Running a business is not a wash – rinse – repeat thing. Sure, systems and procedures allow you to leverage your efforts, but being an entrepreneur means you never get to go on auto-pilot. Even the best laid business and marketing plans need to be reviewed regularly. The most successful businesses know how to keep things fresh and respond to the ever-changing business climates and customer behavior.
What to Review and When
It pays to review critical plans and metrics regularly. If you set aside time to do so as part of your ongoing business operations you should never be taken completely by surprise. Here are some common things you will want to review and the frequency with which you should review them:
- Business Plan – at least annually
- Marketing Plan – at least quarterly
- Finances – at least monthly with more in-depth analysis quarterly
- Marketing Metrics – at least monthly, more frequently with active campaigns
- Support Team Needs – at least quarterly
Taking a regular peek under the hood allows you to proactively respond to changes in your business rather than react in a panic.
How to Know if It is Time to Reinvent
It can be tempting at every bump in the road to undertake a major reinvention, rebranding, or re-course of action. After all, if the water isn’t boiling, change pots!
That said, it takes consistency and time to build a business so you don’t want to change course too soon but you also don’t want to wait too long. (Need I say again that there is no handbook of absolutes when it comes to owning your own business?). If you look to the entertainment industry, the most successful artists reinvent themselves at different times. For example, as Justin Beiber matures as a young man, his music and brand is changing. Madonna is the queen of reinventing herself. Sometimes it works and sometimes it crashes and burns. That is why you need to be conscious of what you’re doing and why.
Here are top signs that it is time to reinvent (a little or a lot):
- Changes in customer or business behavior that requires you respond differently to them to succeed.
- You’ve hit a plateau in your earnings.
- You are bored and no longer as passionate about what you do as you once were.
- A major disappointment or game-changing life circumstance happens.
How to Reinvent Successfully
You can’t just snap your fingers and reinvent yourself or your business. It’s like starting a new business. It requires inspiration, thoughtful planning, reflection, and discernment. Follow these principles to make your reinvention a successful one.
- Create space to allow the process to unfold. You can’t force it.
- Test every choice against your own authenticity meter, bigger purpose, and desired life.
- Be playful. Creativity requires equal parts creative tension, contained chaos, and playfulness. Allow creativity to flow during this process.
- Explore possibilities. There is no logical, linear path to this process.
- Embrace “not knowing”. This is where your need to be ok with uncertainty and dance in the mystery.
- Create a roadmap to make the transition successful.
- Manage priorities. You will likely have a juggling act navigating the old and new simultaneously as you make the transition.
At the end of the day, being in your business should be fun. It’s a journey that begs to be enjoyed along the way. If you regularly review and reinvent when called to do so, you’ll keep things fresh, grow your business faster, and create the longevity you crave.
This post originally appeared on BlogHer.com.