’s “real” job, I would have had to ditch this dream a long time ago. I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and for so little money. But I just have to believe that this work is going to pay off someday. I joke about getting famous, but all I really want is to be able to make a decent living.
I believe that my jewelry is beautiful; that it helps the wearer express themselves and tell their story; that it is a way to be connected. My “why” is my commitment to self expression, quality small batch goods, and creating a meaningful alternative to hyper-consumerism. And so, I keep on. Every day, my goal is just to move forward.
Simon Sinek gave an amazing TEDtalk on the subject. My friend Kris wrote this beautiful piece on her “why” and how it drives her. Take a moment to remember your “why” and get your goals realigned with that “why”. Create a “motivational poster” using PicMonkey and hang it in your workspace to inspire you when things get tough.
Step Five: Finish 2016 like a boss
After looking back at the last six months, how are you doing? If you’re seeing measurable progress, awesome! This is the perfect time to refine your focus. You figured out what doesn’t work, so cut that out right now. Devote that time into ramping up the things that are working for you, or testing out (and measuring) a couple of new things.
If you’re not growing the way you’d hoped, don’t panic. Figure out what you might need to start paying attention to so you can finish the year strong. 2016 is only halfway over, so there is still plenty of time to correct your course to success.
- Know your specific goal.
- Read about S.M.A.R.T. goals and get a free download here.
- Know your numbers
- Know your KPIs and how to track them
- Remember your “why”
Take all of this information and develop an action plan. Download my free “Big Project Planner” here. It’s a super awesome tool that helps you reverse engineer a big goal by breaking it down into small steps.
Here are some additional resources to get you going. And remember, every tiny step forward is progress!
- Crush your 2016 goals by Time Management Ninja
- How to get motivated by Creativemarket.com
- Plan with peace by Tara Gentile
- Review your business goals by Tara Gentile