Every business owner faces the challenge of growing and improving their business in amongst the mayhem of actually getting all of their work done! Me included. A few years back I found a sure-fire way to keep moving forward. It was one simple question.
Every week, on a Friday (normally around 10am), I ask myself a simple question:
“How have I made my business better this week than it was last week?”
As simple as it sounds, this question is a powerful part of a bigger philosophy known as CANI, which stands for Constant And Never-ending Improvement. It is my weekly check in, my own form of accountability and my ‘serious’ conversation with myself.
Some weeks, I definitely move forward in a great way, other weeks the plates are just spinning. But at least I’m checking in and asking the hard question and I know that I’m going to be asking it again next week, so I’d better have a good answer.
Any business that is constantly trying to get better at what it does is way ahead of the pack when it comes to being successful.
Businesses that are being driven by a passionate and enthusiastic business owner have an energetic feel about them. There is always something new and exciting going on and as a customer, it is good to be a part of this.
So how does a business constantly improve?
There are so many ways I almost don’t know where to start. For example:
- We can improve the way we communicate with our clients.
- We can make it easier for people to buy from us.
- We can keep working on the appearance of our business (if we have premises) ensuring it is always clean, tidy, fresh and modern.
- We can audit out digital footprint – website, social media, emails, documents – to ensure they are professional and consistent.
- We can train our staff, or ourselves, better, and we can keep our product knowledge up-to-date.
- Most importantly, we need to have an open mind and look for new and better ways to run our business.
When you are committed to constant and never-ending business improvement it really does show. Customers are more likely to come to you with ideas to improve your business because clearly you care. Suppliers note this attitude and are more likely to want to help you grow your business. Competitors will respect you.
It all starts with you
The most important thing that needs constant and never ending improvement is us, the business owner. As business owners, we need to learn new skills, to look for ways to do what we do as individuals ever better, to research our industry and be a leader in this industry, to read and broaden our knowledge on a range of subjects that will help our businesses to grow, to be trained in ways that make us better leaders, and to always be open-minded enough to find new ways of doing things.
With this learning and improvement comes an open minded attitude that is a key to success. Any business that is too rigid, too lazy, or too bored to change will not survive. Committing to constant and never-ending improvement adds an air of passion and excitement which is the fuel that sets a business apart and in my opinion guarantees that it will succeed in a spectacular way.
Just because our business is small doesn’t mean we have to think little. This is so important for all businesses, but especially so for soloists. What business improvement can you make this week?