Are you an entrepreneur who has a handle on your daily to-dos? Do you make the most of your business day? Or, at the end of the day do you ask yourself, “Where did the day go and what exactly did I accomplish?” In order to be a productive and efficient entrepreneur you need to have a plan in place to address your priorities.
Making the most of your business day also means you know what to delegate, to whom to delegate it and when it makes financial sense to delegate. We know that delegation isn’t easy because your business is your “baby” but when you measure your hourly rate against how long it takes you to do a taks that may not propel your business forward, it’s time to delegate.
Make The Most Of Your Business Day
Guard your time. Block off time in your calendar to focus on your priority tasks. If you work in an office, set aside time where your door is closed and you know you will have uninterrupted time to focus fully on the tasks at hand. If you are continually aware of the possibility of an interruption, you will be half aware of that and not fully aware of the work at hand.
Set up time savers. If you answer the same email almost daily, set up a “canned response.” Set up systems that will help you get things done more quickly. If you do many of the same tasks regularly, these should have systems in place to make them rote.
Done is better than perfect. If you wait for perfection, you won’t get anything done. You will spend too much time tweaking and not enough time launching. Aim for 90% perfection then let it go. Nothing is so set in stone that it cannot be reworked once it’s live.
Make decisions. When you put off making a decision, you’re procrastinating the inevitable — in many cases — and this decision will weigh on your shoulders and pull emotional energy from the task at hand. Write a pros and cons list if you need to in order to pull the trigger and either say, “yes” “no” or “I need more information.” Don’t forget that “no, thank you” is your friend!
Five minute rule. Are you trying to create a new habit or rid yourself of a habit? Set aside five minutes per day to commit to doing it, or to not doing it. After a week, add additional minutes until this new habit is part of your routine — so much so that you don’t even think about it any longer. Remember, you can always fit five minutes of a habit into your day, no matter how busy you are. Couldn’t you devote five minutes to your health by getting on a treadmill and walking for five minutes per hour? We’ll bet you could.
Check off the small tasks. Sometimes you just get so overwhelmed that the priorities you’ve set for yourself can lead to being frozen in place. When this happens, take some time and complete some small tasks. Choose a small task that is part of a larger project or coal and do that tiny task. Taking immediate action and seeing that check mark that denotes a task was completed will help your forward momentum.
“I’m not a salesperson. I’m a (fill in the blank with the type of business you run.) Guess what? You are a salesperson. If you weren’t making sales then how would you be in the business that you’re running? That wasn’t meant as a trick question but how to be a salesperson is something we talk with our coaching clients about.
Making sales is the only way to stay in business. Even if your business runs on referrals, you still need to be the one who closes the deal — again you’re the sales person!
How To Be A Salesperson
You need to be willing to shake hands, interact with people online and tell people about your business, how great it is and why you’re the best person to provide them with the unique goods and/or services you’re offering. It’s business ownership 101, truly.
Here are my best tips to be the best salesperson you can be.
Be yourself. You don’t have to act like someone you’re not to make a sale. If you have a product and/or service that solves a pain point, it may sell itself, but it will be you and your personality that seals the deal.
Be positive. Too many business owners find they are experiencing drudgery and burnout and that shows through. Be in a good, GREAT, frame of mind before you attend any networking events or pick up the phone to talk with a potential client. No one wants to work with a negative person.
Be encouraging. Even if someone doesn’t want to buy your products or hire you for your services, you can still connect with them and foster a relationship. In fact, you definitely want to foster and build relationships. Encourage the person you’re speaking with in his or her endeavors and even if you can’t help them, if you can offer an introduction to someone who can then do that!
How strong are your sales skills? How much time do you set aside a week to make sales? Don’t neglect sales then have to scramble if you begin losing customers — that is not a good position to be in.
Entrepreneurs need to have a business plan. This phrase may strike fear into your heart, but a business plan doesn’t have to be frightening. In fact, business plans made simple should be the focus of any business coach with whom you work.
If you are spending days, weeks or months preparing your business plan you’re procrastinating growing the business and isn’t that the reason you became an entrepreneur? To run a business?
We want to work with our clients and get their businesses up and running and here are some ways to do just that.
Business Plans Made Simple
Keep it short. There is no law that says your business plan has to be hundreds of pages, or even fifty or twenty pages long! It can be short. It can be ten pages if you can fit all the relevant information in it.
Make it look good. Don’t scratch out your business plan on a bar napkin. Make it look and feel professional. Insert your business name and logo. Insert page numbers and sub heads and bullet points. Make it readable and something you’d be proud to show an investor.
Keep the language simple. You don’t have to insert $100 words when a $.10 word will do the same. Write your business plan the way you speak. Make it easy for your audience to read and comprehend.
Don’t use cliches or acronyms. Just because you understand the meaning of a cliche or an industry phrase or buzzword or acronym, don’t assume your audience knows what you’re talking about.
Don’t use too many graphs, charts or colors. If you need a diagram to illustrate a point, use it wisely. Don’t overwhelm the plan with images.
Use whitespace. Leave room for the reader’s eye to get a rest and a break from the text.
Have your business plan proofread and edited. Remember your eye and brain will fill in words and pass over misspellings if you’ve spelled that same word incorrectly for years. Don’t rely on spell check to catch all errors.
Insert a table of contents. Don’t make the reader have to flip through every page if he is only searching for a specific bit of information. Many word processing programs will insert a table of contents or you can design one once the plan is complete.
Business plans, whether you’re looking for investors or not, will help keep you focused and moving foward with your business. It is an entrepreneurs’ friend. If you don’t have a business plan and are afraid of making one, let us know, we can help!
You still have one month — March — to get back on track if you’re not where you want to be. You also still have time to celebrate successes and amp up your efforts so you can sail into the first quarter on a business upswing!
Review Your First Quarter Business Success
What can you do, right now, before the first week of March has passed to propel your business toward its first quarter goals? Here are a few things to consider and implement:
Your business goal is to turn a profit. Don’t underprice products and services. You can’t and never want to compete on price. It’s a losing game.
The terms of the deal are sometimes more important than price. Don’t accept any a you can’t ethically live with. Don’t accept a deal that devalues your business or crosses a line with your business mission and vision.
Plan a cushion into all contracts because many deals take longer and cost more to implement than you’ve planned for.
Persistence, perseverance and promotion = Keys to success.
Do you need to course correct? Knowing what went “wrong” will help you do that. Make certain you write down wins, losses, lessons learned and any other items that will help you move forward with purpose.
Are you ready to move your business forward? Are you on track to meet your projected first quarter goals? If you’re facing challenges, let us know and our business coaching service may be just what your business needs!