Whether you are in start-up mode or have been doing this whole business thing for a while, it is common to overwhelmed by ALL of the things that need attending to. I know that because, as a fellow entrepreneur, I’ve been there.
Was I working smart? Was I working hard? Or was I just doing what I wanted to do… to stay busy? Because there is an infinite number of things any of us could be working on at any one given time. I mean, c’mon- social media can suck all of your time away alone! And many of us are one or two-person operations and we are wearing lots, if not all, of the hats.
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It was after my career in operations, management, and creating my award-winning business plan for WeatherVane Creamery that I developed my 21 Point Business Checklist. You know, like that 21 point check-ups that sometimes accompany your oil change.
Anyway, I took a look at what categories that small businesses need to pay attention to, even those “unsexy” categories that are easy to avoid as a business owner. Things like Accounting, Software, Metrics, Foundational Visioning, Marketing, and Legal Compliance. You can’t tell me that all of those things excite you.
So, how should you use it?
Start from the top and fill out your information. Structure refers to your legal business structure- sole proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc. Status refers to your business stage. You can write in Start Up/Launch, Sustaining/Mature, Expansion/Growth, or Decline/Pre-Retirement. Use whatever words that make the most sense to you.
Next, assess whether each line item is something that your business either has (OK) or doesn’t (NEEDS). Some things like Employee Handbook might be Not Applicable. Write in NA. And be brutally honest. This tool is rendered useless by trying to make your business look good.
So, how does your NEEDS column look? Overwhelming? Underwhelming? Not sure what actions to take or where to start?
The next step is to prioritize your NEEDS. The question is, do you trust yourself to prioritize it? I don’t know about you but I’ve definitely put off things that weren’t very exciting to address. For me, that has been anything to do with Accounting or logging mileage. Ugh. Now you know what is unsexy to me!