One of the biggest dangers for any business is to be too focused on the day-to-day activities (working IN the business) and not thinking about the big-picture, long-term strategy (working ON the business). Below are tips that you can use to ensure you’re working ON the business.
1. Hold yourself accountable by creating a roadmap that has clear and measurable goals (SMART goals) with milestones and targets that you can continually evaluate progress against.
2. Create a dashboard that shows all of the key business drivers that impact your business and keep it front and center – perhaps make it your screensaver (sorry dogs and kids) or a document that you review daily. This should also include benchmarks so you view changes (both positive and negative) over time.
3. Create an advisory board that you commit to reporting to on a quarterly basis. During each meeting, work with them to review your achievement of the SMART goals that you’ve already identified along with the dashboard measures that you use to analyze progress. This should be comprised of respected colleagues who are familiar with your industry and who are also honest and forthright enough to hold you accountable.
4. Conduct an annual business assessment. You can do this internally, with your board, or by hiring an outside expert who will give you a clear and objective view of your business to ensure you stay on track.
5. Join a CEO group and commit to attending it regularly and consistently.
6. Conduct an annual survey to ensure you’re benchmarking your performance each year and measuring positive progress as well as areas where you’ve fallen short of your target.
7. Create incentives to celebrate with your team when benchmarks are met.
8. Great ideas and growth come from all members of your team and should be openly praised, acknowledged and rewarded. If getting your team involved is an option… then allow them to work with you to grow your company.
Weekly Lesson Eight (Try this…)
Using the checklist above as a guide, write down two action steps that you can take to ensure you are working ON the business and not IN it.
Published by Beth Goldstein, Edge Institute
While I am currently pursuing my doctorate in education at Johns Hopkins University (part-time), I remain passionate about helping small business owners and entrepreneurs accelerate growth. I founded my consulting firm, Marketing Edge Consulting Group, in 1999 and established the company's training division, Edge Institute, in 2013 with a focus on helping small business owners, executives, students and entrepreneurs better understand how their key stakeholders think, what they value and what influences their purchasing decisions. I then show them how to apply this knowledge to create targeted business growth programs that drive revenue growth while increasing profitability and customer loyalty.
I teach entrepreneurship and marketing courses at Babson College. Previously I taught marketing courses at the Heller School for Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University. I also spent 13+ years at the Boston University Questrom School of Business where I taught entrepreneurial sales & marketing courses, ran their New Venture Competition for ten years and served as the Faculty Director for the university’s top ranked Online Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship Program from 2005 to 2014.
I have conducted business growth workshops throughout the US for organizations ranging from publicly funded groups like the MA Supplier Diversity Office to Fortune 500 companies like Fidelity Investments and Carrier Corporation. I served as the Lead Instructor for Interise’s nationwide training program, run in conjunction with the US SBA: Small Business Association's Emerging Leaders (e200) Initiative, providing training to hundreds of business owners throughout the U.S. I was also the Managing Director for the BU Urban Business Accelerator Program, an educational program that brought students to economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Boston with the goal of improving financial capacity & business.
For Babson Global, I was on a 3-person MBA design team that created an innovative MBA program for the Mohammad Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Saudi Arabia. I also led the design teams for the Masters in Entrepreneurial Leadership and the 4-year undergraduate marketing degree.
I specialize in custom-designing classroom and online business growth training programs ranging from 1/2 day workshops to intensive 9-month programs for a companies as well as government agencies and organizations. I have taught in the U.S. and abroad including: China, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
I have more than 30 years of direct industry experience and hold an MBA from Boston University and a BA in Economics and Sociology from Brandeis University. I am currently pursuing my doctorate in education at Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
View all posts by Beth Goldstein, Edge Institute