Business meetings can be the bane of an entrepreneur’s existence, am I right? Because I work with a virtual team, we have frequent Skype or Google Hangout chats. Prior to these meetings we have an agenda and we also have a drop-dead stop time so that we can all get back to work. A meeting that goes on and on tends to lose its impact and your attendees lose focus.
Here are my tips to running an effective business meeting, whether in person or online:
Don’t go into any meeting without an agenda. Ask those involved what they want to see on the agenda, add it to it and send it around to everyone prior to the meeting. This doesn’t mean there won’t be deviations from the agenda, but it will give you a roadmap to follow.
Have one person be responsible for the meeting. This team leader will start the meeting, move through the agenda, take notes and wrap the meeting up at the specified time. This format allows all in attendance to focus on the speaker and know they will receive notes on tasks that were assigned to them.
If a topic will be too long or involved or will only involve one or two of the team members, take it off line. There is not reason to hold “side meetings” on the team meeting and force all other parties to sit through a topic or a task list that doesn’t pertain to them.
Declare your meeting times as “device-free” times. Your staff should be paying attention to the meeting, not to their cell phones or email alerts.
Keep the meeting to seven or fewer people. More than that and the meeting will run long and not everyone will get a chance to speak. Smaller is better.
Keep the meeting to one hour or less, if possible.
Use the last ten minutes of the meeting to recap and to make certain that all parties know their marching orders.
How often does your team meet? Are the meetings effective?
What is one of the biggest and best investments you can make in yourself and your business in the coming year? Working with a business coach. I don’t just say this because I am a business coach, I say it because I have hired and have worked with a business coach for many, many years. Why do I need a business coach? The same reason you might want to consider one and here are some of those reasons:
A coach will help you focus on your goals and set measurable, specific actions to achieve them. He or she will challenge you to help you make certain those goals will forward your overall business objectives.
A coach will hold you accountable. It’s easy to say, “I’m going to do XYZ,” but if you don’t have anyone to “report” back to on whether you did truly achieve XYZ, it’s easy to let those items fall by the wayside.
Your coach will be an objective observer on whether you are moving your goals forward. He or she will also be able to objectively tell you whether you’re spinning your wheels and even if you’re procrastinating and can even help you determine why you may be doing either or both.
A coach will push you to levels you may not have imagined you’d be able to achieve. Your coach is on your side and wants to see you excel.
Your coach will help you work on items that will contribute to your business success. As entrepreneurs it’s easy to get sidetracked and not achieve the goals we truly want for our businesses. A coach will keep you on track and on the path you’ve chosen.
Have you ever worked with a coach? What was your experience?
The new year will be here before you know it and now is the ideal time to put together your 2016 business resolution list. Here are some of the items I talk with my coaching clients about and they just might be business resolutions you will want to emulate.
Learn how to delegate and actually do it. Entrepreneurs cannot do it all alone. They need to rely on a support staff. Take time. Hire right. Get more done.
You should be promoting your business regularly across social media channels and on your business blog. If you don’t have active social media channels or you’re not blogging you are missing an opportunity to bring new clients into the fold. If you don’t know where to begin, give me a call.
Take time every week to plan for your business and its priorities. Write down your short and long term goals and put practices into place to help you achieve them.
Never stop learning. Business and business practices are continually changing, no matter what industry you’re in. You need to change and learn to keep up. Commit to reading books, networking and attending networking events and conferences to keep your skills honed.
Join a networking or mastermind group. Talk with colleagues and with business owners in different industries as a way to garner new ideas and enhance your own business vitality.
Volunteer. Entrepreneurs may feel they don’t have time, but volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community, but it is also an opportunity to network and share with others what it is that you do.
Take time for yourself. If you need to, schedule down time on your calendar. Burnout is a very real thing for entrepreneurs. Don’t fall victim to this. Take time to relax and play.
Feel free to let go of items that simply aren’t working. Don’t look at it as a failure, look at it as an experiment. You tried it, it didn’t work, and now you’re moving on.
What do you resolve to do for your business this year?
The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is the best time to undertake a self assessment. You should take the time to measure the successes you’ve achieved and make note of those goals that went unmet. As part of this you will want to look at the ways in which you either built your self confidence or showed your self assurance to your staff and to those business colleagues with whom you network.
Here are some ways to show your confidence and self assurance. Add these to your checklist for your 2016 business and personal goal planning:
Make note of and redefine your goals and visions. Take what you did last year and either expand up on it or set new goals and visions in your personal and your business life. Give yourself a “motto” for the year or choose a couple of words that will describe how you want the year to proceed. For example some of my coaching clients choose words like: Drive or focus or gratitude or growth. Choose words that speak to you.
Understand your strengths and your weaknesses. If you identify those areas in which you need assistance you can look to outsourcing or to learning that particular skill.
Polish up your communication skills. Whether verbal or written, we are a world in which our words carry weight and because of that you need to not only choose your words wisely, but you need to put them forth in their best possible light in all written and verbal communications.
Take risks in both your personal and your business endeavors. Make a deal with yourself that 2016 will be the year you embrace change and take on that risky proposition you’d been putting off.
Entrepreneurs wear many hats and juggle many balls. Because of that it’s important to make certain that your days are productive — not just long. Working a 14 or 18 hour day doesn’t necessarily make you a productive entrepreneur, it just makes you one who works long hours.
Here are my tips for making sure your days are productive:
Have a clear vision of how you want your day to progress and what you need to do
Break your day down into sectors and tackle your most difficult tasks during your most productive time and those tasks that don’t require so much attention toward your less productive times
Don’t put too much on your plate. Delegate when you can
Make your to-do list for the next day before you leave the office
Cross off those items you’ve completed — it’s a great feeling to see those check marks
Schedule time to look at your larger goals and make plans to chip away at them
Make sure you have income-generating activities on your to-do list; in other words, don’t get bogged down in paperwork and forget to reach out to clients and potential clients.
Take any unfinished tasks, move them to the next day and do them first
Schedule time away from the office. Get out. Get some exercise. Take time to play. Leave the office for networking events and to attend conferences and training. You need to stay top of your game and up to date on all changes in your industry.