Do You Feel Like You’re Just Treading Water in Your Business?

Too often small business owners have a great idea, and are great at what they do, but don’t know how to take their business to the next level. This article can’t possibly tell you everything that you need to do to get to that next level, but we can tell you where to start!

You start with your vision. In ten years, how do you envision yourself spending your time? If you’re currently in your twenties, you may see yourself running a full-service dog facility with a staff, a spouse and 2 kids. If you’re currently in your late forties, you may see yourself phasing out of the dog training field – no classes, and privates for your specialty, only; and charging a great deal of money because you are recognized as an expert in this specialty. Or, you may want to stay small, doing one or two classes a week and a few privates, taking vacations when you want. As some anonymous wise man once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” It really doesn’t matter what you want, as long as you KNOW what you want.

This vision is your primary aim; it’s why you’re in business at all – so you can achieve the lifestyle you want. To determine your primary aim, you have to do some soul searching. You have to articulate and then put in writing the things you don’t want in life, and the things you do want. You have to identify the barriers that are preventing you from having those things you do want. These barriers may be external, physical barriers (like limited income); they may be internal, emotional barriers (such as low self-esteem); or, they may simply be counter-productive habits you’ve developed (like poor time management).

Take the time to actually write down the vision you have for your future and how you want to be perceived by others; what do you want people to say about you when you’re not around. Once you’ve articulated your vision, boil it down to its essence and write it out in two-to-three sentences. This vision should go in your business plan – it should be something you refer to often (monthly). Keep it in mind and always be working toward that vision. If you find yourself being sidetracked (which you will!), having that written vision will help bring you back on track; or, it may be that you need to revise your vision, and that’s ok – as long as you have a vision that is at the core of what you want.

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