When you are in the midst of running your own business, time seems to fly. Often it's hard to know if you are moving forward or just treading water. A good friend of mine told me many years ago how he uses photographs to measure if his business is moving ahead. I have used his advice ever since and now I realize that having a sense of progress is essential to feeling positive about your business and the future.
I take photographs of my premises, my staff, any promotions or events that we hold, and any other general bits and pieces that have some relevance to me. Along with these photographs, I also collect pieces of promotional material, samples of office stationery, letters from customers, and so on, which I keep in a photo album. They provide a snapshot of my business during its various stages of evolution.
The album is a time capsule of sorts which shows that we are moving forward. I look at the album from my first business almost 30 years ago and, apart from realizing how young (and thin) I looked, I see that I have come a long way. This adds a perspective that is sometimes hard to get in any other way.
Keep a pictorial history of your business. If you find that it looks the same today as it did ten years ago, you might need to move things along a bit. It's also a great tool to show people who may be looking to buy your business, as it adds flesh to the profit and loss statement.
When we can measure progress, we feel a sense of satisfaction and that in turn keeps us passionate about our business. And a passionate business owner is far more likely to build a successful business as opposed to someone who feels like they are just going through the motions.