So often this summer, I have run into working through this same entrepreneurs needing to talk about what makes me keep at it and ask if I ever get stuck. Like almost every business person, I have and do get stuck but I over time and over life learnt how get unstuck from this unspoken business phenomenon. I do so by take a step back to ask myself these 5 key questions:
Does my business have a compelling enough vision?
A compelling vision will make you get out of bed and be excited about what you are doing. My vision has evolved over time like my goals and objectives in over 12 years but at core it still revolves doing what I do best and in an interesting way.
My compelling vision is to provide unique products for my customers at moderate prices. If I get stuck doing this, I sit back, look at why I can’t do it and explore all avenues of how I can achieve it. It may force me to change how I get products, where I can find products and more importantly, take the necessary steps to change what I am doing.
Do your our habits help or hinder you?
My business habits determine my outcomes: positive or negative. So, in order to create change, I focus on replacing some of my habits with ones that help me to achieve my vision.
One big change I made this year was to say no to doing any festivals. I stopped doing them to make the time to build my business for sustainability and to be ready and focused for the turbulent business periods ahead. In understanding that the next couple of years would see more changes in retail, I have taken necessary steps to develop strategies to weather the coming storms.
Breaking a habit that isn’t serving your vision and replacing with one that will move your forward enables you work more effectively. It allows you to transform your life.
Are you focused on value in your business?
The real secret to my business is giving my customers value, thus they become repeat customers and that is a retailer’s bliss. I spent time tweaking and developing strategies through my product selection and creating greater opportunities for my customers to get what they want so I can be a value. One way was to add an additional day in my Harlem location for my customers to shop.
Do you focus on your weaknesses or strengths?
I know my strenghs and weakness well. I work on both but really do focus mostly on my strengths and even more so, the strengths of my business.
About two years ago, I sat back and assess what I was most successful doing and almost six years ago after a fire in my business, I really outlined what the business was successful at doing. One thing was clear, as a business, we made people feel special about the things they bought from us. Each of our customers spoke to us about what they loved or bought from us. So, in reopening the business, this was a key goal to achieve and it was imperative to bring this value to the store.
The mission is simple: master the things you do really well, the things that bring you joy, the things that create value for you and for others and growth will flourish.
Do you fill up your business time?
Some days, I do nothing but just think, sketch or stare outside or go for short walks at work. I have learned to do this as a business person to be more effective. These “therapy” breaks are about replenishment for my mind, body and soul.
The last two years, I made it a priority to plan my weekly time off first. I make sure I have time to work on my vision and time to recharge my energy. I take Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. These are my days of renewal. I do it because I deserve it.
Each of these five questions have enabled me get out of my rut and when I feel another unstuck period coming up, I actively practice these strategies to regroup and reground me. Business and life is demanding but it is essential that both do not bury you.