The question above might seem kind of silly. “Of course, I’m getting what I want out of my business—I’m getting paid, aren’t I?” you might reply. But bear with me. I’m talking about more than just money. And not getting what you want out of your business is an all-too-common problem. Maybe you started a business because you wanted more flexibility to work the hours you want, or you wanted to work from home, or be able to pick up your kids after school. But suddenly, you take on a couple big clients who want you on call 24/7, and while your bank account may be thriving, your spirit isn’t, because you’re run even more ragged than you were in the corporate world. Or maybe you began planning your company with one goal in mind—say, to open an organic bakery--but after listening to other people’s advice on how to get there, you’re pulled in so many directions that you’re not sure what your business model is anymore (Catering? Wholesaling? Retailing?). Here are some questions to ask yourself, both during the startup stage and regularly thereafter, to make sure your business is working for you:
- What do I want from my business financially? It’s a business, after all. Set monetary goals and know that if you want to build a multimillion-dollar company, your day-to-day is going to look a lot different than if you simply want to replace your income from a job. If your business isn’t reaching your goals, how can you get there?
- What do I want my business to be known for? Do you want to create a company that makes a difference in the community, is a great place to work, is honored for innovation, is high-tech or handmade and crafty? Choose a few goals that matter to you and stick to them.
- What do I want to do day-to-day in my business? A certain amount of grunt work is inevitable, especially in the startup phase, but too many entrepreneurs, in an effort to grow their companies, find themselves doing work they have no taste or talent for. How can you arrange things so you’re doing what you love most of the time?
- What does success look like in my life? Does success mean you’re jet-setting around the country leading a fast-paced, 24/7 lifestyle? Are you in demand as a conference speaker and featured on the cover of Inc. magazine? Are you working four hours a day in your pajamas? All these visions of success are equally valid; the key is to find one that resonates with you.
Once you’ve decided what you want, the harder part is figuring out how to get there. Fortunately, your SCORE Mentor can help. Don’t have a Mentor? Visit the SCORE website and get matched with one so you can get free business counseling 24/7.