Does dazed and confused describe how you are feeling about your business? Do you feel as if there isn’t enough time in the day?
On this action packed, practical call you will discover:
- Why doing it all yourself is false economy
- A simple and effective tool to prioritise your activities
- How to recognise the tasks (and people) that are time wasters
- Four essential ways to start thinking about your business for immediate change
When you leave your job and cross over to start your own business, it can be a journey of twists and turns. At times you will feel exhilarated, excited and eagerly anticipating each day as it presents you with new opportunities and experiences. You will relish the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss. You will love doing the work that matches your values and is meaningful to you.
Sadly, it is not always like this. At other times you may feel as if you are taking two steps forward and three steps back. The business will test your resolve, your resilience and your self-belief. You may feel lonely, and as if no-one really understands what you are going through. You may also feel stuck with no-one to turn to, especially if they questioned your decision to leave your corporate job. Wanting to avoid the “I told you so”, you resist reaching out for help, and risk feeling worse about your situation.
From the interviews I recently conducted for my book, starting out as new Corporate Crossovers®, many of the women I spoke with had little support. Often they felt too proud to ask or simply didn’t know where to look. Others were just too busy to get help, preferring to do it all themselves and push through their issues. Long hours and sheer hard work were how they grew their enterprises.
Even though they may have done it themselves, in hindsight some of them wished they had found support earlier. They now realize that having that extra support earlier could have made a significant difference to the speed and quality of success they experienced.
How many of you think that when you do something yourself, you are actually saving money?
This is a really common belief amongst women business owners. And we think ‘just because we can do something ourselves, we will”
I have many clients who are specialist in their fields of interior design, personal training or retaining high end jewelry and yet, they think they also have to become expert in social media, building websites, designing brochures, and managing their tax affairs.
Why do these smart, talented women, who love the core of what their business is, let themselves get bogged down and frustrated by spending time working in areas that are not their field of expertise?
From the quantitative research I conducted of the 300 Corporate Crossovers®, a big shock for many of them was all that was entailed in setting up a business. Many of the women did all the work themselves instead of outsourcing it. This caused them to lose sight of their business vision and forget what value it is that they bring to the business.
By spending most of your time doing the more menial and repetitive tasks involved in setting up and maintaining a business, you can forget why you set it up in the first place. If you are not spending time doing what you love and adding value to your business, you easily become demotivated and start to question if it’s all worth it.
But lets get back to that core question of why
Why to we think we have to do it all?
Often we think we are:
– saving money
– saving time ‘cos its quicker to do it ourselves
– we don’t trust others with our business
The reason why doing it all yourself is false economy is that every minute you spend doing something that is not adding value to your business, is a minute wasted. You need to start thinking of your time as a tangible resources to the business that has a real cost.
Think of it like this, if you are spending an hour uploading new images or blogs to your website, what else could you be doing with your time to grow the business? Instead of you doing a repetitive task that cold be outsourced to a lower cost resource, what would happen to your business I you spent that time calling prospects, creating a new marketing campaign or following up former clients? You could have that time to meet with people you would like to do a JV with and
Bringing in support to assist you with your business can free your time up to work ‘on’ the business, building and growing it, to ensure future revenue streams.
The other point about trying to do it all ourselves, is that we often end up learning how to do things that are not related to our core business offering, or our skill set. Most of us need a website to promote our business but we do not need to know how to programme it. Yet, many of us will go along to the wordpress course thinking we can do it all ourselves….and buil dour own website. Again this is false economy as most of us end up getting very frustrated, it takes us much longer than a trained professional who does this everyday and sometimes the results can look homemade……..
Start to think about all of those task you nee dot do to keep the business running – and then consider “are you best person for the job?” – if not, find a new resource……
The more you start to outsource, the easier it will become.
A simple and effective tool to prioritise your activities
So even when you do start to outsource and you find lower cost resources to do some of the tasks, it can be hard to know what tasks need to be prioritized over others. This can leave us feeling dazed and confused, as there are seemingly so many things we could do but how do we know what to focus on.
Let me give you a very simple tool. I used this when I became General manager of FT.com, which had recently launched and there seemed to be hundreds of small and large projects going on but no prioritizations of them.
The tools is really simple and works like this….
Take a blank sheet of paper.
Draw a line across the middle of the page – horizontally, from left to right. On the left hand end of this line write Not urgent and on the right hand side, write URGENT.
Then halfway along this horizontal line, draw a vertical line from the top of the page to the bottom. At the top of this vertical line write, revenue generating an then at the bottom of the line, write revenue depleting.
So now, you will have a four grid on your page.
On the right hand top grid, you will have revenue generating and urgent.
Then underneath that on the bottom right, you will have urgent and revenue neutral to revenue depleting.
Then continuing counter clockwise – not urgent and revenue neutral to revenue depleting.
And then in the top left hand corner not urgent and revenue neutral to revenue generating
So there you have the four grids…then when you have many many projects, or tasks to complete, and easy way to get clarity on what is important is to plot them all in your grids.
So, examples may be……
How to recognise the tasks (and people) that are time wasters
It’s time to REALLY value our time – and start to weed out time wasters. This may sound a bit harsh, but remember time is finite, we don’t get it back!
An easy way to recognize f something is a time waster or not is to ask these four questions.
1. Will doing this/or meeting this person help me achieve my business goals (and if you don’t have goals you need to email me for a copy of last months recording all about goal setting and why this important….and if you think doing it will help you achieve your goals – this in turn will allow you to be very intentional when you sit down to do that task or meet that person.
2. Will this build my business, grow my customer base or grow my revenue? This is slightly different to the first question, because it may be that what you are considering doing isn’t directly related to a goal, but will help you build your business. Let me give you an example – eg interior designer I met for a 121 – talked at her interior design group – which was wonderful and even better I got 2 clients from it – score….
3. Is there someone else that could do this?
This is an essential question that you must ask yourself each time you sit down to do a task…who else could do this cheaper, quicker or even better than me?
4. Am I just being nice? Sometimes if we are honest we do things o agree to meet people because we are just being nice. We have a sense that this task won’t help us grow our business yet we end up doing it….because sometimes that is easier than saying no. If you think you are caught in this cycle, consider how you can pull yourself out. It may be that if you have agreed to meet many members of your new networking group for a 121 , and you realize that maybe it wasn’t such a good ide, that consider instead of meeting them face to face and incurring travel time, suggest a skype meeting instead if you can’t bring yourself to cancel it.
Four essential ways to start thinking about your business for immediate change
1. The big idea
– take some time everyday to lift your thinking up and think about the vision for your business
– what is it that you are creating – where do you see yourself and the business in 5 years time?
– If you have a vision board, look at it ad feel how amazing it will feel to achieve what’s on it
– Review your business goals everyday – really tap in with what you are trying to achieve – this will lift your thinking above the menial day to day ad make it all seem worth it
– Importantly, when you are doing this bigger picture thinking, remember to think about the WHY
– Why are you doing this – what are you contributing and what difference you want to make,
2. One thing I will do
Gain, using your new 4 grid prioritizing tool – consider what is the one thing you absolutely MUST do today to grow your business. And do that first. Doing one thing each day to actually grow your business before you get caught up in the day to day minutiae will help keep you moving forwrad with your business and growth!
3. Who can I thank
I love thanking people. It feels great – and they love it too!
Why I recommend this a s way to shift your thinking on your business, is that it enables you to think about the people that have helped you. And to be grateful. There are a number of benefits in doing this daily…
First of all, it starts to remind us that we don’t have to do it all, and that people are there to help us…..and doesn’t that feel good? To be helped. This means tat we are more likely to do it again and this grow our comfort factor in asking for help…
And secondly, when we thank someone, we are putting some great energy into the world. We have taken time out and really thought about some one else and sent them good wishes….this can only be a good thing and a great mood lifter if you are feeling a bit low…
4. What have I done to build my business
As well as reflecting on what others have doe for you – it is just as important to remember what you have done each day! Take some time at the end of each day and think about 3 things you have doe to move the business forward. Or time passes so quickly, it is easy to forget what we do everyday as we build our business. Writing it down every day can give us a record of just how much we have done and how far we have come. This can be a real boost !
I hope you have found the call a worthwhile investment of your time.
I would love to hear your thoughts and actions from this, please leave me a comment below and tell me how you got on!