The word "action" simply means to do something, and here's where most small business people excel...
answering endless emails, returning phone calls, running errands, spending time on the various social media platforms, sending out a promotional email for a colleague, listening to teleconferences and webinars and a thousand other things. By the end of a typical business day, you're likely exhausted from all the actions you've taken!
But there's another half to our definition of action...
the word "action" means not only to do something but to do something typically in order to achieve an aim or goal.
And here's where many small business owners, perhaps including you, fail miserably. You don't think about the actions you are going to take on a given day and just go running helter-skelter from one fire to another, from the time your feet hit the floor in the morning to the time your head hits the pillow at night.
And yes, to be fair, you probably do accomplish some things. But at the end of each day, how many of those things actually benefitted other people's businesses more than they served to benefit yours?
Hmmmmm...does that hit a little too close to home?
I thought so.
But listen, you are not alone. All of us, me included, can all too easily get caught up in the world of information overwhelm, deadlines and expectations placed on us by other people.
There IS a way out.
This solution is not glamorous but when it's applied consistently, can free you forever from days spent spinning your wheels and can be seen in the word "action" itself.
To act is the essence of action, but as a well-known Buddhist precept reminds us, only "right actions" that have value. In my business, I have a systematic process I go through to help determine if my actions are right. And although I don't have time or space to go through my system here, I will explain one piece of it that can be very helpful to you.
Let's take a look at what "right action" means in business using the simple acronym A.C.T.
A: assess the situation - Here's the crucial question I always ask my business coaching clients when they ask my opinion on a course of action I'm about to take: What is the purpose of what you are about do? In other words, what do you want the outcome to be and what do you hope to achieve from this action?
Often, just stopping to reflect on this one question can bring immense clarity and focus to your plans.
C: calculate your next steps - taking the purpose of what you are hoping to achieve into account (from A, above) formulate your next step.
Example: if the purpose of your actions is to generate quick cashflow, then trying to put a membership site together which includes lots of valuable content and resources is definitely not the next step to take. Perhaps having a sale and sending a quick email out to your list is a better course of action. I think you get the idea.
The important point here is not so much on what specific action you take, but that you take time to reflect on your desired outcome before you take the action. This sounds simple, but is so often neglected.
T: tap into your resources - now that you have decided on your next step, tap into your resources to help you accomplish it. Perhaps you have decided to write a new blog post every day. Well, have you thought about asking some of your colleagues to contribute content so you can showcase them as experts (and so you don't have to do all of the work yourself?)
And think also, before you take action, is this the best use of your most valuable resource, your time? Maybe answering all that email first thing in the morning is not serving you well. In this instance, a simple rearrangement of your schedule may be the most valuable action you can take.
So yes, as a small business owner, action is definitely required. But remember to A.C.T...assess the situation, calculate your next steps and tap into your resources.
Right action = right results!
To get on the path to consistently taking "right action" in your business, grab your free copy of Ellen's highly acclaimed "digital conversation" Zen and the Art of Email List Building.
Award-winning Online Marketing Strategist and Amazon best-selling author Dr. Ellen Britt is the co-founder of Marketing Qi, helping savvy women entrepreneurs (and a few cool men!) develop the business strategies they need to get the success they want. Ellen specializes in mentoring her clients to see their businesses strategically and then guides them to combine the results with a custom, highly leveraged business model designed to produce immediate cash flow and continued profits.