How to Keep Your Business Current

Have your business and your life felt out of synch lately? What used to bring you joy may feel like swimming uphill now. You could just push ahead, but that would simply perpetuate the mismatch. Instead, consider proactively stopping and assessing to keep your business aligned with your own natural evolution.

Two areas I’d recommend looking at right now are your business evolution and your business systems.

If your business is healthy, it will naturally evolve over time by staying in synch with outer and inner factors. The growth of social media launched new marketing methods, and every industry has its own emerging trends. Your own personal transformation contributes the inner evolutionary factor.

Here are some traps to watch out for:

  1. Your target audience or the challenges you solve with them start to feel routine. It can be tempting to let your business drift, but if you’re not excited about your work, your clients won’t be either. Schedule an hour to envision what’s needed to realign your work with what you’re passionate about now.
  2. You’ve gotten too comfortable depending on just one or two familiar marketing methods. I’ve had several clients call when businesses that had been successful for decades took a steep decline as their word-of-mouth dried up. Ultimately we got things back on track by creating a full set of marketing approaches, but you can save a lot of stress by evolving your strategies as the outer environment changes.

Another key area to assess at year end is your business systems, which are often neglected and taken for granted. Your systems are inseparable from your business evolution because you can’t break new ground if you’re held back by “time creep” from inefficient or missing systems.

Here are a few indications that your business systems need updating:

  1. You’re spending a lot of time solving miscommunication issues with clients because they have unrealistic expectations. One client came to me struggling with long hours and burnout from unrealistic expectations and project scope creep. She felt she didn’t have time to sit down and standardize her client orientation process, but once she realized the number of hours she spend handling misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations, she was happy to invest the time up front and now enjoys many less unbillable hours.
  2. An employee is underperforming, but you avoid having a corrective conversation because you don’t know how to proceed. It is much easier to set policies beforehand and then orient new hires to what’s expected in their responsibilities and performance reviews. If you don’t have a new employee orientation process, a welcoming document that highlights your vision, mission and values as well as roles and responsibilities is any easy way to start.

Other areas to assess include your financial health, client relations, work environment, and collaborative partnerships.

What’s the health of your business right now?