The most powerful question you can ask yourself in business

As business owners — really just as humans — it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in reacting to day to day life. And while that’s certainly important, it’s really easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and end up bouncing around doing a bunch of different things instead of making real progress.

To avoid falling into this trap, you need to periodically ask yourself:

What’s the number one goal you could achieve or change you could make or problem you could solve that would have the biggest positive impact on your business?

Although it seems pretty straightforward, it really is the most powerful question that you can ask in running your business — so much so that it’s the first question that I ask people that I coach privately. And I keep on asking it.

Start out general.

Do you need to build your platform? Get systems set up in your business so that you don’t have to scramble all the time? Start transforming your business to a passive income model so you can move on to the next thing and not always be trading time for money? What’s the single most important goal right now?

(And don’t fall into the trap of naming your top two or three. The more concentrated your attention is on ONE goal, the better results you’ll get. If you really can’t stop yourself, then name three or four, but choose ONE to focus on first and put the others on a list so you can focus on them after you’ve knocked out the first one.)

Then get really specific.

What are the exact steps you need to get to that goal? Think very, very specifically, and break down any larger steps into little ones. Once you’ve done this, arrange them in order of things that have to happen first, second, and so on so that you never lose your momentum wondering what to do next.

As you’re figuring this out, don’t try to get too specific with dates or rigid scheduling, because you probably don’t have a very good idea of how long it’s going to take anyway. One of my mentees who was transitioning his already successful active business into passive income thought the process would take between 18 months and three years. Six weeks after we first met, he had reached his goal and made £600,000 that year! The power of focus …

Finally, think about what happens after you succeed.

What will things look like once you’ve accomplished your goal? What are you going to feel like, or have? There are a few reasons for thinking about this. First, when you visualize concrete results that will occur when you’ve completed your goal, you increase your chances of success. (Sounds crazy? This process is very commonly used by elite athletes, with studies showing that this kind of visualization causes shifts in both cognitive and physical function.)

The other reason for thinking about what happens afterwards is so that you don’t find yourself caught short not knowing where to go next. While you definitely don’t need a concrete plan of exactly what you’re going to do next, you should have a general direction in mind.

Accountability time: what is the single most important goal you could achieve or change you could make or problem you could solve that would have the biggest positive impact on your business? Tell me your answer below.