Hip, hip hooray, it’s summer! What are your plans?
While some of my clients are taking a full month off to re-charge, re-coup and play, others are taking advantage of the slower months to double-down on their business building activities. I fall somewhere in-between – enjoying summer Fridays with the kiddos and a week off the grid at our favorite Maine lake cabin in August, but cranking on a re-branding and new programs in-between.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of work and play, summer’s a great time to get away from your day-to-day activities, get creative, and work ‘on’ your business, rather than ‘in’ it. Leave your computer at home, grab a pad and pencil and head to the beach, lake or park and try out these 3 business-boosting activities:
Entrepreneurs, particularly those of the creative persuasion, LOVE a new idea. In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve got a head full of million dollar ideas right now. It even has a name, “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome” (and don’t feel bad, we all suffer from it to some degree).
But here’s the thing, ideas without action mean nothing. So how do you get out from under the pile of ideas and make them happen? You make a mind map.
Grab your pad and pencil and get those ideas out of your head and onto paper. Here’s how:
- Write your name or business name at the center. As thoughts come to mind, draw branches from the central point and write them down (in as few words as possible). So for example, you might have design, art practice, marketing, new website, collaborations etc.
- Create sub-branches for additional thoughts/action items e.g. for the ‘new website’ arm, your sub-branches might include, call web designer for a quote, update web copy, edit images, create case studies, get new photos taken etc. Keep going until you everything on that subject out of your head.
- Once you have it out of your head and on paper, you can assign a number (based upon priority) to each branch. Here’s a tip: prioritize the actions based upon what will have the most impact on your business in the shortest time, not necessarily what you’d like to do first*. This allows you to focus on the most important things first and see them through to completion before moving on (or being distracted by) something else.
*For example, I’ve been wanting to re-do my website for years, but I realized my reasons were not because I thought it would dramatically improve my business, but because I wanted something new and fresh. This year, I made the decision to re-brand because my business demands it (more about that later!), so it’s now a priority.
I recently shared Cameron Herold’s ‘paint a picture exercise’. Borrowing from the highly effective visualization techniques used by top athletes, Cameron recommends all entrepreneurs try out this technique. And the best part, it’s most effective when you get away from your computer and get out into nature.
So grab a pad, a pencil and start writing your future. Here are some guidelines to get you started:
- What you do and why
What do you want your business to do for you? What do you want it to do for others? What’s your “why”?
- Who you work with
What kinds of clients do you work with? What are your programs or services? What problems do you solve? How do people benefit from working with you?
- Your services
What do your programs, packages or services entail? What problems do they solve?
How are you compensated for your services? How much do you make a year? How have you scaled your business, so it’s no longer hours for dollars? How much of that is passive income?
- Staff and collaborators
Who works with you? Do you have staff or collaborators? Do they work on-site or remotely? What kind of leader are you? What kind of culture have you created? What are your values?
How do people describe your communication style? Are you known for transparency, integrity, always over-delivering and on-time?
Are you considered an expert in your industry? Describe how you contribute; a monthly column in an industry magazine, on podcasts, or on TV. How do the media describe you?
Do you enjoy a balanced lifestyle? Do you spend quality time with friends and loved ones? What does that lifestyle look like?
- How you feel
How do you feel about your work and life? Describe a perfect day. What do you do, when? Who do you do it with?
3) Plan a field trip
As I type, texts are going back and forth between my accountability group, planning a get-together at my local outdoor pool. Because we love what we do, we can’t help but talk about business, but it’s in a completely different way. The change of scenery, sun and fresh air somehow loosen up the creative thought process that’s so important in a small business.
Invite a collaborator or your accountability group to join you for a day out and let the ideas flow!
And the best part about these exercises is you’ll have to plan THREE separate day trips (naturally) to do them. Why not pick one, try it out, and leave your comments below? I’d love to hear how you do!