What’s Inside Your Stocking?

Every year, in fact – every month, I have some formal “airplane time” set aside for putting thought into where my business is, where it’s going and what adjustments it needs to zig-zag its way to where it belongs.

Ultimately all of that relates to where it leads you, how it changes your business and hopefully, your life.

Since preparations for an all-out-assault on the in-laws’ place are in their final hours, stocking stuffers came to mind.

Stocking stuffers for your business, that is.

Stuffers at all levels

When I sit down for one of these sessions, the proper mix of present, past and future is always on my mind.

On top of that stocking is the a gift from the past. If you think back, you’ve had failures. Forget ’em. Dwelling over them is a waste of time and it’s wrong kind of self-talk. At the same time, you learned lessons. Never forget those. Leverage them. They’re a gift if you learn from them.

Which of these lessons are possible to repeat? Whatever they are, put systems in place to help you prevent them from ever happening again, just like the systems you have in place to manage and organize the rest of your business.

What have you learned from the systems of your business’ past?

Digging deeper

A little further down in your stocking is a gift from the present – What your business is doing today.

Look hard at your existing revenues and where they come from. What areas can have layers (or ladders) added? Which areas can be transformed into recurring revenue? Of the customers you have, what needs do they have that you aren’t serving? What can you do to build a stronger foundation, infrastructure for your business today that will serve your customers better?

If you have staff, are they creating enough value to make it easy to keep them on the job? If not – it’s your job to fix that. If you haven’t created work for them that generates profit (directly or indirectly), find some even if it requires training them to improve their value to you and to their family.

Stability today is what gives you the ability to think clearly, breathe and create the business you had in mind when you started. These steps are what help you get there. Every day, work on one of them. Pick the one that can impact your business the most and knock it out.

At the very bottom

Dig deep into your stocking. At the very bottom you’ll find a permission slip. That’s your gift from the future.

It’s there to grant you serious time for thought, one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Choose an afternoon or a morning, whatever works best for you. Rather than spending time in the present, take an hour to look far enough into the future to see the business in its ideal state.

If it was hitting on all cylinders, what would it look like? What kind of customers would line up to do business there? What would you know about their needs and wants? What products and services would your business offer? Think abou every single aspect of that “perfect” business. What makes it resilient? What kind of innovation fuels its growth?

What would your staff’s experience include? Would you even have a staff?

Layers

In this “perfect” state, what would your involvement be? You might be so excited to get to work each day that you can’t sleep past five a.m. Or you might stop by the business once a week if you feel like it. Whatever seems right for you.

With those things in hand, work backwards from that ideal state to today, layer by layer, year by year, month by month. With each step, ask yourself what it would take to make each aspect of this future vision happen.

Work your way back to today. Those layers…they’re the 10,000 foot view of your plan. When you’ve worked your way back to today, you’re ready.

The next step is to work the plan that gets you to that desired state.

First, you’ve got to come up with it. You have half a day. Go.