If you want to create a successful business or career, you need to have a plan of action. It can often take years to achieve your goals, so a written guide to your personal development will help you keep track no matter how long it takes.
Earlier we looked at the first two steps you should take when planning a career or business, which include asking yourself some tough questions and researching industries you are interested in. The final two steps are to actually write down your plan and start to take action.
Step 3: Write your plan
There’s no point going to all the effort of asking difficult questions, and then not do anything with the information. The ideal way to do this is to write it down. Having your plan on paper not only allows you to map out the tasks required to achieve each goal, it also gives you a document to refer back to and track your progress. The smaller the steps you take, the more rewarding the journey because you will be able to see how these little acts of progress fit into the bigger picture.
While planning is important, you also need to be flexible when opportunities arise along the way. Innovation and creative thinking are both essential skills for business, but it takes practice to learn how to let yourself brainstorm ideas without censorship.
This is a good opportunity to collect ideas without limiting yourself. So if you catch yourself saying ‘that’s too hard’ or ‘that could never be done’, then write it down and think about how you would do it if you wanted to. You don’t have to act on every idea, but you may be surprised with what you come up with.
Questions to ask
- What money do I need to live comfortably?
- How much money will I need if I want to start a business?
- Is there any funding available to me or my industry? Or could I get a small business loan?
- How can I improve my chance of career or business success?
- How can I gain the skills I have identified as needing improvement?
- What educational programs do I need to undertake?
- How can I get work experience?
Because of my personal situation, I like to make both short term and long term goals. I know what small steps I want to achieve in the next six months, and I also have a rough idea of where I want to be in ten years time. When I have achieved my current set of tasks, however long it takes, I’ll decide what steps to take next. This way I have a plan, but I am also able to adjust it to changes in my life without losing sight of what is important.
Step 4: Take action
It’s not really important which task you tackle first, as long as you get started. You might have dreams of owning a business, but your current career is taking up all your focus. There ways that you can further your career and improve your chances in business. Learning the right skills will not only helps your current career but also gives you a strong foundation for successful business ownership.
Here are two ways you can take action to prepare for your future business while improving your career chances at the same time.
Build your business knowledge
The easiest way you can build your business knowledge is through education. A good business program will not only enable you to apply the skills you learn to any administration position or any position for that matter, it should also give you the tools you need to run your own company.
You should learn your way around business software, such as Microsoft Office and Quickbooks. Whether it be for your business or your career, you should be able to create professional documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoints. Like MOS, QuickBooks is almost the industry standard when it comes to accounting software.
If you want to run a business, either as an owner or manager, it’s not enough to understand an organization’s procedures: you need to be able to understand why businesses implement those types of procedures to begin with. You need to have a basic understanding of regulations, taxation, ethics, communication tools, and marketing techniques so that you are able to apply your knowledge as necessary.
Become an IT nerd
No matter the type of business, industry or job, technology is difficult to avoid. If you want to start a business, at the beginning you will want to take care of your IT needs in-house as much as possible, to reduce costs. When you are more established, understanding the terminology and processes used will help you communicate your needs effectively to your tech sub contractors.
Like business and accounting skills, IT skills could prove to be the point of difference you need to stand out from other applicants. Employers love workers who can fix the tools they use and limit IT call outs. Whether it be through formal training or personal research, knowing about computer networks, security and IT innovation will help give you a career edge.
For more information on how you can improve your career with business, accounting, or IT skills, fill out the contact form.