The 5 Questions I Ask Myself

Last updated on March 21, 2019

The 5 Questions I Ask Myself

Good morning, fellow solopreneurs! I have a question for you: are you asking the right questions?

To keep a small business growing, you sometimes have to make some tough decisions. But often I’m not sure which problem to address first! I’ve narrowed it down to 5 questions to ask myself when I’m trying to get my company out of a rut – or when I need to make a plan for the future. See if these help you:

Am I focused on tomorrow?

  • Everything I do today, whether it’s a designing a website or choosing a promotional products vendor, affects my business tomorrow (and beyond!).
  • My customer relationships are an investment in the future of my business, so I need to engage with them and support them.
  • Focusing on today’s issues only narrows my vision. I have to keep in mind that my goals extend beyond whatever current crisis!

Is there an outside threat to my business?

  • Any factor can change at the drop of a hat: customer preference, supply issues, distribution problems, new employees, competitor prices.
  • I need to stay on the ball and be conscious of changes throughout my industry – and especially in the area of my target markets.
  • Using the web (this blog, Facebook, email newsletter, etc.) I can reach my customers directly to stay current on their needs/wants.

Am I attracting the best staff?

  • I’m always conscious that quality people = quality business. I have a few contractors, and I’ve recently hired a part-time designer to work with me.
  • The way my staff interacts with my customers reflects on my company and on me, from how the phone is answered to how an email is composed.
  • I try to hire the right people, with the right attitude, and show them my appreciation for the great work they do. The key to having a great employee is keeping them!

Are any of my regulars becoming irregular?

  • I work with a lot of other small businesses, so I understand that sometimes you have to forego any new projects because of financial issues.
  • But there might be other factors that influence my customers, so I need to stay in touch to keep track of true impediments.
  • Could my marketing be more effective? Is the promotional products vendor sending out quality items? Is my price point in the right place?

What “dead weight” can I eliminate?

  • When your business depends on communicating with people, it can be hard to be the “bad guy.” But if you have a small company, you can’t afford low performance!
  • What am I keeping that I could get rid of? Out-of-date product listings? Pricey vendors? Is my business philosophy current and realistic, or should I rewrite my plan?
  • If I ever find something that needs to go, I don’t ever make it a personal issue. These are business decisions, handled professionally.

I’ve been in business for 12 years, and Redwood has grown and expanded in that time. We do everything now! So I sympathize with other small business owners (and solopreneurs!) who occasionally struggle with their plans.

It really all comes down to making the best decisions for your company. So use these 5 queries, and try to be as realistic and professional as possible with your answers: sometimes a muddy situation becomes clearer when you ask the right question.

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Jennifer Ray
Jennifer Ray
Jennifer Ray is the creative director and founder of Redwood. She is an expert at custom web design, WordPress development, digital marketing, UX design, local SEO, branding & graphic design. With 20 years of experience, Jennifer brings an unmatched level of expertise to her clients in the Raleigh & Wake Forest area.