I’ve been thinking about this recently and thought I’d write about it here.

In the process of taking the steps to grow my business I realized I need to figure out where my business “IS” before I can build upon it.

Now my original thinking was this. I had gotten so busy “DOING” my business I’d lost sight of where I’m making money, where I’m spending money and where I’m loosing money.

In loosing money I mean, leaving money on the table in different areas, or not tracking billable time.

So during this thought process I decided to open up a spread sheet and start listing my websites, adding information such as domain, where it’s hosted and so on but also started to list if there was an opt-in page, url to sales page, thank you page etc.

Well in this exercise I noticed there were a lot of domains bought on a whim that “sounded” like a good idea. This got me thinking a little differently about my original thought “WHERE is my business?” Meaning not necessarily the position my business is in, but where is my business focus what area should I be focusing my business in training? development? service? applications?

Although I’ve yet to determine where my business is I realized by scattering my focus or looking to many places to make money, I may be loosing sight on what is making me the most money and what I enjoy doing most.

So the next plan of attack is to finish up the website list get rid of what isn’t making money. Look at what is bringing in money, determine if I want or like doing that part and focus the energy there to build my business further.

Obviously you have to figure where you are at before you can determine where you are going and if you have nothing to measure from you cannot determine growth.

Have you asked your self recently “Where is my business?” If so what steps did you take to refocus, measure or grow? I’d love to here your feedback on this.

14 Comments

  1. jeanne on August 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Very timely post for me. I am on vacation with a goal of figuring out how to FOCUS my energies. I am spread way too thin. I know that I will have to have fewer endeavors (but I love learning about different techniques).

    Also I have to admit I am a course junky.

    Thanks
    Jeanne

    ps I think you meant losing instead of loosing

  2. Ellyn on August 28, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Good post Frank. I appreciate the reminder to FOCUS, When I am seriously reflecting on my business, it helps me alot to either go to a new location(where i don’t usually work)-
    or at a minimum sit somewhere really different than by day in and day out work space. Both of these engender more creativity!

  3. GTD on August 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Friends often times think alike. However it’s spooky when they do it at the same time. I woke up yesterday with this exact topic on my mind.
    Often times, as we frantically attempt to make money in order to survive, we loose focus, or for that matter understanding, as to what is our business.
    We’re all good at many things. However we’re not all great at everything. Chasing the dollar will not build a business it will only get you a dollar.
    For us, taking the time to sit on the rocks, watch the waves, and smell the ocean helps to bring clarity to the question – guess where I’ll be this weekend .
    Thanks for the prompting.

  4. Frank Deardurff III on August 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Jeanne & Ellen it Sounds like both of you like the “hideout” method to focus. I do that to but in my office. I set a side one day a week where I work at my home office to make time for working ON the business or working on a specific project. I like the vacation idea except for the fact I’ve not taken a true non-working vacation in sometime. Thanks for the comments.

  5. Aditi on August 28, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I see what you’re doing is tactical in nature (seeing what’s successful today, etc), although it’s necessary to do this too. What I would do first is make sure you’ve clarified your vision, first.

    I would change the question to first ask: Where do I want to be in my Business?
    Where do you want to go (what do you want, see yourself in your ideal business setting, etc.) with your business? Then work backwards, to the point of what do you need to be focusing on that will lead you there. This process feels difficult at first because most people plan forward into the unknown, instead of declaring a place, a state of being they want to be in, first. But once you start thinking backwards strategically, it gets easier.

    Then if something is not making money, check first to see if it’s aligned or not. If it is, there may be something in the implementation process that got out of whack, or the tactic was not the best. I believe entrepreneurs have to revisit and focus on their strategic visions periodically. Building it into the process is key, because you then begin to start living in your vision. And your vision become a part of you.

    For newer online entrepreneurs, it’s too easy to get off-base, because when your knowledge level is lower, almost everything seems relevant because you are still learning and exploring. Getting lost is inevitable. As you gain experience and confidence, the refining process becomes easier. I’ve been going through this myself online. And you’ve got to love the process, eh?

    Hope this helps,
    May success be with you, Frank!
    Aditi

  6. Stu McLaren on August 28, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Frank,

    This is definitely an exercise every entrepreneur should go through.

    By getting clear on the direction of your business you can remove all the distracting “opportunities” and really begin to achieve all kinds of success.

    I too have been going through a similar ordeal and by letting go of those “ideas” and focusing on the main areas where I want to spend my time, I’ve achieved more in the last 4 months than I had in the previous year!

    So kudos to you for doing this and don’t be afraid to “let go” – it feels liberating when you do 🙂

    All the best.

    Stu

  7. Pat Wiklund on August 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    It sounds like we are all on the same page, whether it is for myself, or the coaching I do with clients, the end of summer, beginning of the school year, seems to trigger the kind of reflection you are suggesting. I insist all my clients do it…and do it myself.

    I also have a day a week when I focus on working on my business…with a review of my systems, product/service focus, to do list, and the holes in the productivity machine.

    Since I started this simple process, my business hasn’t been the same…much more profitable, more fun, and time off for fun, family, and my sweetheart.

    More balance comes with more profitability.

    thanks for the post…we all need the reminder.

    Pat Wiklund
    1PersonBusiness.com

  8. SEO Company South Carolina on August 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Hi Frank,
    Your post was timely for me as well. I own a traditional ad agency and business has dissapeared over the last 4 months. I’ve lost half my income and it has forced me to take a very serious look at where my business is and where I want it to go as suggested by Aditi.

    With so much changing for me personally it has been tough and I’m being faced with some very tough decisions like cutting some stuff loose – even though it “can” make me some income it’s not worth it because of the time invested.

    I recently started delivering pizzas to make up the income loss instead. Imagine that, an ad agency owner delivering pizzas part-time!

    Now, I’m using all my available time to focus on my new direction rather than trying to keep things going as usual because some of the old things are not working anymore.

    The main thing I learned is exactly what you’re talking about. If I had taken the time to do a “check-up” on my business and learn exactly what was and what wasn’t working, I may have been able to “adjust my sails” BEFORE hitiing the iceberg!
    Thanks,
    Van

  9. Sid on August 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Hey Frank, Well you’ve posed a good question and gotten some really good responses already. I can’t add much to what has already been said except that the “working backwards from where you want to be” is I think best if your ultimate goal is to do something you love and have a passion for, but may not be in an area that will produce as much income as other areas in which you have competence.

    So, I would use both approaches. The one you are in the process of doing now would be good as a start, but I would not overlook the other approach.

    I’m using the backwards approach since I’m older and have a nice secure income and will never have to “work”, but I will soon do what you’re doing now to make what I’m doing now be more cost effective.

    Allow me a brief plug for my business. Check http://www.ChapalaClub.com to learn all about the wonderful place I live here in Mexico.

    If you or your readers are able to make a living on line already then you should give serious consideration to moving out of the USA where taxes are likely to continue to rise and take a look at our safe area of Mexico where almost everything is half or less what you would expect to pay in the USA.

    Look forward to keeping up with your blog posts. Thanks for asking out opinions. Sid Grosvenor (Your Lake Chapala Information Guy).

  10. Rob Metras on August 29, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Frank:
    As a victim in the past of Big Shiny Objects I have done this analysis and have got specific parts of my business that are generating the most revenue clearly in my sights. It is a wise trick to do and one that maximizes time with dollars.

    We all need a kick in the pants from ourselves

  11. Karen Brunet on August 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    How about this quote: “For the resolute and determined there is time and opportunity.”

    If you want to refocus, measure and grow your business, then it’s so important to be clear on what you are resolute and determined to get done. After all, we only have 24 hours in every day.

    Let’s put it another way. Ask yourself what you’ve done lately? That will tell you what you are resolute and determined about. Good news is that if you don’t like your answer, you can always choose something different. 🙂

    Great post, Frank.

    To your success,

    Karen Brunet
    E S S
    It’s not just a website… It’s the Mother Lode!
    More Clients – More Sales – More Often

  12. Frank Deardurff III on September 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback good to see I’m not the only one that looses the forest in the trees.

    It often feels like we’re moving through life so fast that we either forget to check the map for directions or don’t take time to enjoy it.

    Makes me think of the old Wiley Coyote cartoons where he is chasing the road runner so fast that he doesn’t realize he’s run off the cliff until of course it’s to late.
    Again thanks for all of your thoughts on this topic.

  13. David M. Brown, MD on July 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Frank,

    This is a critical exercise that I still haven’t done yet. I have a hodge-podge of websites that don’t make me any money, so I’m starting to re-focus now to get a handle on things.

    Also, as far as your post goes, I know that a lot of people don’t care about typos or overlook them, but there are a lot of people who will turn you off when you use incorrect words, and those people are gone forever when they see your blog. It’s just a heads-up. You use the word “loosing” which isn’t really a word since the opposite of “win” is “lose” and the opposite of “tight” is “loose”, so you’re “losing” potential clients when you write things like that. You could be “loosening” your grip on something, but not “loosing” it.

    Also, when you say that you want to “here” someone’s feedback, that’s spelled “hear” and the EASY way to remember that is that you “HEAR” with your “EAR”, you don’t “here” with your “ere”. “Here” goes with “there”, even though they don’t rhyme, but that’s neither ‘here’ nor ‘there’.

    Maybe you don’t like that kind of feedback – many people are touchy about their spelling or word usage, but it can actually help business to spell and use words correctly. I will talk with you soon.

    • Frank Deardurff III on July 29, 2010 at 6:17 pm

      David you are correct I need to reread my posts. I’m definitely a 100 mph thinker and obviously hit the submit button to soon on that post. I do appreciate your comments and should strive to slow down on occasion to proof what I’m writing.

      Thanks again for leaving your feedback.

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