News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 6, 2013

Business Cents: Analyze your business and yourself; you’ll be glad you did

Heather Strohm
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

— Ayn Rand

As I have embarked on my career, I occasionally wonder if I’m fulfilling my life purpose. This alone got me to considering the direction that companies and their leaders take and this in turn had me considering several questions and how the outcomes of the answers can impact our lives.

The first portion of the following question set focuses on how aware you are of your surroundings and the world in which you operate. Why is that important? First, many of the opportunities in life open up when we are honest with ourselves. In addition, we all typically know what we should be doing, so why are we not doing it? And finally, the question set below creates awareness of what others really think about you. Does it align with your self-perception?

1. Are you pretending to know things that you really don’t? If so, what are they?

2. It is important to identify your values. Are you being true to them?

3. How can you figure out what you don’t know and then admit that you don’t know it?

In the next section, we will discuss impact. What impact do the various decisions have on your business and your life? Love, laugh and learn are three items that should be done daily.

4. Do you have two birds in one hand verses the one in the bush? Are you enjoying what you currently have verses what you should or would like to have?

5. In a perfect world with all your goals achieved, what is the impact?

People of influence and achievement surround us in society. What did they accept or overcome to make it to their position? Don’t accept negative responses as nos, but instead look at them as obstacles to maneuver around to reach your goals. This ultimately will make you and your business stronger.

6. “Why?” Ask yourself why you are doing something. The other questions — who, what, when and where — come later. Why eliminates excuses and procrastination.

7. “What?” What is needed and when to make your reach your goals?

Living in the Wabash Valley for more than five years and working with local small businesses for more than a decade, I have realized that business owners often neglect to ask these questions and realize the impact they have on their business. Challenge yourself; challenge your company and your staff. What if Bill Gates had said no to an idea? What if he didn’t question himself? There are a number of opportunities to seize, and it is up to you.

Heather (Penney) Strohm is the regional director for Indiana State University’s Indiana Small Business Development Center.