I’m a person who could be classified as a list maker. It’s one of, if not the, most important tool I use to stay organized and on task. In fact, my kids learned at an early age just how important Mom’s lists were. Posted on the refrigerator was a notepad where items that needed replacing were to be recorded. Need milk? Better write it down on Mom’s list. They knew that if their favorite cereal was not on the list, it wasn’t going to be purchased. I found this to be an easy way to stay organized and also teach personal responsibility to my boys.
Household lists are probably pretty common. We make grocery lists, honey do lists, wish lists, birthday lists, etc. They help us remember exactly what we need, and keep us from making unnecessary impulse buys, or from buying something we already have at home.
Lists for Business
But lists in business can be just as important. Before you open a new business, you know there are certain steps you must take. For example, what is your business structure? Are you a Sole Proprietorship? Well, then you better file a dba, or Fictitious Business Name, with the County Clerk in your state. You’ll also want to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. And of course, you’ll need a business checking account. There are clear, defined steps we all take in order to create our business entity.
However, at some point we switch to auto-pilot. We begin our day by filtering through email requests, sorting through mail, handling phone calls, and managing potential problems. And, at the end of the day, we congratulate ourselves for accomplishing these tasks.
Pretty soon we’re just managing the business and not growing the business. How do we go from managing to growing? You guessed it, you need a list.
Write it Down
First, where do you see a potential for growth? Write it down. What is your goal for growth in this specific area? Write it down. What steps are necessary in order to accomplish this goal? Write them down. What resources do you need? Write them down. Who is responsible for each task? Write it down. And finally, how will you measure your success? Write it down.
Create a checklist for growth, and incorporate it into your daily routine.