17 Sep 2012

September Means Back to Business for Entrepreneurs

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It’s September, which equals cooler days (hopefully), longer nights and back to school! If you’ve long since graduated, September can also be a great time to get back into your business. A long, hot summer can often mean spending time with family, taking vacations and putting your brand on cruise control. But now that we’re heading into the fourth quarter, it’s time to dust of those annual goals and make the homestretch of 2012 productive and profitable.

The best way to get the most out of the next three months is to be your own professor and make a clear syllabus with milestones, expectations, and an evaluation process. Here’s what your syllabus should have:

  • SMART short-term goals. A good goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For instance: Drive 1,000 unique impressions (measured by Google Analytics) to my website by December 31, 2012. Create at least 5 goals that you’re looking to attain by the end of the year.
  • Tactical calendar. There are lots of steps that need to be taken before you can reach a goal. Just like assignments leading up to a midterm, it’s important to lay out your path to success. If your goal is to drive website traffic, your calendar might contain items like weekly blog updates, monthly e-mail newsletters and daily Facebook posts.
  • Office hours. Another great way to stay productive is to schedule regular meetings with your staff to stay on top of deadlines and projects. If you don’t have an in-house team, schedule time with mentors, coaches or colleagues who can help keep you accountable.  The key to success here is honoring the schedule!  I love the relaxation of my summer schedule, but come Fall, it’s imperative that I set firm hours for business, and honor them.
  • Required reading. As a business owner, it’s important to stay on top of current industry trends, as well as keeping inspired and engaged. Reading relevant blogs, magazines and books should all be a part of your schedule, a gift of time you give to yourself that will reap many rewards. My interests are varied, which means I’ve usually got my hand on three or four things at a time.  A recent favorite is The Business Coach by Bradley J. Sugars – a quick how-to with a lot of great ideas for managing your business effectively.  Do you have a favorite source of inspiration? Please share it with me in the comments.
  • Evaluation. In school you get a grade, so it’s easy to know how you’ve performed. As a business owner, it can often be more difficult to assess your success. Use your analytic tools, customer feedback and SMART goals to determine how well you perform and where you need improvement. Be honest with yourself and next semester will be even better!

What’s on your business syllabus this semester? Share your thoughts on how you stay productive and profitable all year long!

photo credit: davidsilver via photo pin cc


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