4 things business owners need to get really clear on

I am always in decision making mode…

Do I need to hire? Who would I hire? How much should I pay them? Where would I put them? Do I need to buy a computer? In order to pay for them we need more clients! Where can I generate more leads? Should I respond to this RFP? Maybe I could increase my prices a bit…

And the questions in front of me are always changing.

What do I need to do about health insurance? Wait, what’s that about pre-tax transit benefits changing? What do you mean you want to increase my rent? How many computers need to be upgraded…

Keeping a focus, keeping my eyes on where I am actually going, is a constant battle. Like walking a straight line in a blizzard.

Leaders need to get clear

That’s why I decided to make it a habit to take a little time at the beginning of the year to make sure that I get really clear about a few things. Those are my rocks, the things that I can hang onto that aren’t going to be swirling around. I need to look at them every year so that I’m confident that they are clear, that they are not changing, that I can count on them.

business clarity Once I have that business clarity — once I know that there are a few things that are set, I can attack that swirling cloud of uncertainty with more confidence. If I have done the work of putting down some things that aren’t going to change then I can cut out a lot of those swirling questions (or at least turn down the volume on them) because I know that they don’t matter (much). Being clear about a few things that aren’t going to change helps me create clearer priorities. And then those things that tend to fly in my face feel less overwhelming and confusing.

That’s what we’re talking about this month at EnMast — finding that business clarity and setting business goals. So what needs to be clear?

1. Goals

I always start the year by setting some goals; 3 – 5 business goals, and 3 – 5 personal goals. I take my time with these — I want to make sure that these are initiatives that I’m really committed to, that I’m willing to be held accountable for. I also want to be clear about why these goals are important; what will accomplishing them enable me to do? What difference will completing these goals make?

2. My role/Your priorities

Once I have my goals set, I want to review my job description. Does it reflect what I’m really doing now? Have I allocated my time in a way that’s consistent with my goals and priorities? What do I need to reassign, or stop doing in order to make room for the new goals I have set?

3. My Ideal Client/Ideal Project

I also revisit my ideal client profile. Do I need to refine what I’m shooting for? Do I need to shoot for bigger clients, or bigger projects? Are there clients that I have been working with that I wouldn’t want to take on in the new year? Getting clear about who my ideal client is helps me to refine my sales process and better prioritize my business development time and energy.

4. How will I know I’m are making progress?

Lastly, I want to think about some indicators that tell me that I’m making progress toward the changes I’ve laid out. Most of us set pretty ambitious business goals; we may not achieve them in one month, or one quarter. It can get discouraging if we cannot see progress along the way. How will we know that we are making progress toward our business goals? What changes can we see before we get to the end? I like to set up a system to track those so that I can recognize that things are (slowly) changing. At the beginning of the calendar year a lot of folks set business goals, reorganize their house/office/desk, or do other things that orient them to the new year.

This year do something different. Give yourself time to get really clear about what you want to be different and what you are going to do differently so that you results 12 months from now will be different.

What are your rocks? How do you track progress toward your business goals?


  1. Establishing KPIs from the start is one of the most important steps you need to take as a business owner. Having benchmarks to measure your success against will allow you to see if your business is performing well, has areas that need improvement, and where you need to better invest your money into the business. Tracking your KPIs over time will also allow you to better plan your budgets and make better and smarter business decisions.

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