You probably started your business with the best of intentions. You wanted to open your own company to make a difference in some way. Maybe you weren’t setting out to change the whole world- but you saw an opportunity to do something different in your circle that would have a positive influence.
Then the realities of business ownership come flying at you before you’ve even thought about the LLC. The day-to-day is so immediate. The tyranny of the urgent screams at you while you balance the pressures of building the plane while it’s flying. All of the sudden all of your best intentions are a faint memory never given a second thought.
Being Intentional in Your Business
Step One: Remember
You’re in good company. What would it look like though to reach back deep into the recesses of those early dreaming days and recall why you decided to start this business to begin with?
Here are some reasons we hear from aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Being the kind of leader that the world needs after experiencing pitiful management.
- Seeing opportunity in your industry to fill a need that’s currently a gap.
- Wanting to prioritize family by providing well or being more present.
- Treating employees well and creating an environment for a team that is healthy.
- Achieving high earning potentials in order to live generously and give back.
- Working for yourself so that there’s flexibility and ease in making your life work.
Fill in the blank with your hopes and dreams from years ago. The first step toward being intentional in your business is to remember why you started all of this to begin with. What were you working toward that we can get back to now? Remember what your intention is so that you can purposefully move toward it.
Step Two: Accountability
Talk with someone over coffee about what this ownership journey has been like for you. Tell them why you started (or remember with them if it’s someone who’s been on the journey with you) and how hard it’s been to keep your “why” at the forefront of your operations. Then, invite that person (or people) to hold you accountable for what you really want your business to be about. I hate to break it to you, but none of us can do this alone! And just like every other aspect of your business, you need someone whose job it is to check in on this specific area and think about it with you.
Step Three: Take A Step
Take a moment to reimagine what those intentions would look like in your business as it is today. So much has changed and you have new information now. How could you accomplish the same goals with this new point of view?
You can dream big for a few minutes if you want to, and write things down to have for later. But for today, choose one thing you can realistically implement over the next 1-3 months. Here are some examples I can think of:
- Outsource something that is consuming your time so that you can stop working once you get home one night this week.
- Identify a ministry or cause that you can give in-kind product or services to that allows you to be generous with the business that God has given you.
- Consider someone on your team who is doing a great job but is maybe being underpaid. Evaluate if a raise or bonus may be necessary to demonstrate that their work is valuable and you want to take care of them.
All of your best intentions can’t come to life overnight. So step-by-step evaluate what your next best is. Little by little and week by week, you can see intentionality bloom if you pace yourself and take a step forward.
Step Four: Build in Systems for Feedback
If the things we have been discussing are your true values, then you need a way of measuring if they are being lived out in the way you think they are. This step requires some humility! You need to be willing to ask for feedback and receive it well.
“This is a value of mine as an owner and leader, am I living it well?”
The answer might not always be what we want to hear. But if what you really want is to live out of these values, then you have to be willing to hear if things aren’t going as smoothly as you thought. If you react poorly to feedback, then it won’t be safe for others to speak into your values in the future. You’ll live in a mirage of intentionality, but it will all be a deception of what could be.
So, spend time getting your mind right. You are a human, not a god. Of course, there are areas where things could improve when being intentional in your business. Learning where we need to grow is an opportunity! Not a slight. You’ve worked so hard to build this, and you want it to be the best it can be.
Communicate what you are trying to accomplish, and then invite feedback.
Ask your employees about their experience. Invite an objective outsider to share their perspective. Survey customers about what would make their experience better. Create opportunities for others to help build your business into the things you dreamed it would be from the beginning.
This process will be as unique as your values are in your business. That’s what we’re here for. If you are looking for someone who might be that objective voice or accountability partner, Crossroads is here. I understand that there’s a lot of obstacles to prioritizing intentionality sometimes. We can work with you to create a plan that makes it possible with being intentional in your business. Schedule an appointment with one of our coaches for practical and experienced help.