How do you ensure you’re creating a resilient business?
This is a question that’s been on my mind ever since Sept 27th, when I was having a catch up convo with a friend.
She said to me: it must feel pretty amazing in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and with all the traveling you’ve been doing, to know that your business is still running.
Very true, although this was the first time I had thought about it like that.
It begged the question: how does one create a resilient business?… so that when things do get rough or go a little crazy, you can rest assured that your business isn’t going to crumble.
Can YOUR business take a hit?
We’ve created a resilient business here at Entrepreneurs On Fire.
But have you?
You’re probably wondering how you’d even know the answer to this question, which honestly is in and of itself the problem: you can’t wait for a disaster to hit to know whether your business can handle it.
It could mean the difference between going under or surviving, and my guess is that you don’t want to take that chance.
If my assumption is correct, then I have something for you: a checklist you can use to ensure you ARE creating a resilient business.
Be proactive. Use this checklist.
Checklist: How to create a resilient business
1. Take inventory
Taking inventory is the FIRST step to organizing your time and the tasks and projects you’re working on for your business.
Here’s how to do it…
Time required: 1 week
What you’ll need: a piece of paper + pen (or your favorite note-taking system); I recommend paper + pen
What to do:
- Start by writing out the day of the week at the top of your paper – the first day, and each day thereafter.
- Each day, for 1 week straight, let that piece of paper + pen follow you around as you’re working on your business.
- Each time you work on a certain task or project, simply write it down on your paper under the specific day you worked on it.
No task or project is too big or too small to record.
This is simply an exercise to help you understand what it is you’re spending your time on, PLUS which tasks and projects are repetitive ones.
Examples would be:
- checked email
- went on Facebook
- helped a community member with their password
- wrote sales page copy
- designed an opt in page
- tweaked home page of website
At the end of the week take a look back at the tasks and projects you’re spending your time on.
Now, it’s time to categorize it.
Keeping everything intact from your one week of taking inventory, start with a fresh piece of paper and create 4 columns:
Beneath each of these categories place the tasks and projects you recorded in the appropriate column.
Which did you find yourself doing daily? Weekly? Monthly?
And there are probably a fair number of tasks or projects you’re working on that are only 1-time things (like launching a website, creating an online course, etc)
2. Identify actual dependencies
You’ve just discovered A LOT about how you’re spending your time and what tasks and projects you have going on in your business.
Now, it’s time to go through your list and mark the tasks or projects that actually DEPEND ON YOU.
If you don’t have any employees or contractors helping you in your business, then initially, it’s going to seem as though everything depends on you.
Everything does not depend on you.
I’m willing to bet there are probably a fair number of projects or tasks you’ve written down over the past week that aren’t necessary at all.
There are also probably a fair number of projects or tasks you’ve written down over the past week that shouldn’t depend on you (i.e. you could either automate or delegate them).
Actual dependencies are projects or tasks that, if you weren’t doing them, would be detrimental to the growth of your business.
In order to legitimately determine actual dependencies, you’re going to have to know what your overall business goals are, and what projects or tasks you’re working on that are directly contributing to you accomplishing those goals.
You can check out our entire goal-setting guide if this is something you haven’t taken the time to establish (and with a new year approaching, now is a perfect time to do it!)
3. Create a system for those dependencies
Now that you have a list of the tasks and projects in your business that require YOU, it’s time to create a system for each of those dependencies.
I’m not talking about a system that will automate them or delegate them.
I’m talking about a system you can use in order to plan out one month – maybe even two months in advance – so that you’re never waiting until something is “due” to get it done.
An example might be that you are the content creator in your business.
Maybe you have a blog, or a podcast that you produce weekly and publish every Monday for your audience.
If this is the case, then instead of waiting until Sunday night every week to create and schedule your content, you could have a system in place that allows you to create and schedule your content out a full month in advance!
How great would it feel to have your content scheduled out a full month in advance?
How much time would you be able to create in your day-to-day if, instead of working on creating content 2 days a week – every week – you were working on creating content 2 days a week – one time per month?
If you’re not really sure how the whole systems thing works, then we have a step-by-step guide for you – both written and audio – right here.
4. Calendar your year
The best way to make sure no surprises come up in your business is to calendar out your year.
- What major projects will you be working on?
- What events do you plan to attend?
- What major vacations do you have planned?
Based on the major projects, events and vacations you have planned, recognize there has to be a buffer for your dependencies.
For example, if you have a major project planned that is estimated to take up the entire month of March, then every other dependency in your business will have to be planned out and completed ahead of time so you don’t fall behind.
This is why #3 is so important; once you have systems in place for your dependencies, it’s going to be that much easier to plan ahead.
CONGRATS! You’ve just done a ton of great preparation and planning for your business (and you’ve probably discovered a lot of things you never knew about the time you spend on certain projects and tasks)!
You’ve taken inventory, you’ve identified dependencies, you’ve created systems for those dependencies, and you’ve calendared out your year.
Now, it’s time for a big review.
What projects or tasks can you cut – or set aside – that aren’t contributing to moving your business forward right now?
How can you plan better so the dependencies you’ve identified in your business can be completed most efficiently?
What have you discovered about your projects, tasks, and the time you spend on certain things?
What have you discovered about your business as a whole?
Putting it into practice
One of the most helpful things I’ve heard since becoming an entrepreneur is something Amy Porterfield said on a podcast:
Schedule it to make it real.
I’ll leave you with a challenge
That challenge is to not only thoroughly review and implement the checklist I’ve shared above, but to actually put everything you’ve just learned into practice by scheduling time each day, each week, each month to implement it.
Drop into the comments below and COMMIT to ensuring your business is resilient. It could mean the difference between going under or surviving, and my guess is that you don’t want to take that chance.