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How to Always Create Meaningful Strategy In Your Small Business

Over the weekend, we visited friends at their lake house near Kansas City. It was gorgeous and sunny and we were soaking in all the rays with pontoon cruises and kayak excursions.

Then, out of nowhere late Saturday afternoon, I rolled my ankle. I’d had only one sip of Prosecco, so that wasn’t the problem. 

I walked out of the house and was headed back down to the dock, enjoying the view in front of me. And I just plain missed a step. My right ankle buckled, I literally saw stars, and had to put my head between my knees to keep myself from passing out. 

I babied my ankle the rest of the weekend and am icing it right now, while I’m typing this. 

This situation reminded me of what it sometimes feels like to be an entrepreneur. You’re going along, minding your own business, then out of nowhere, something changes everything. 

A business partner wants out. A big client decides to go another route. A global pandemic shuts all small business down. 

This last year has been HARD for so many of us. 

The thing that keeps me going is knowing that I can continuously reinvent myself and my business. Years ago, my dad gave my some great advice, “Define your ideal lifestyle and work backwards.” (I actually just wrapped up a series on this for Business Insider that I’ll share with you once they’re published). 

That advice was the idea behind a framework I created about a year ago. I called it the OnTrack Wheel, because as long as my Intent (my life’s purpose) was defined, I could always find a way forward. Any time I’m stuck or something doesn’t work out the way I planned, I can always anchor myself with this framework. 

Here it is, along with the questions I ask myself at each stage. 

Intent

What am I trying to achieve? What are my short term goals? What are my long term goals? How are they similar or different than the last time I checked in? 

Insight

Who am I trying to help? What do I know about them, their desires, and challenges? What solution am I offering and is it still valuable? 

Infrastructure

What systems do I already have in place? What content is already available to use and share? Who on my team can help and with what, specifically? 

Action

What are the specific and measurable steps I can take to provide value plus accomplish my goals?

Evaluate & Optimize

How will I know when I’m successful?

This process serves as an anchor when things don’t go according to plan. It’s a reminder of why I’m doing the work and for whom, which always puts me back on track. 

Now it’s your turn. Answer the questions for each phase and see where it leads you. If you want some extra accountability, be sure to subscribe for regular tips and insights. And you can always hit reply to those emails and talk to me directly. 

-Shanna 

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