As a business owner – whether you are a solopreneur, rocking a side gig, or have built a small business – you wear many hats. The ultimate responsibility for the success of your business, down to the tiniest detail, is yours.
An online business, like any business, involves many moving parts. Owning a business is similar to owning a car. Take a look at the maintenance requirements for the first year of your car's life (from The Balance.com):
Monthly (or More Often) Maintenance Tasks
- Check the tire pressure
- Check the oil level (high-mileage oil is recommended)
- Check the coolant level
- Clean the backup camera lens
Every 3,000 Miles Maintenance Tasks
- Change the oil and replace the oil filter
- Check the washer fluid level
- Add fuel injector cleaner to fuel
Every Six Months Maintenance
- Check the power steering fluid level
- Wax the car to extend the life of the paint and to prevent rust
Every 5,000 Miles Maintenance
Adjust the clutch if a manual transmission (some are self-adjusting)
Every 10,000 Miles Maintenance
- Inspect the belts
- Rotate the tires
Maintenance to Perform Every Year for Your High-Mileage Vehicle
- Inspect the brakes
- Inspect the hoses and clamps
- Clean the battery connections
- Check the brake fluid level
- Check the manual transmission fluid
- Check the coolant strength
- Back-flush the radiator from the engine side with a garden hose
- Rinse off the air conditioner condenser
- Buff the plastic headlight assembly, if dull, to maintain good visibility.
Every 30,000 Miles Maintenance
- Replace the spark plugs. Some are designed to last up to 100,000 miles, so check to see what kind you have and when it will be due.
- Replace the distributor cap and rotor (if applicable)
- Inspect the spark plug wires (if applicable)
- Change the transmission fluid
- Replace the oxygen sensors (for vehicles manufactured late 1970's to early 1990's)
- Inspect the shocks for leaks and perform bounce test
- Replace the PCV valve
- Clean the throttle body
So many different systems to check and maintain. Thankfully, your dealership or mechanic will take care of all of those items, you just have to remember to schedule the maintenance.
In your business, you are the mechanic and all the systems checks are your responsibility. Is your business to be a sleek, fast, sports car that speeds by the competition? Or is it the clunker in the driveway, hood up, tires replaced by cinder blocks, and parts strewn on the ground?
If you want your business to run like a sleek sports car, you need to periodically devote some time to inspecting your systems, replacing broken parts, and cleaning up your processes.
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My new blog series, The Business Tune-Up (or how to Get Your Ducks in a Row) will address some of the areas you need to periodically inspect:
Active Goal Setting
Business Plan Review
Social Media Audit
Part ONE: Success Mindset
Success is a product of many things: a great idea, hard work, perseverance, maybe even a little luck. But the most important ingredient to your success is your own mindset.
Before you can tune-up your business, you need to make sure you have the right mindset.
MINDSET ONE: EXPECTATION
I read an article recently by Norman Vincent Peale about hope. In the article he differentiates wishing and hoping:
"When you hope-really hope- than a magic ingredient comes into play. That ingredient is expectancy. Expectancy says, "this desired outcome can happen. I think it's going to happen. Right now it may be just a dream, but it's a realizable dream." When you start hoping instead of just wishing, then expectations is stirring in you.”
Consider how our expectations inform how we perceive the world around us. Our expectations provide a reference for evaluating the outcome. For example, you prepare a presentation proposing new productivity methods for your department. You schedule a meeting and get to work formulating the presentation. You work hard to make sure your slides are correct, your numbers are accurate, and you prepare for every question you can imagine. One of two scenarios will play out:
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You arrive at the meeting expecting your presentation will not be received well. You know some of your coworkers will be skeptical. You know your supervisor won't budge from how she operates. You wonder why you even bothered to suggest the meeting and work on the presentation. Sure enough, the doubters doubt and your supervisor digs her heels in, resisting change.
You arrive at the meeting confident that you can persuade the doubters of the benefits of your suggestions. Once the doubters begin to believe you know you will be able to persuade your supervisor to give a few of the suggestions a trial run.
It is not hard to guess which presentation was well received and which was a disaster.
Expectation plays a huge role in your business. The challenge is knowing what you truly expect. Pay attention to your inner voice – are you truly hoping for the perfect customer to find your business? Or are doubt and fear wiggling into your conscience?
MINDSET TWO: YOU ARE A BUSINESS OWNER
Do you have a hobby or a business?
Does it make a difference? Yes, it does. A hobby is defined as “an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure.”
If your business is a hobby, your focus is enjoyment, pleasure, personal satisfaction, maybe some extra income.
A business is defined as a regular occupation or profession. When your goal is to make a living, you have a business.
Business owners and hobbyists have different routines, priorities, and mindsets.
If you want a business you need to think like a business owner and you need to treat your business like a business.
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5 Traits of a Business Owner Mindset:
- Responsible: You are responsible for ALL decisions.. and the consequences of those decisions, both good and bad. There is no one to pass blame to if things go wrong. Business owners must act decisively, taking advantage of opportunities when they appear. The up side of responsibility – you reap the rewards of success.
- Goal Oriented: Pursuing both long term and short term goals are paramount to the success of your business.
- Visionary: A business owner has the ability to see how decisions made today may impact future decisions. To be visionary you need to be able to see many steps down the road, envision potential obstacles, and how decisions made now may play out. There is always an element of uncertainty. Success comes when you can accept the risks and move forward.
- Student: What you know today may be enough to meet your short term goals. But what you know today won’t be enough to meet challenges in the future which may be as soon as next week. Consider SEO, when Google changes its algorithms you need to learn what to change in your SEO strategy. Keep learning!
- Positive: You know the saying, ‘you are what you eat’? You feed your body junk, your body will have a junk performance. Your mind responds the same way. Watch what you feed your mind. Limit the time you spend listening to negative news. Read inspiring and thought provoking books. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and limit your exposure to naysayers and ‘negative Nellies’.
MINDSET THREE: Be YOU
Your perfect clients will respond to your business because of the unique qualities that your business offers. What makes your business unique? YOU
Don’t be afraid to insert your personality into your business. People can spot a fraud instantly. When you try to emulate someone else because they have the success you desire, you are hurting your business.
If you are in a crowded industry, you have to stand out from the competition. What is unique about what you offer? What do you do that will make your customers come back again and again? The answer may be as simple as YOU.
4 Questions to Discover Your Uniqueness
- What experiences changed your world view? Think about the trajectory of your life and when you shifted your path. What happened to make you change your direction?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of? What did you do that you never thought you could do? Complete an Iron Man race? Climb a mountain? Learn to make pasta? Win a spelling bee? Change a habit that was holding you back?
- What stories do your friends and families tell about you? You know, the story that always comes up when your friends are together? Or the one you mother always tells people. Why is that story repeated? What is unique about that story? What personality traits do those stories demonstrate?
- What are you an expert at doing that doesn’t have anything to do with your business? What do people call you about for advice or ask for your help with?
Share your uniqueness. Include personal stories in your blog, share fun facts about your life on your “About Me” page, show off your personality on social media. If people don’t like it, they aren’t your perfect customer. BUT, the people who do like and appreciate your distinctive qualities will be loyal customers.
You need to be YOU.
Don’t forget to download Daily Affirmations for Success:
Next up: Website Audit