What does it mean to be intentional in your business?
Intentional means “to be done with intention or on purpose; deliberate”
Intentional actions are vital for your business. They may not be always successful and they may not always have an extensive plan behind them, but they should always have meaning. By that, I mean that every action will a) move you closer to your goal or b) help you to learn what doesn’t work. Intentional, purposeful work will ultimately be what gets you to where you want to be. Being intentional in your business looks like not putting things on your ‘to do’ list that won’t move you forward – tasks that won’t lead to a more fulfilling life, more clients, more money, more freedom, more opportunities. As an entrepreneur, having strategy, goals and knowing where to put the time/energy/money is what will empower you to keep going when times get tough and to avoid burning out.
To know what your intentional actions should be, you need to measure your progress. It’s something that as solopreneurs especially, we don’t do consistently or in some cases, at all. We’re all guilty of looking at ‘vanity’ statistics like follower numbers. They’re the easiest to access, easiest to analyse (your account is either growing or it’s not) and the easiest to compare to others. They’re the first thing we’re greeted with when we land on our profiles, while all other useful data is only a few clicks away. Whether it’s figures or feedback from clients, you should be consistently making time for measuring your progress, all while giving any new strategies time to get results (positive, neutral or negative).
So what should you measure as an entrepreneur?
- When, where, how and why you’re most productive – for this I suggest journaling each evening to reflect on your day. Think about why today was/wasn’t productive. Were you in a different environment? Were there distractions? Is there something going on that’s affecting your ability to concentrate? Are you giving yourself enough time to complete the tasks needed? Do some tasks excite you more than others? At the end of the month, look for patterns from each of your journal entries.
- Engagement rate and returning visitors percentage – if you’re measuring your social and website traffic, these two analytics are what will give you an indication of what is resonating with your audience and therefore where it’s worth spending your time. While growth is great, essentially you need to focus on nurturing those who are with you now to build a trusting and loyal base, whilst continuing to do so as you grow.
- The effectiveness of your copy and branding – which buttons get the most clicks that convert? Is there a formula to your social media posts that receive the most shares? What encourage the most sign ups or email opens? Where do people drop off?
- Competitors actions and your collaboration results – whenever you start to compare yourself to your ‘competitors’, turn it into a positive. Who has an engaged, trusting audience? Who posts consistently? Whose personality do you connect with? Which of these people can you team up with? What did your initial contact with them look like? When you collaborated, what came of it?
- Client retention rate and how you acquired them – What percentage of clients came from referrals? How did you approach the upsell? What problems were you able to help solve? What results did your clients get?
- Income and expenses – what does your current income mean for you? Have you given yourself permission to earn more? Are you charging enough? Do your investments bring a good return for you (financially or otherwise)? While you need to know these for tax purposes, it’s vital to understand what these mean for your business.
It’s likely that you come across each of these everyday, but aren’t reflecting on what they mean for your business and for you. Analysing your results is made much easier when you streamline your processes for measuring each day/week. Doing this, will shape your future work. Focussing on your vanity statistics won’t.
What can you learn by measuring your progress?
I’d love to hear about what your intentional actions look like in the comments below!
You might also like to read: Collaboration Over Competition: Why it’s so important for your business