Long-term success in your business doesn’t just happen. Even if you’ve found some unexpected success, or you were lucky enough to get started before competition flooded the market, future success isn’t guaranteed.
I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs and visionary CEOs who are the “idea people.” They dream up the next big thing and tend to forget that their future success relies on them finding what works now. Not just starting projects that have short-term outcomes but building habits inside their businesses, their teams, and their own minds.
When you want to have a business that supports you now and in the future, you need to create systems and habits that support your business. Here are 20 business habits that my own business partner and I, Yasmine Spencer, came up with for our Productive & Profitable Party members.
3 daily business habits
Commit to just one thing.
On your most productive days, you can probably work on about 3 projects. Yes, even if you think you’re Wonder Woman. Add in meetings, emails to respond to, and notification blasts, and that can quickly shrink. Start your day by choosing one thing to accomplish. When it’s done, work on the next.
Pay attention to triggers and your resulting behavior and actions.
When you hit a wall with your writing, do you grab a mug and a snack? If a new email pops into your inbox, do you hit up Instagram? If something consistently comes up that you want to avoid, try giving yourself a time limit to complete that activity. 20 minutes and stop!
Create a plan for tomorrow.
At the end of the day, you’ll probably have a thing or two left to work on later. Make sure to add it to your list for tomorrow and move anything that can be moved.
5 weekly business habits
Dive into Finance Friday.
Logging your revenue and expenses every week (and checking in on your cash flow) can keep you motivated to work on your projects and new business. It’s also helpful to see where you’re at before you invest in something else. Plus, who doesn’t want to be less stressed come quarterly payment time?
See what’s happening in your industry.
Browse outside your echo chambers to see what conversations are happening in the market right now. If you’re a product-based business, check out design trends and purchasing habits in related industries. If you’re a service-based business, see how other service providers outside your realm of expertise are operating. There’s always something new to learn.
Nourish your audience.
Send a message to a few people who follow you, or ask an open-ended question to start a discussion with your audience. Click a few hashtags and leave comments for interesting articles or thoughts. Basically, don’t love ‘em and leave ‘em hanging. Think now about how you can create a great customer experience (even if they’re not customers yet).
Check your social links.
If you use an Instagram link page, make sure it’s pointing people where you want them and not some outdated piece of content from a few months ago. Also, make sure that you’ve got old posts directing to new launches and other promos are archived, so people aren’t finding a broken link from your months-old posts.
Oh, and don’t forget to check that your social widgets on your website are working properly.
Create a new piece of content.
You get to decide what format that is—email, podcast, LinkedIn caption, Instagram Live, TikTok, YouTube video—but all I ask is that you put something new out there. It can also help to create a content strategy around your biggest promotions or focuses for the month, so you’re always directing people to the right place.
In general, though, the habit you want to build is just creating and sharing valuable content!
6 monthly business habits
Log your metrics and data for the past month.
Then, turn them into meaningful KPIs. For example, if you had 10 inquiries that turned into 2 jobs booked, you had a 20% closure rate. If you sold $500 of product and $50 was refunded, you have a 10% refund rate. Now you know what your baseline is so you can monitor it in the future. (Need help with this? Check out my metrics & KPI tracking template.)
Jot down a list of wins from the prior month.
If you don’t write it down now, you’ll forget it when you need it. At the end of the year, when you’re making your plans for the next, it’s really helpful to have a list already ready of 20 things you nailed over the last 12 months. This helps you clearly see your strengths but also shows you what’s working.
Check in with your team members.
Whether you have weekly meetings with your team or not, take a moment to find out what’s going on in their lives and have some fun together (like an after-work happy hour, just with a few thousand miles in between). Give them a sneak peek of upcoming projects or deliverables, so they’re not blindsided when a task is given out. This is especially valuable if you work with contractors and want to get “dibs” on their future project time.
Meet someone new or deepen your connections.
Business besties are a thing (that’s what I have with Yasmine!) and you never know when someone you meet in passing could turn into an ally on a future project. You don’t even need to go anywhere new! Simply send someone a DM and connect with them personally, or even ask if they’d like to schedule a coffee chat via Zoom. This isn’t a “pick your brain” session, it’s simply getting to know someone.
Implement a quick win.
Is there something small you’ve been meaning to do but you keep putting off because it feels like a distraction at the moment? It could be fixing something in your post-purchase process or asking customers for a testimonial. Whatever it is, make it a habit (and maybe even create a Standard Operating Procedure) so that it’s easier to accomplish in the future.
A special blend of coffee or a half-day off; whatever you need to refuel after a long month, make sure to ask for it and take it! We often have the best ideas for our businesses when we’re not actively working in them. Plus, you’ll be able to prevent burnout if you’re consistently taking time for you.
6 quarterly business habits
Check your products and promotions.
While your offers may be “selling in your sleep,” you don’t want to just assume they’re all working smoothly. Every quarter, run through all of your products, services, or landing pages. Are the pages loading? Are they converting into sales? Do you have discontinued coupon codes floating around? Are there any standout products that are bringing in a lot of sales? Are there any duds that may need to be sunsetted or put on the clearance shelf?
Evaluate your team.
Your team should work like a well-oiled machine, but let’s be honest: team-building is one of the hardest parts of owning a business. So check in and ask yourself: Are the team members you have still performing well? Are there additional responsibilities they can take on? Have they been going over in hours? Provide feedback to them if needed, and don’t forget to send praise as well. Quarterly check-ins also help you assess if someone has consistently fallen behind on expectations, and if it’s time to let them go.
Assess your overall business needs.
While you’re busy supporting your team, clients, or customers, it’s easy to forget yourself in the rush. Check in with you and your needs for the business to support you. Do you need more support in getting work done? Are there new hires you should be making or consultants you should bring in soon?
Track progress on the goals you’ve set.
We all make those big, shiny goals at the start of the year. Don’t wait until a new year starts to check in on those goals. Go find them, whether you wrote them down in a notebook or you have them in your project management tool. Have you made progress? How do you know? Make sure to brainstorm ideas for closing shortfalls or getting back on track.
If you need help on understanding why you’re not gaining traction on your goals, it helps to start with my Shiny Object Syndrome workbook.
Assess your strategic projects.
If you started the year with the intention of increasing your reach and visibility, has it worked? Are you still in that phase? Or are you ready to move into new product development? Take a high-level look at your business and where it’s going next. (Find each of the six strategic pillars I recommend clients focus on here.)
Learn something new.
Take a moment to learn one small thing… even if it’s just how to change a tire via a YouTube video. It might come in handy later, but really it’s all about building the habit of stretching your brain in a new way. You can also set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour and spend that time digging into the course you bought 2 years ago and never opened.
Small habits build over time
When you’re already feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day, I know the tips I shared above can feel like 20 more things you “have to do.” But the truth is, you might already be doing these things in some capacity. It’s simply making sure that you’re doing them more (and being consistent) so they can help support you and your business.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was your business. I don’t expect you to adopt all 20 of these habits right now. Instead, start with the daily or weekly habits, setting calendar events or tasks for the ones that you need a bit of help with. From there, you can set similar calendar events or tasks for the monthly and quarterly business habits, or you can even review this list with your team. See what can be outsourced, see where you need support, and make sure that you’re being honest with yourself.
Habits can start small and build; the only key is commitment. You’ve come this far in your business by showing up every day. These habits will help you continue to do that with much more clarity and direction.