When running a business one asks themselves "How do I take this business to the next level?" You even hope for a checklist or template that you can use to make this happen.
Unfortunately, there is no template or universal to-do list for every business. However, there are some things that every business needs right away; a business bank account, a way to track income and expenses, a dedicated workspace, and the more obvious things like a registered business name, etc. I would recommend that each business owner have their unique checklist and set to tackle them one by one.
Many magazines and blogs suggest tools and tactics that are intended to grow and improve operations or profitability. But until you fix the "messes" you are spending time and money in the wrong places.
Problems slow you down.
As your business grows, often your "messes" grow along with it if you don't fix them. If that happens then you could be drowning in work and unable to do a good job since you are well beyond the point where systems and ad hoc fixes can assist you.
Some examples of messes that escalate as businesses grow:
A. Your email inbox. If your business is taking off the volume of your inbox is going to grow too. So take the time now and figure out a system to manage your inbox now.
B. Your contact list. You have business cards, a Gmail account, a business email address, and lots of LinkedIn and Facebook Contacts. Right now you may sort of remember where to go to find a given contact, but as your contact list grows with more information given it will start to be too much to keep straight in your head. Keep all your contacts in one place. Choose a CRM and add everyone once and for all. Create a schedule or system to keep it up to date.
C. Your Finances. Whether offering a service or product it is important to know if you are making a profit or losing money. When you are first starting out you might have more time than money and not be worried about profitability. But as you get busier, you'll want to make sure you are not losing money on some or all of your efforts. Take the time to figure this out or find yourself a capable financial resource to come in and sort things out for you.
Messes are individual to every business, but they are fixable. Make a list of the messes and prioritize them according to how much time and money they are wasting, and how much they may be holding you back. Then make a list of actionable steps to get them under control, either by yourself or with hired help. Get rid of them one by one so you can be bigger, more efficient, work less, and make more money.
What do you need to fix? I just went in and worked on my contacts and organizing files to start!
All the best from,
Front Line Gal Friday