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Small Steps, Big Impact: How Daily Actions Drive Business Success

A young Asian woman with long hair in a braid is climbing a cliff next to the ocean while carefully studying the next place to grab.
Climbing the wall one grip at a time

Perhaps you have a business pain keeping you up at night, and you imagine your life without this pain. Perhaps it seems like an insurmountable cliff. The actual path to success lies in the action you take today. You know your destination, but what can you do today to reach that goal?

Key takeaways

  • Visualizing your goals helps clarify your direction and motivates you to take action.

  • Creating a "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" (BHAG) can provide a clear vision for your business's future.

  • Small, consistent daily habits are the building blocks for achieving long-term success in your business and personal life.

Start with a vision

Elite athletes practice running through their routines and moves in their minds and have found as much benefit from visualizing their actions as from actual practice. Rock climbers will close their eyes and imagine every hold and placement of their entire route to surmount even the tallest cliff. Small business owners can apply this same practice to visualize their own business success.

How does visualizing success bring actual success to your business?

  1. Clarifying Goals: When you create a mental or visual image of what you want to achieve, it becomes more precise in your mind. This clarity is essential because you can only achieve a goal if you're entirely sure what it is. You want to have a direction to make progress. How do you know that the actions and tasks you are doing every day are even helpful?

  2. Enhancing Motivation: Visualizations are motivating. They create a sense of excitement and anticipation about your goals, making you more likely to take action toward them. By envisioning a better future, you will get your 'why' and increased clarity and motivation to take action.

  3. Programming Your Subconscious: The subconscious mind is a powerful force. Visualizations can program your subconscious to work towards your goals even when you do not think about them. Your subconscious can lead to serendipitous opportunities and actions that align with your objectives.

How can business owners visualize success?


Set a timer for 5 minutes to brain-dump your dreams of where you hope to be with your business in 5 years. Try to imagine all the details of this new successful life. Imagine the outcomes if you were able to overcome this problem. What would success look like? How will you know if you have been successful?

Big Hairy Audacious Goal

You can consolidate your brain dump into a "Big Hairy Audacious Goal" (BHAG) to make the image more clear.

For example, here's my personal BHAG:

"To support my family while working only 20 hours per week, so that I can prioritize self-care, cherish quality time with friends and family, and actively engage in community volunteer work. Through my journey, I hope to inspire countless others to embrace a balanced and purpose-driven life, where individuals become better humans and thus contribute to a better world."

While having a big vision of your future can be inspirational, it is only effective if you look at small next steps. You will only achieve your goals with small daily actions that move you in the right direction.

Find daily actions to drive business success

Jay Shetty wanted to see gorillas in Rwanda. He could have wandered around the jungle for weeks without ever seeing gorillas. However, he went with trackers who just looked for one sign at a time, footprints, scat, broken branches, etc., until they reached the gorillas.

The same is true for us. We need to pay attention to our present situation and find the next step. The Getting Things Done method has popularized a system of brainstorming and developing next steps to spur you to action and progress toward your goals.

James Clear writes in Atomic Habits that by taking the daily actions of the person we want to become, we develop into the person we want to be and are able to achieve our goals.

For example, I want to prioritize self-care, so I must consider what I can do today. For me, self-care means taking time to meditate, eat nutritious foods, sleep and exercise. One small step is a daily 10-minute HIIT exercise. Although it may not be my ideal vision of self-care habits, it is achievable. The more I do it, the more I build my confidence in self-care, which emboldens me to attempt more actions toward this healthy self.

While our goals provide direction and motivation, the small daily habits we take will make the difference.

What daily actions will drive your business success?

Consider your goals. Now, find the actions that will move you toward your goals. What does a person who has achieved these same goals do? Think of small, consistent actions you can take each day and break them down into the simplest steps. Here are some examples of habits you could implement. Pick one that will support your vision and start it today. Once you are regular with that, pick up another!

  • map out your top 3 daily priorities before you jump into your daily tasks

  • fill in all the time blocks on your calendar

  • write something fun on your calendar

  • read an industry article

  • meditate for 5 minutes

  • start all emails with the name of the person you are writing to

  • greet customers and employees by name

  • look people in the eyes when you talk to them

  • spend 5 minutes at the end of the day to write down one win and 3 priorities for the next day

  • write down everything you need to do

  • write down your ideas

  • write down your concerns, worries and challenges

  • wake up at the same time every day

  • wake up earlier than you need to so you can have some quiet focus time

  • put self-care time on your calendar

  • say please and thank you to your employees

  • set a time for email

  • ask a customer for feedback

  • share your expertise on social media

  • learn something new (does not need to be business related, but gets your brain working)

  • meet weekly with your team

  • get your heart rate up

  • set a time to stop working each day

  • send thank you cards to your customers

  • review expenses and find something to cut

  • eat lunch mindfully (at a table with no phone or work)

  • meet with a group of other business owners

Download the Free Learning Guide to develop a plan to learn the skills you need to reach your goal.


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