It’s a slow summer day in my wine store, as it usually as my clients spend their summers elsewhere, so I cranked up some Husker Du, an amazing post punk band that may or may not be appropriate for a wine store playlist. Nonetheless, Bob Mould is there singing about walking around with your head in the clouds and it made me wonder : do we as small business owners walk around with our head in the clouds. Do we not always see a broad picture because we’re so caught up in the minutia of running a day to day business? Probably. So what to do about it?
It is hard to step back and take a big picture view of your business because there are always so many things that keep you focused on the little things. As a small business owner you have to rise above it and always be looking three steps ahead. There are some simple ways to achieve this that are probably already at your disposal.
Time management. Yeah, yeah, you hear this one all the time but that’s not wholly what i mean. During a typical day you are probably pulled in so many directions and if you do retail it’s very hard to have a time structured day; but what you can do is designate a very specific window for broad goal planning. Since we don’t open our doors until 11 I am always in early and try to use at least two mornings a week to do strategic thinking, away from any short term issues. It’s up to you to find the space but make sure that it’s dedicated to this mission. There are other times for other tasks. This will allow you to incorporate these longer term plans into the day to day in a more organic way while still allowing for deadlines and goals.
2. Delegate. This is still one of the hardest things for many small business owners to do and I understand why: this is your vision and your business so you feel that only you can execute your plans properly. Wrong! What you can do is make good hires with the understanding that a good hire can help you make your vision a reality. Your challenge is to “sell” them your plan and to communicate what you need and expect from them in a way that will allow them to help you (which is basically why you hired them). A good hire can make you look like a genius and can also make things happen much quicker than doing it on your own.
3. Break It Down. You’ve figured out your next strategic step now you have to figure out how to get it done. Take the extra time to map it out, put it into definable sections and then begin to execute. See #2 as to having your hires help you realize the plan. Again, communication is important, as you explain the whole project let them take responsibility for what they excel in and run with it.
4. Listen. We all know you’re the visionary but sometimes other people have good and even great ideas. It won’t take anything away from your goal to take suggestions. People see the same things in different ways, maybe their way can make your way even better.
Being able to “remove” yourself, listen and delegate can dramatically help you move your business forward and it won’t cost a thing. Listening to Husker Du apparently doesn’t hurt.