By Cara Herrin

Starting a business is a daunting task.  You know what you want to accomplish.  But, defining it and implementing steps to reach your goal can be difficult.  Meeting with clients is one aspect of my job that I enjoy immensely.  Learning about a new concept or industry energizes my soul. Very often, I find that many of my clients can articulately describe their business but neglect a clear strategy and vision to define themselves.  The following are tried and true methods for cultivating a confident business strategy you can count on.

  1. DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.
    As the business owner, you are the business.  Make a note of your core values.  Then, make those core values highly visible and stick to them.  Clearly list your innate gifts, the areas of your business you enjoy, and where you excel.  Likewise, list your weak areas, and those you find uncomfortable or that don’t come naturally.  Using this information, you can accurately assess your position and fill in those areas where you need support with valuable team members who compliment your assets.  Do not waste time or energy with specific matters that drain your talent and energy.
  2. SET GOALS FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
    I recommend setting up 6-month, 12-month, 2-year and 5-year goals.  Let your mind soar in the realm of possibilities, including those from simplistic to extravagant. Then prioritize those goals within each time frame.  Refer to that list weekly and move forward.
  3. LISTEN.
    It is important to know your business. But, it can be even more important to see how others view your business.  At times, I find owners are so close to their business that they neglect to discover how others perceive it.  Ask questions.  Surveying current clients can help define areas of strength as well as provide you with recommendations on improvements. This will streamline the business.  Make changes where necessary and determine if they align with the values established in Step 1.
  4. REPEAT.
    Consistently reflect on the above steps.  Ensure that you stay on track with your goals and values.  You may find that your business model moves in a different direction.  However, being successful requires agility, pragmatism, and the ability to navigate hurdles.
    A confident business strategy develops when you know who you are, rely on your innate skills, and surround yourself those who compliment your abilities.  Finally, make sure that you enjoy what you do.  Isn’t that why you started your own business?  If not, refer to step one and begin again.  It’s never too late.