Small business owners often shoot from the hip, do what others will not do and sometimes attempt to accomplish monumental tasks in small amounts of time with limited resources. I respect the ambition. We have things like the telephone, the car, the ipod because of this frontiersman like ambition. But there is a process to everything.
As John Mariotti says in, “You Can’t Rush The Harvest:”
“After the right steps are taken the crop grows and matures.”
While he was talking about government programs, spending and job creation, it holds true for business development. So, instead of diving in head first, take a few strategy steps first.
Here are two areas to consider: Niches and Productivity.
Niche It And Make It Stick
In “How To Find A Market Niche That Makes Money” Ivana Taylor says:
“It’s counterintuitive to think that by focusing on a smaller market you will actually make more money, but it’s true.”
Niches give you a chance to focus on a target market. That focus means you can truly know your entire market and create solutions that resonate with them. Instead of having an “every man” product, you can effectively create the “go to” solution for your niche.
Focus is powerful. The problem is small businesses are often slow to accept the power of niches and choose to serve everybody. Well, Walmart type companies have everybody covered, you can afford to niche and take care of specific markets.
Lean, Mean Productivity
We are not factories, but productivity matters to us just like any other company. Are you getting the best bang for your buck? Are you making the most of the time that you pay for? How much are you getting done?
Even if it’s a one man or one woman business, you still want to know that your tools, your independent contractors, your late night efforts are saving you time and making you money. You want to know that it’s worth it. And there’s only one way to know.
In “Pride And Productivity: A Win Win Combination,” John Mariotti says, “If you want productivity to be good—and get better—then measure it and manage it.” You have to track your efforts. And you have to manage the work.
For businesses with employees, managers are important. That’s their role. They need to understand the business, the team and the company goals. Then they are responsible for inspiring, informing and managing the outcome.
For solopreneurs you have to manage yourself. And that means tracking your efforts. I suggest a time sheet that documents how many hours you spend on each task and the end results. This way you can see if you truly save money by designing your own website, being your own bookkeeper, and developing your own marketing strategy without the support of an experienced team.
I use an app to measure my activity (so that I can track it in my phone—iTimesheet). And it has been an eye opener. This data helps me understand which activities cost the most and make the most.
Remember, the cost of time always counts.
Niche Photo via Shutterstock