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The truism is always ask a busy person if you want something done. When you are looking at starting your own business the real question you should ask yourself is ‘why am I doing this?’ Use this to establish clear goals that you feel really passionately about achieving.
Once you have clear goals then you will find the time to do what needs to be done. It is amazing how many things you do that aren’t so important if you need to use the time to build a new life and an income.
Get in touch with me for a chat about your new future and how I can support you in achieving it.

Silicon Bullet Forever

I often meet people who are really keen to join Forever Living, but just don’t consider that they have enough time to start a new business.  You might be unemployed and looking for a job, you might be in a job already which demands long hours and doesn’t give much respite, or maybe you have lots of hobbies which take up your time. Whatever it is, you are a busy person and you don’t have any ‘free’ time.  Whatever you are doing you will be filling all of the time available with something (there is no such thing as free time)  – the trick is in deciding if there is anything you are currently doing that you could reduce or replace with your new business.

My story is that I already run a successful IT business with my husband, which has been our primary source of household income since 2000…

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The best and worst thing about running a home based business is the fact that you are your own boss. This means that you need to make sure that you are doing what is needed to get your business to grow – no one else is going to do it for you, or take you to task if things are not going as planned.

There are, however, a number of things you can do to help you, especially in the early days when you will most likely be doing a lot of work without a lot of income coming in.

Vision and Goals

If you are going to make a success of the business you need to be very clear why you are doing it. Is it to achieve a certain level of income a month, pay for a holiday, clear your debts, buy a car or house that you have always wanted. Time spent creating a clear vision of what you want to achieve will make your business stronger.

It is important to create a really big vision that excites you and make you want to bounce out of bed in the morning – and then put smaller goals, or milestones, into your vision so you have a way of checking how you are progressing.

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For me my goal is to get my income up to and past the level it was when I was working as an Assistant Director, but rather than picturing money I am picturing the things it will give me – a canal barge, a new car, holidays, visiting my daughter in whichever country she is working in at least twice a year, able to pay for lovely presents for my extended family.

The key word here is picture the clearer you can see, smell, hear, taste and touch your vision when you think about it the stronger it will be. You must also think about the vision in the present tense – as something that has already happened and is already here, not as something that is in the future or you will never get there. This is not an easy thing to do, and it is easy to get weighed down by doubts, but do it every day and your ‘vision muscle’ will get stronger and so will your belief. Then whenever things don’t go exactly to plan – and they won’t sometimes – you are able to get through it by remembering the end you have planned.

Goals, or milestones, are the stages along the way. It is important to always celebrate achieving them and take time to enjoy this as building a business takes time and you need to enjoy yourself on the way or you won’t have the energy to continue.

Touch your business every day

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao-tzuThe Way of Lao-tzuChinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

You should do something to move your business on every day – as the only sure thing is that a business that is not worked on will not grow but die. The actions should be ones that actively develop the business, not just the administration jobs that can make you feel busy but not move the business on. For direct marketing this means contact with a prospective team member or customer as anything else is not developing the business.

This is not to say that you should never stop working the business – as it is also important to look after yourself and take time out, but, especially in the early days, you need to keep the momentum and excitement going.

Plan 

The final point I want to make in this post is that you need to plan and map out your actions and write them down – yearly, monthly and weekly. This is so that you can check back to see how you have done, and review which things have worked and which ones have not. This is why I am posting now at the end of 2013 as this is the ideal time to spend some time thinking about your business and how you want it to grow in 2014.

BUT you must be flexible and respond to feedback or opportunities as being too inflexible will limit the opportunities to grow and develop your business.  Talk to any business  owner who has been in business for more than a year and, while they may have achieved the goals they set themselves, the way they got there is likely to have been different to how they planned it at the beginning of the year. Be open to new ideas and ways of working – but don’t go after every new idea, only the ones that fit in with the vision you have set yourself. You may change the goals, as they may become less relevant to the way your business is developing.

The Arts Council England (ACE) have published this document on the 13th September 2011. It is intended to demonstrate how the strategic responsibility they are taking on for museums and libraries from October 2011 fits with their existing strategic framework ‘Achieving great art for everyone‘.

I have found it an interesting read, especially in relation to my role as Black Country Library Services Project Manager. I can see a lot of synergies in what I am trying to achieve with the ambitions for the sector as set out in this document. I am looking forward to seeing how this develops.

In particular I think the long-term goals for libraries and museums they list will be a useful reference point as library and museum services develop and change over the coming years (especially when difficult situations are being faced):

Goal 1: Excellence is thriving and celebrated in museums and libraries
Goal 2: More people experience and are inspired by museums and libraries
Goal 3: Museums and libraries are sustainable, resilient and innovative for everyone today and looking forward
Goal 4: The leadership and workforce in museums and libraries are diverse and highly skilled.
Goal 5: Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of museums and libraries.
There are some particularly useful statements that I am sure I will see quoted in a number of key strategic documents in the future.

What has been particularly useful, as far as I am concerned, is the literature review that has been done to support this document. I have not seen this kind of review on library evidence in the past. The literature review clearly shows where ACE has found gaps in evidence and what they are planning to do to fill these gaps.

I wait to see with interest what colleagues in libraries think of their proposals, especially the idea of a one day census of library use.

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