I'm asked all the time, "what could I do that will help me grow faster?" And I"d love to have just one answer, but of course I Don't. The "what" is different for each person who hires me, because they are running their business differently that someone else. What I can tell you is that when you're not winning like you"d like to be winning, there are tried and true things that can help you and you're not going to like the answer. So I'll hold off on telling you the answer for a little bit longer.

Here is the main thing I see -- and it doesn"t matter how long someone has been in business or how much they're making. The business owner forgets that (s)he has to be both the boss and employee; but not at the same time, of course. Visualize this. A company without a boss. Or a solo company without an employee. Yet, many people, yes, even you, are running their businesses like that!

Even if you love the work you're doing – and I hope you are in a business you love -- like accounting or selling mortgages or being a financial planner, it is imperative that you take at least 1 day a week and be the boss of you and at least one day a week to be the marketing director! Even if you're an independent professional or agent working for a BIG company, you need to take time out to be the boss and marketer.

What do bosses do? Well in small companies, they manage the functions of the company so that everything is running smoothly. They review the performance of employees (even if they're the only employee!) They do the hiring and firing -- of consultants and clients, alike. They make sure that accounting, and purchasing, and HR functions are running without a hitch. They have a team of other business owners that they confide in, and at the very least they"ve hired a business coach to keep their ass in gear.

And now comes the part I know you won"t want to hear -- they have a plan in place that they use daily as a guide and to monitor their performance. What I find, as I talk with experienced business owners, is that the day came when they realized that the only thing that they hadn"t yet done, that they "knew" they needed to do, was create a plan. They came to this realization when
they became sick and tired of putting out fires all the time. OR they became sick and tired of knowing that they could be earning more or working less, but try as they did, something was always in the way of their continued growth.

50,000 organizations have benefited from bringing The One Page Business Plan® System into their companies. And 30 universities use the system as part of their business curriculum. Business Planning doesn"t have to be as difficult as "we" (and I was included in that "we" years
ago) make it. So if you Can't answer all of the 28 questions below confidently, it's time to put the metal to the petal and create your business and marketing plan. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain!

1. Is the legal structure of your business protecting you personally? (like an LLC, S or C Corp)
2. What services and/or products do you offer?
3. What is your experience with this market?
4. What are the risks involved with this business?
5. What are the risks you have in regards to growing your business?
6. What are your business strengths?
7. *What business are you building? (VISION)
8. What problems does your company solve?
9. Who is struggling with the problem your company solves?
10. Who is your ideal client?
11. How large is the market share for that "ideal client"?
12. Where do you find more or your clients?
13. What is the best way for them to learn about the services or products your company offers?
14. Who is your competition?
15. How do the problems your company solves differ from existing or competing businesses?
16. How does your company differ from your competition?
17. *How will your product/service help your prospects have better lives/businesses? (MISSION)
18. How are you going to make money?
19. What amount of money do you think you need to have an enjoyable life?
20. What are the core values of your company?
21. *What 10 BIG ways are you planning to market or build your company? (STRATEGIES)
22. *How will you monitor the results of your marketing efforts? (OBJECTIVES)
23. How are you pricing your services or products?
24. What does your marketing funnel look like?
25. Who is on your management team and what is their experience?
26. Who is on your board of advisors and what is their experience?
27. *What are the BIG steps that you must take to achieve your dreams? (ACTION STEPS)
28. Do you have a website that is capturing prospects?

* These 5 concepts are from The One Page Business Plan® program

Author's Bio: 

(c) 2008 Maria Marsala, founder of Elevating Your Business, a business managment company that focuses on helping financial and service industry independent professionals and small business owners get more. More money, more client, more quality free time. Claim your copy of MORE Business at www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com/free/