From time to time as Smallbizlady, I conduct interviews with small business experts that could benefit my audience. This is excepts from my #smallbizchat interview with Ellen St. George-Godfrey, a top expert in business planning. Elli coaches entrepreneurs who want to develop their “behind the business” skills by using the three keys of ability, success, and growth.
This is an interview with Ellen St. George-Godfrey about how to power up your business plan. Elli helps her clients build confidence, reduce self-sabotage, and develop effective strategies by using 1:1 coaching, mastermind groups, seminars, and independent study products. Subscribe to the Key Notes newsletter and receive the Vision to Action e-course at http://www.abilitysuccessgrowth.com
Q: What is a living business plan and how do you use it?
St. George-Godfrey: A living business plan is a focusing tool to guide you as grow business. Business owners must actively use a business plan on quarterly or bi-annual basis to check progress, tweak goals, identify changes, and celebrate business growth.
Q: How important is it to have mission & vision statements?
St. George-Godfrey: Vision gives you the big goal you are working for. It doesn’t have to be huge; one client in computer security just wants to make it harder for hackers to get into companies and stealing info. Mission statements speak to your value system and the reason you started your business – and it is deeply tied into your vision. These are your starting points.
Q: What role do our values play in developing our business culture?
St. George-Godfrey: Who you are shows up in your business. Even sole proprietorships have a culture. For example, notice how you use social media, the notion of transparency, or even how you engage with prospects, possible joint ventures, and professional friendships.
Q: How do our beliefs about money and success affect the beginning stages of a startup?
St. George-Godfrey: Beliefs about money and success set you up for failure if not clear how you think and feel about these two necessities. Money is loaded with meaning. Define for yourself what money really means. Evaluate what it means to make a profit. Success is also loaded; generally coupled with money or wealth, which some people feel is too dirty or lacks some kind of virtue. Identify what your kind of success looks like.
Q: Why is it important for small businesses to measure progress?
St. George-Godfrey: Entrepreneurs are noted for how they stretch themselves and extend their comfort zone. There are objective measures – revenues, new hires, moving into bigger spaces. There are subjective measures – increased networking, levels of confidence, enhanced ability to communicate with others, or more alignment with core values and core purpose of the business. Since I work with a lot of very small businesses, we often take a look at marketing, speaking opportunities, and follow-through on stated goals. It is important to know if your ideas work in real-life. Also, it is important to know when you can afford to stop wearing all of your hats and hire virtual assistants or other employees
Q: What are some of the most common ways we sabotage ourselves?
St. George-Godfrey: Procrastination, disorganization of time & stuff, not taking time to write even a most basic business plan. Not using effective stress management techniques, Not developing community to avoid isolation.
Q: What purpose does a SWOT analysis serve in a small business/startup? (Strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business.)
St. George-Godfrey: This is time to tell yourself the truth – good, bad, and ugly, including anything from your personal life that may affect your business. It’s a good review of why you started business in the first place and to measure how your business is evolving
Q: How does my personal life affect my business?
St. George-Godfrey: Lots of small businesses owners wear many hats. If your attention or energy is used by life events, this can take away from business. People who work from home are susceptible to interruptions from family, friends, and neighbors who may not realize that you are actually working. Support from a coach, mentor, or peers is important to staying focused and keeping boundaries clear. Success in business has more to do with your ability to manage your thoughts and feelings, to interact with people, and to know how you want to grow – both professionally and personally. Being flexible and fluid allows you to remain creative and dynamic in your business strategies.
If you’re ready to start or grow your small business visit www.succeedasyourownboss.com and subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog.