One of the most common things my small business coaching clients want is clarity in their business. Most of them want a clear goal and a clear path to get there. Don’t we all! Well, I’ve sat down and looked at my notes and brought together some key tips for those of you who wonder: “Who am I? Where am I going? How am I going to get there?”
There are three common aspects to business clarity:
1. Strategic clarity
2. Clarity of communications
3. Clarity of self
Let’s start with the most common one, strategic.
What is strategic clarity in business?
Strategic clarity is where are we going and how are we going to get there? It’s probably the most common business clarity questions asked as it is determining the aims and objectives of the business.
Why is strategic clarity important?
Knowing where your business is headed and how you’re going to get there helps:
1. Achieving the goal and strategy as it is known and articulated
2. Avoids distraction or shiny object syndrome
3. Helps to clarify progress, against previous performance and competitors
4. Focuses resources, time, money, and energy
5. Gives opportunities to celebrate success, removing resentment of a constant unappreciated slog
6. Makes your process repeatable or reviewable if you need to set up again
What business often forgets when developing their strategic clarity
When setting their strategic direction businesses are clear on where they are headed and how they are getting there, but often forget the why. The why in strategic clarity, is the most important as it’s what keeps the business on track when times are tough and businesses start questioning themselves.
Strategic clarity is more than goal setting and a procedure map, it needs to include the overarching impetus for the business. Simon Sinek, renowned though leader, tells us to Start with Why. Every business started with an idea that perhaps they could do something better, make a difference to an industry, or somehow impact others. This is the core to the most important piece of clarity for any business.
A while ago I wrote an article on the importance of why to having a profitable business. It goes deeper into Simon Sinek’s quote, People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This is the strategic clarity missed by small business. It’s more than a mission or vision statement. It’s your story. It’s something bigger than you and your business. The beauty is that when you understand this, you are able to progress to the next part of finding clarity in your business: clarity of communication.
Clarity of communication
What is clarity of communication?
Being clear in what you say may seem obvious and easy enough, but there are common mistakes businesses make.
- Using industry terms or jargon your customers don’t know or understand (or don’t need to know)
- Using complex language to explain or express yourself (passive voice, overly formal, or being verbose)
- Making the content all about you when you should be talking to and about your audience so they take action
- Not telling people what action they need to take
Why is clarity of communication important for business?
Clarity of communication avoids confusion. Clarity of communication creates and builds relationships. Clarity of communication tells people where they stand and sets expectations. Clarity of communication drives action. All of these aspects are necessary to having a profitable business.
What businesses often forget when aiming for clarity of communication
Most businesses forget that their communication is there to educate, entertain, or inspire. That means that it all needs to be done with the audience in mind and what their audience finds educational, entertaining, or inspires them to take action. It also needs to be relevant as to why your audience comes to you and consumes your communication. Without these things, your communication falls flat. I wrote this article on creating engaging content and developed this checklist/training on creating your own engaging content.
However, the biggest mistake I see is that businesses forget that their customers are watching their every move and what is left unsaid can have a larger impact, what is said unplanned can damage, and what they do speaks louder than any words ever could.
The biggest gap that businesses should remember is that people will hold you to what you say and if you let them down, you lose their trust and you lose your integrity. In addition, what people say about you and your business when you’re not around and when you have no control holds a lot of weight. What we say to our friends and family, what we say online but away from your sight are all ways a brand and business is communicated, you need to ensure it’s clear and positive even when things go wrong (and there are right ways to handle bad feedback).
Clarity of self
What is clarity of self?
Who are you? What do you stand for? What change do you want to make in your world? What do you want to influence? What keeps you up at night? What are your drivers, particularly your values? What holds you back from being all you can be? It’s so much more than where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years’ time.
Why is clarity of self important as a business owner?
Like your business, being clear with yourself helps keep you on the right path, but it also all helps you to identify areas for growth. Being clear on who you are and what you stand for gives you the ability to the take anything that upsets or angers you and allows you to then see why you feel that way and if this is something you need to work on in yourself. It’s a way to grow as a person and become a better version of yourself.
What business owners forget about their own clarity
Too often business owners forget to define their clarity of self. They are so caught up in progressing their business that they lose track of themselves. Other times, they define themselves by the roles they have, parent, child, business owner and not what makes them be a particular version of that role (not all parents/children/business owners are created equal, why is that?).
While so much of your small business is tied to who you are, you are more than your small business. When you sit back and look at that you will lose the need to compare, you will be more confident, and you will find peace in who you are. I wish this for you and I am here for you when you would like help to find it.
My favourite benefit of clarity in business
I have spent much time defining and refining what my business is, the change it wants to make, and more recently who I am. The beauty of having clarity is not what I am or do, it’s what I’m not and won’t. There is incredible strength in being clear on what you won’t stand for or be or bring into this world. There’s also peace in knowing that’s part of who you or your business are. When I’ve found it and let it go, I’ve found happiness as I can be more authentic, purposeful, and it’s a sort of homecoming after all the other roles I’ve had (wife, mother, and wondering who I actually am).
It can be hard deciding that something no longer serves you or your business, but once you let it go (and I’ve had clients let businesses go) there is a lot of relief. Stopping something gives you space do something which serves you and your clients better. And I’m all for leading a happier, calmer, and better life.