Marching Forward In Business
As you move forward in your business, you need certain systems in place so you can plan effectively, save precious time, and reduce unnecessary stress.
I would like to talk about, how to accomplish this, as well as how to determine what your next steps should be.
Plan Your Time
One of the biggest problems, when you’re starting your own business, is that running your business can become all-consuming. In your desire to focus and get things up and running, you spend more and more time on your business and forget the other aspects of your life, including your big “why.”
It’s understandable, and obviously you’ll need to focus to achieve your vision. But make sure you retain a good work/life balance. This is about making sure that you aren’t 100% focused on one aspect of your life all the time.
Here are a few tips to maintain a good work/life balance:
- Set yourself sensible working hours and stick to them.
- Put important family and social events in your calendar (and don’t forget them).
- Outsource where you can.
- Reward yourself when you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on one business project.
- Get help in the home with children, shopping, cleaning, etc.
- Make sure you’re using your energy efficiently. Are you a morning person? Or do you work better later? Does your energy come in bursts or do you work consistently throughout the day?
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Planning will give you more control over how you spend your time and how you organize yourself. Feeling in control will help you to feel less stressed and more positive about life, which will make you more effective in your business.
Look at the time available to you, even if that isn’t much, and plan how you will use it to achieve the goals you have identified.
Develop a Planning System
Thanks to online tools and mobile apps, it has never been easier to organize all aspects of your business life.
You need a planning system, and you have to find what works best for you. Apps are great because you can often chart your progress, which is motivating.
But if an app isn’t for you, then a file on your computer or a paper version is just fine.
Here are some quick tips to help you get started immediately:
- Fix a time period for each regular task — for example, 30 minutes per day to read your emails, 30 minutes for Facebook, etc. This will help avoid wasted hours on menial tasks or procrastination.
- Turn off alerts which can distract you from planned tasks.
- Structure 90 minute periods of focused work when you need to concentrate on something.
Weekly planning throughout the year:
- Get a weekly planning chart that you can put up somewhere you see it all the time, e.g. on your bathroom mirror, or beside your computer.
- Note down all the action strategies you have decided to take towards your goals.
- Regularly tick off actions achieved and add in new ones.
Save Your Time
Automation is key to saving time. One of the easiest ways to be more time-efficient is to automate your accounting and bill payments with something like Quickbooks. This will not only help you save time every month, but it will also protect you from late payments.
But you can automate other systems too by using:
- Appointments schedulers like Timify or You Can Book.
- Organize and share documents with Dropbox or Google Docs.
- Team and project working using Trello or Asana.
Setting clear goals is a way of planning. When you know where you’re headed, you have a better chance of getting there in an organized way.
Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) goals can help you to reach your goals more easily.
Here’s a look at each of these aspects:
- Specific — Be clear about what you want to achieve
- Measurable — Make sure the goal can be measured, and you can recognize if you’ve achieved your goal
- Achievable — Check that your goal is something you have the time, money, and resources to meet
- Relevant — Ensure your goal is relevant to the direction you want your business to head in, for example, increasing profit, employing more staff, increasing brand awareness
- Timely — Set a realistic deadline for completing the goal
Every business sets goals. For established businesses, goals will be set every 12 months, and then at regular intervals in between.
As you’re just starting out in business, you might not feel you can see that far ahead. You already set some revenue goals in our earlier post, so you’ve got a head start on the important task of goal-setting.
Other goals you may want to set over a given period are things like:
- How many customers you want to take on.
- How many MVPs you want to sell.
- When you aim to be ready to pass from the MVP to a full product launch.
- Keep balance in your life.
- Use planning systems to stay in control.
- Save time by automating processes.