Being a business owner involves a lot of hustle and bustle. Generating leads, closing sales, delivering products, performing administrative work, and brainstorming new ideas can easily take up every second of our time.
But if there’s one thing that can help us accelerate our businesses even more, it’s slowing down.
Slowing down doesn’t mean giving yourself full license to blow everything off and go on a perpetual vacation, but it does mean including time for rest and—most importantly—reflection.
Because it’s only when you rest, whether it’s in the form of a relaxing lunch, a long walk around your neighborhood, a nap, or just a designated time to do nothing but think, that you give your mind the chance to wander and, eventually, reflect.
Rest and reflection are crucial to moving forward in your business.
Why? Because there’s so much power in reflection and so much insight to be gained from it. Not only does it help you think through things you’ve done or tried in your business, but it puts you in the perfect place to set effective plans going forward—plans that play off the momentum you’ve already built.
Reflection is effective no matter when you choose to do it, but setting a schedule for it assures it gets done. You can choose to reflect at the end of every day, or every week. Maybe you’d prefer to do a deeper reflection at the end of every month, or quarter. Whatever works for you, here are some questions to help you look back on your business, so you can prime it to move forward.
- What’s working in your business right now? What is not?
It could be marketing strategies, new services, organizational tools, customer acquisition methods, new software, or anything in between. Make a list of the things you tried in your business that hit the mark, and those that did not. Doing this will make it easier to see what you should continue using and/or doing, and what things it’s time to bless and release.
- What were your goals for this time period? Did you achieve them? Why or why not?
Listing your goals and taking stock of how each turned out can help you refine the direction of your business as you move forward. You might find the goals you didn’t get to may be the highest priorities now, or you may realize that your direction has shifted and certain goals are no longer necessary. Either way, you won’t know unless you take the time to analyze them.
- Did any surprises pop up—both good or bad?
As every entrepreneur knows, the pathway to success isn’t linear—it’s filled with ups and downs and rarely goes according to plan. How did your business year deviate from your plan? What things popped up that were pleasant surprises, such as an offer that sold way better than expected, or unexpected blows, like losing an employee. Taking stock of these can potentially help you avoid unnecessary surprises in the future, or at the very least, keep you grounded in reality that surprises come with the territory in business.
- How have you grown as a business owner over this time period?
Of all the questions, this may be the most important one. No matter how great or bumpy this period of time was for your business, there’s one gain we can all say we had: personal growth. Being an entrepreneur goes hand-in-hand with personal growth, and (lucky for us!) it’s all pushing us in the “right” direction—even if it’s difficult or unclear. Think about the various ways you’ve grown as a business owner. Even through your struggles, you’ve become a stronger, smarter, and more experienced entrepreneur. Track that growth and celebrate it.
By answering these questions, as well as setting a goal to reflect on them regularly, you’ll find that the pathway forward becomes a lot more clear.
Here’s to your success!