One of the most challenging aspects of owning your own business can be reflecting on it. Some may call this strategic planning. As an entrepreneur, the one thing you will find is that it is much easier to look at someone else’s company and identify all those things they could be doing better or just differently, then it is to identify the things in your own business.
But when you’re living the day-to-day, it is more difficult to step back and pull apart what you’ve worked so hard to achieve and make it better. So what are some cost-effective ways to reflect upon your business?
1. Hire a Coach. Athletes have them, so why can’t entrepreneurs? There are many out there. One of our favorites is Inner Circle Mid-Atlantic. It’s led by Paul Riecks and is an intimate setting with peers helping you grow your business and stay on track.
2. Join an Organization. The National Association of Women Business Owners provides Mastermind groups as part of membership. Mastermind is made up of other members and is like having an ad hoc advisory board for your company.
3. Talk to Trusted Advisors. Friends, family, peers — put together a group of trusted people that you can meet with and discuss issues much like if you had a board of directors. The issues you discuss may simply relate to a new marketing piece or a target market you are thinking of persuing.
4. Offer Up Your Company to a Class. Early on in Vircity’s development, a Towson University public relations class was looking for real businesses to work with. We submitted our information and were selected to take part in the students’ final project. The students met with us and put together a recommended PR strategy and turned over a binder full of research and information. It was an academic perspective on our business but still a different perspective.
5. Teach a Class. If you have the availability and qualifications, consider reaching out to a local college or university and engage them in the possibility of using you as a speaker. Nothing will stimulate you more to spend time reflecting on your business than thinking about 40 pairs of eyes staring at you for your knowledge and experience.
Bill and I began instructing Entrepreneurship at Notre Dame of Maryland University and nothing has been more beneficial for our businesses. Frankly, we’re not sure who has learned more — the students or us. We have learned the true value of what a business plan can do for your company.
The bottom line is, make time to reflect on your business. You and your business will be more valuable because of it.