As a small business owner, it is true that every minute of your time can be either an opportunity cost or an opportunity gain to your business. However, every entrepreneur I have consulted with has eventually come to the realization that spending time working on the business is time well spent. It takes time to get there, but once there, it’s like you’ve programmed the GPS of your business to take you to your successes.
Mapping out your path to success is not only important, but it gives a clear vision of what you, as an entrepreneur, should be working on with your time. It is unfortunate to see smart and very talented individuals, with all the experience in the world, get stuck when small obstacles get in the way. It’s like “being in an abyss of not knowing where the next deal will come from,” says Karina Sanchez. Karina is in sales, and since the downturn of the economy, she has struggled to make ends meet. She is launching a new business and would like to ensure she is “mapping” it out right this time. She is currently enrolled in the WBDC’s Spanish FastTrack workshop.
Karina is not alone. Many entrepreneurs who walk through the doors of the WBDC feel this constant pressure. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t panic, instead try to change it. Although being in the dark and not knowing where you are headed is common ground for many small business entrepreneurs, it does not have to be that way.
It is imperative to start measuring your business goals. What gets measured usually gets done. You should know where your business was a year ago and where you are currently. Then start adjusting a business plan that works for your business, especially securing in detail how you will go after business and what you will be doing to prospect new leads. Once you start mapping out your success, you will be able to challenge yourself to attain those goals. Remember to record your progress as you go. Without a plan there is no goal, and without a goal there is no success. The trick is to keep tracking – this will help you gage your progress and stay abreast of where your time has been spent.
Once you have a clear vision, you will not only have a better handle of the business but you will have the confidence to eliminate spending time on unnecessary projects or obstacles that cross your path; you will never have to feel lost. Finally, as we always say here at the WBDC, “If you don’t have a plan for your business, you have planned to fail.” Remember that your time is money, and it’s well spent if you work on planning your business.
Maria Lopez is Director of Latina Programs at the Women’s Business Development Center.