Managing expectations is a tricky business. As business owners, we create a business plan and move forward with the execution of the business plan. Inevitably, there will be areas of success and challenge. Having realistic expectations means that you can celebrate your successes and plan for more AND you can dissect your challenges and plan for less. In a perfect world.
How do we manage our expectations properly and not suffer bone-crushing disappointment at the challenges?
1. Identify and Define Your Business, Your Customers and Market -You cannot set realistic expectations if you do not know who you are as a business, who your customers are and what the market already supports. Doing legwork and observing your competition while developing your own brand is vital. Watching trends and following industry leaders can give you a heads up about what is up and coming in your market.
2. Be Flexible – Flexibility is the name of the game in any business. Do not repeat behaviors that led to challenging situations – change them! Develop your business so that you can make changes and adjustments without putting your current business at risk.
3. Set Realistic Goals – frequently, I am speaking with other entrepreneurs or clients and as they discuss their goals, they compare themselves to other entrepreneurs or brands who are light years ahead of them in business experience and sweat equity. Our good friend and Return on Happiness Expert, JoAnna Brandi, recently wrote a blog post that came to mind about this – Compare at Your Own Risk.
If you are currently writing your first book, you cannot compare yourself to Guy Kawasaki who has written 10 books and has decades of experience and networking and consider that a realistic expectation or model for success. As JoAnna points out:
If you want to increase your Positivity ratio every day – stay away from comparison with others. Set your own personal goals, choose a picture of what your own personal best looks like and let that be your north star.
4. Celebrate Your Successes – Too often we forget to celebrate our successes, especially as newer business owners. This is a challenging time to get a business of the ground so remembering the success that you have had and repeating that positive behavior is the way to forge ahead.
5. Analyze Your Challenges – No one likes to fail but challenges or failures in business give us valuable information on how to proceed into the future. Build the analysis process into your team function to analyze “why” challenges occurred and how to address them immediately to change the future. Refer back to #2 and then set some new goals.
Being an entrepreneur is not all glory – I am actually still waiting for the glory but I am content and satisfied in watching my business grow steadily. The glory will come!