You've become an entrepreneur. You've launched and nurtured your business. You've controlled the direction, message and outcome.
Actually, you've achieved your dream, but now you wonder if it really was your dream.
There could be solid reasons for what happened and it's important you understand those before you continue on
Does this sound like you? If so, take a minute to assess where you are, if you've strayed off your original entrepreneurial path and learn how to get back on course. Not sure where to start? We'll guide you.
Revisit your original goals
There's no shame in straying from your original plans. It happens to entrepreneurs all the time. What matters is that you recognize it and really understand the cause. Here's how.
1. Consult your business plan, first and frequently. It was your original roadmap that you verified would guide you from your starting point toward the entrepreneurial promised land.
Check it to make sure your plan was accurate, complete and reasonable. Then consider how you could have stayed on track if you would have revisited that plan on a regular basis. That will be important to keeping you on target from here on out.
2. Pinpoint when you went astray. Identify the actions and events that lead to it. It's important to understand where you strayed and why. There could be solid reasons for what happened and it's important you understand those before you continue on.
3. Determine how far off course you are. Consider the cost to your original goals, what it might cost to maneuver back toward your original destination and what it might cost if you don't.
Proper prioritization can help budding entrepreneurs achieve their goals
Considering this will help you understand if your change in path was a subconscious reaction of going where you really wanted to go rather than what you thought might make "most sense." You need to listen to this carefully because, more often than not, it reveals the truth of what your head and heart really want to achieve.
Check your priorities
Next, look at your priorities. Entrepreneurs sometimes go off course because they have trouble doing the right things in their work, in the big-picture view and in the day-to-day churn.
Churn requires focused labor, and that is work, which can sometimes be enough to scare off entrepreneurs of the newer generation. There's no denying they want to make their own way, but sometimes their level of resolve to do the work can be suspect.
But proper prioritization can help budding entrepreneurs achieve their goals even when it comes time to plow through the less-sexy tasks. Hard work is hard work, but usually the harder the work, the greater the reward.
If you fear you strayed, review how you prioritized your daily, monthly and yearly tasks. Did you always strive to do what needed to be done, or did you elect too often to do what was easiest or most fun? Only you can answer the question, but the good news is that you can control what you'll do next to get back on path.
Looking for an escape?
Many businesspeople start in 1 direction only to discover that it wasn't where they wanted to go in the first place
Now if your entrepreneurial effort has you wishing you could be somewhere else, away from your business, then you might not be doing what it is you truly wish to do.
It's OK—many businesspeople start in 1 direction only to discover that it wasn't where they wanted to go in the first place. Sometimes they choose a destination that seems easy to reach, but it's not always the destination that will fully satisfy their wants and desires.
If that becomes the case, does that mean you've failed? Not at all.
Start asking yourself where you want to escape to. The answer will clarify what it is you really want to be doing, in business and in life.
Ask if your fantasy destination makes best use of your talents, your inclinations and your personal hopes. If said oasis embodies all (or just some of) what you most yearn for, listen carefully—you might have just found what it is that you really want. And if this is your case, you can now make the correction that gets you on the right track.
Don't be embarrassed, though. Many others start off in the wrong direction, but the smart ones learn where it is that they really want to go and then go there.
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Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay…and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues.
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