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Is Your Business Stagnant or Evolving? – A Few Questions to Ponder

By Caterina Rando, MA, MCC

Ask yourself – has your business evolved? Are you doing things differently and doing different things than when you first launched your business? If the answer is “no” your business may still be doing fine.  However it may not be giving you the same satisfaction it did when you started and it is definitely not achieving the kind of revenue that is possible. Focus on evolving your business not only for your own satisfaction and profit, but also for the betterment of the people, industry and community you serve.

An evolving business is a business that adjusts and continues to flourish with changes in the marketplace, changes in client needs and changes in technology. Businesses that do not evolve usually go out of business in the first few years with a few exceptions – like the corner deli that has been making delicious corn beef the exact same way for the last 50 years or the neighborhood hardware store that operates mostly like it did when it opened three generations ago. Their friendly, warm and knowledgeable staff is their key to long term success.

If you want your business to evolve, grow, change and adapt ponder these five key questions:

Has your business evolved from a business that provides you a living to a business that is helping you and others build wealth? From an anthropological perspective, women in large numbers have only been entrepreneurs for a generation. So thrilled that we are earning our own paychecks, many of us have stopped short of strategizing to build organizations that provide us financial security and a wealth-building opportunity. If this is a new concept to you, what would it take for you to start building wealth with your business?

Has your business evolved from a day-to-day client-focused business to one that is also focused on making a difference in the community you serve? You do not have to buy a hospital wing to make a difference. You can donate 1% of your revenue. Host a blood, food or clothing drive, volunteer your expertise to non-profits, or rally together a team of employees and friends to participate in a walkathon to wipe out breast cancer or another cause that means something to you personally. These are all great ways to have your company make a difference. Make community service and contribution part of your company’s mission so it does not get pushed to the side when business picks up.

Has your business evolved into an organization that operates in a socially and environmentally responsible way? Recycling, using sustainable materials, eliminating toxic products from your processes are all places to start. Gallo Wines Inc. sets aside an acre of land for trees and wild life for every acre of land on which they grow grapes. Several companies have switched to hybrids for their fleet of cars. You can do this even if there is only one car in your fleet. What can you do to begin to compensate or eliminate your company’s carbon footprint?

Has you company shifted from one way to generate income to now having several different revenue streams, all delivered simultaneously? A young entrepreneur, Amy, started a stretch limo company for special occasions. After only a year she added two sedans for airport transportation service, thereby doubling her revenue. Vicki started as a consultant in the construction industry selling her expertise by the hour, now she teaches workshops to groups and sells software solutions, adding two additional income streams, one that does not take any of her precious time. Randy started as a freelance writer. She has evolved her business to provide everything authors need, editors, ghostwriters, book proposal writers and someone to pitch proposals to agents. Randy has created many strategic alliances to serve her clients and she makes money on all of them.  What other needs do your clients have that you could provide? What additional income stream possibilities can you imagine?

Have you evolved from a fresh entrepreneur to an innovator and expert in your field?
The more you stay current and continue to learn in your field the more bright ideas will come to you. Read the latest periodicals; go to business building seminars, congregate with your colleagues and after you have been a student for a while it is time to start being a teacher. Begin to speak and write, provide information through your website. Become a voice in your industry.

Ponder these five questions by using a strategy to keep your business evolving that is as old as the adding machine – and like such always works. Take time every day for thinking and planning, take more time at the end of each week and month and take a good two days towards the end of the year to plan for the next year. That is what successful people do. They think about what challenges they face and think about how to find solutions – they think about what they do and try to come up with better ways to do what they do.

Think about new possibilities for your business. Write them down and plan to try some new things. Keep your business fresh for yourself and your clients.

Make evolving a priority. It can only serve you, your business and your clients. Get started now.

Caterina Rando, MA, MCC, coaches entrepreneurs to attract clients with ease by establishing themselves as experts in their fields. Caterina is the creator of the Business Breakthrough Coaching Program. Visit her website at www.attractclientswithease.com to listen to business building teleclasses and find other resources. She can be reached at 415 668-4535 or via email at cat@attractclientswithease.com.