There are many theories about how to run a successful online business but in this article, I break down 5 practical tips that you can implement immediately to see a dramatic improvement in your results.
These 5 tips will work best for you if you are an online based business, but could also apply to just about any type of business as well. Basically, if you have a blog, podcast, or youtube channel then these tips will help you to get more organized, more consistent, and more profitable overall.
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1. Create Goals & Action Plans NOT To-Do Lists
Most people like the satisfaction of checking off items from a to-do list. But, to-do lists can deceive you by making you think you are productive when you are really just doing busywork.
To-do lists are typically not tied to a bigger picture goal. If you have ever felt like you are always so busy but not really productive (or that you are just spinning your wheels getting nowhere!), then this is probably why.
Setting specific goals and then creating an action plan to achieve those goals is a much more productive use of your time. Your goals should inspire you and motivate you to keep going every day.
Don’t underestimate the power of this simple shift…
Once you set the goal & create a plan, doing the work will actually lead to the end result that you want.
You can see a massive shift in the results you achieve by making this one tweak in how you set up your days!
Watch this video to learn more about creating an effective action plan:
2. Define your systems, workflows, & checklists
Systems are the big picture activities that you need to run your business.
The 4 typical business systems are:
- Sales & conversions
- Product/service delivery
A workflow is the sequential steps you need to go through to complete something specific within a system (i.e. completing a blog post).
A checklist is not a to-do list…it’s a list of everything you need to complete a step within a workflow.
For example, completing a blog post usually includes these 4 main steps:
- Research & planning
- Writing & editing
Each step within the blog completion workflow has its own checklist of things to do.
You most likely are already doing this on some level if you are creating content, but if it’s not documented somewhere it needs to be.
You can keep this simple with pen & paper documents inside a binder or you can use a digital tool like Asana, Trello, or ClickUp.
I like to use Asana to document all my systems, workflows, and checklists.
The key is to keep this simple – going overboard with documenting every little thing you do can lead to overwhelm and defeats the purpose. Start high-level and then only drill down as much as needed.
3. Plan by the Quarter
Planning by the quarter is one of the “best-kept secrets” in business. To get started, you first start with your big picture quarterly goals & focuses.
I like to keep this to no more than 3 big things – an income goal, an audience goal, and a specific project or focus.
Next, you can break the quarter down into monthly goals & action plans. Simply take the big quarter goals & projects and divide them up over the next 3 months.
Then, you can plan the bigger tasks needed to achieve each monthly goal & project. And break things down even further into your purposeful weekly checklists & workflows.
This is the secret weapon strategy that will keep you cohesive, consistent, and clear in everything you do in your business.
You will always know why you are doing things in your business & how you are going to do them.
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This is an important but often overlooked or dismissed step! But the truth is, you need to a clean environment in order to think more clearly.
Start by decluttering your physical spaces first. Then move onto your digital files, computers, & phones.
You’ll also want to clean & organize your email inbox – this is one of the digital spaces that can quickly get cluttered and out-of-control.
When these spaces are decluttered you will feel less stressed and freer to focus on your work.
The last area to declutter is your mind. This can be done by doing regular brain dumps where you get everything out of your head & onto paper.
Take 10 minutes to simply write down everything you are thinking about and you will instantly feel much clearer! You can also incorporate journaling or talking with a mentor or coach into your week.
The secret to success with decluttering is that it’s not a one-and-done step! This is something you want to do on a regular basis for it to be effective (daily, weekly, or monthly).
5. Prioritize regular CEO time
You can not effectively run your business if you’re working IN it all the time. Regular CEO or “business owner” time is needed so you can step back and make sure you are focused on the things that really matter.
During your CEO time, you can focus on the previous 4 steps but it’s also a good time to analyze & track your data so you know how you are progressing towards your goals & can make any adjustments when needed.
You also want to use your CEO time to create a clear vision for you & your business.
Because in order to truly succeed you need to be working towards a vision that really lights you up & motivates you to keep taking action each & every day.
Even when it’s scary, when it’s hard, when you’re not in a good mood, or when you fail & need to pick yourself back up & keep going!
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To Wrap Up...
Now you know 5 very practical steps to get organized and run a successful online business:
- Create Goals & Action Plans NOT To-Do Lists
- Define your systems, workflows, & checklists
- Plan by the Quarter
- Declutter (physical, digital, & mind)
- Prioritize regular CEO time
The best part is that these are all free and relatively easy to implement. Getting a firm grip on how you run your business is an essential step in your long-term growth.
You can put these into practice right away and start seeing massive successes in your business asap!
Hi, I'm Stephanie
I’m an online business strategist for digital content creators. It’s my mission to help you implement the right foundations, systems, and strategies needed to build a business you love.