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Your business has gone from birth (The Idea) through infancy (Actual Work) and is now in stage three, the toddler stage, going full speed in any direction that looks interesting.  In fact, that tends to be the problem in this stage. 

Revenues and customers are increasing rapidly (you hope), and with them, opportunities and issues.  There seems to be an ever-expanding range of issues competing for your time and money.  Sometimes things happen so quickly, business owners feel they have no time to plan for anything.  There are simply too many “fires to put out”.  The reality is, however, that at this stage, planning is one of the most important things you can be doing.   Which opportunities are you going to try to capitalize on?  Which issues need to be dealt with? 

Planning is just as important for you personally.  What are you personally going to be doing as the business leader?  A great leader needs to be able to prioritize and delegate.  Think about all the things you do.  What provides the most value to the business?  What are you passionate about?  Where do your talents lie?  Think about those things and come up with a “Stop Doing” list.  Either delegate the items on the list or, if possible, stop doing them altogether. 

Here is an example.  One of the items on my “Stop Doing” list is to stop checking my email throughout the day.  Email is a significant time waster and I can lose hours of time responding to all my emails.  Rather than responding to emails throughout the day, I am only going to check my email in the morning, after lunch, and before I leave for the day.  And, by the way, I have turned off the automatic notification that pops up on my screen and effectively ends all concentration.

When you make your “Stop Doing” list, ask yourself these questions:  Is this necessary?  Who should be doing it?  Is there a better way?

Finally, this is the stage where businesses start to formalize more of their processes.  They develop and record processes for dealing with customers, marketing, sales, etc.  Better accounting and management systems have to be developed and implemented.  New employees have to be hired, trained, etc.  At this stage, flying by the seat of your pants is no longer an option.

What about you?  What do you need to add to your “Stop Doing” list?  What processes do you need to formalize?

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