Small Biz Advice: Too Scattered to Succeed?


holly-photoHolly Howard runs Ask Holly How, a small business consulting company based out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn that works with a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to retail to art studios and pretty much everything in between. Her clients report increased income and profit, decreased expenses and a significantly better quality of life. Holly heads up the Small Business Book Club at McNally Jackson Books.

Want valuable insight into how to grow your business?  Holly hosts FREE 30 minute strategy sessions at The Yard in Williamsburg.  Email her to set up a time or to ask a question for the next Ask Holly How.

Dear Holly,
I’m a music producer here in Brooklyn. I’m having a hard time sorting out my business lately. I’m currently recording artists, which is going well but could always improve, and I also want to start a personal project of my own, and start another venture with a potential partner. I feel like I’m all over the place and can’t seem to focus on anything I’m supposed too. I’m not sure how to decide which project I should be focusing on and investing my energy in. I’m so overwhelmed I’ve just kind of shut down and haven’t been doing a great job on anything.

How do I know where I should be investing my time and how to make all of my projects work together? Any advice?



Dear Scattered,
You’re lucky that you have so many options! You must be very good at what you do. It’s great when we are creative and can dream up so many ideas, but the real challenge and success of your business lies in the execution of each venture. I once had a great teacher who used the analogy of juggling. Think about when someone starts to juggle, they don’t just throw all of the balls up in the air at once. You start with one, and then add another, and then you get those going, before you add more to the mix. The key is to get one venture started before throwing another one on top of it. If you throw all of the balls in the air at the same time, it is likely most of them will come crashing down. Same goes for your projects.

So, look at your three ventures: recording artists, your personal project, and a new partnership. Decide which one you need to focus on now before adding another activity into the mix. It seems like your current project is recording. Make sure that that business is running fluidly and without a hitch before you start on your own personal work. Take some time to analyze your operations and the overall health of that business. Is there anywhere you can improve or grow? Take the time to do a thorough analysis and improve where you need to. Once it’s running smoothly, you can divert some of your time to starting the next project.

Be sure to do some planning before you dive in to your next venture. Consider if your new venture will support your old business and not be a drain of your time and energy. Question your motivation and make sure it is in your best interest before you start taking time away from a business that is already up and running. Often, we have great ideas, but when we start to flush them out—even minimally—-we realize that they aren’t a wise business move.

Finally, get organized! Nothing makes running multiple businesses easier than staying organized and on top of things. You want to make sure that things don’t start to slip through the cracks when you spread yourself out. You want to make sure you can track everything that you have going on and keep your finger on the pulse of each business. The best way to guarantee this is to use all of the tools you can to manage your projects and keep yourself organized.

Good luck! Focus on one thing at a time, plan wisely, and you will be able to achieve everything you desire!


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