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Planning

Saying “No” when it is necessary and appropriate helps you grow your business. Evaluate each opportunity against your business goals before committing your time and expertise. When it makes sense for you to say no, say so releases you from the pressure of others’ demands and increases your entrepreneur value. When you say no to demanding and difficult clients, you save yourself time, energy and resources. When you say no to things that don’t help your business or relationships, you stay focused on your business and are in control of the direction of your business.

Few of us will agree that leaving our comfort zone is what we wake up wanting to do every day. Those who do agree are today’s effective business leaders. Getting outside your “you-ness” and stepping boldly into an opportunity is how fearless leaders tackle business challenges. Realize that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable facing high stakes, but don’t let fear deter you. Channel your anxiety into creativity. Reward yourself every time you recognize that you’ve left your comfort zone behind. Focus on your goal, visualize your success, and break down your journey into the unknown into baby steps. And above all, close your eyes, step off the cliff, and enjoy the free-fall!

“Aim to be a leader...” is so generic in a mission statement, isn’t it?! An intelligible and distinguishing mission statement is essential. When writing a mission statement, strike a balance between realism and optimism. Include examples of these elements in a few short sentences: value, inspiration, plausibility and specificity. Your mission statement should be short and sweet, so much so that its brevity makes it almost feasible to use it as a slogan. Don’t over complicate it; a mission statement is not a grammar school essay! Garner buy-in and critique from the company. If they’ve helped write it, they’re more likely to live by it. Revisit it and tweak it often. A mission statement, like the mission itself, has to contain an element of life and fluidity, not live as a dusty slogan on the wall in an out-dated frame.

Small businesses can feel at a disadvantage when it comes to strategic planning. Who has time to devote to planning for the future when the business at-hand today is so time consuming? Replace lengthy strategic planning sessions with this mantra: question everything. Every day, every decision, every corporate expense, every new product line, question it. Question it all. Never settle for the status quo, never become complacent with where your business is now. Stay in a real-time questioning mindset and it will carry you far without writing down a single strategic plan.

When your business first started, you probably did most of the "donkey work" yourself. Remember all of them proposals you drew up? Remember dropping them flyers around your local neighborhood? These jobs are probably not worth as much time as your duties today are. You will find your time is better spent interviewing new staff, meeting potential customers and keeping up relations with current customers.

With the aids you have at your fingertips, these smaller jobs you once did when you first started are easily completed - and for reasonable prices. Utilize the tools you have. Offer reliable workers in your local community some work. Or search the Internet - there are many people looking to do odd jobs for small fees! Prioritize and be prepared to invest a little now and again.

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