Have you ever wondered if you are doing enough for your business?
If you call yourself an entrepreneur, any given day you could be doing a million different things. Unfortunately, some of us really try to do it all. It feels like a battle. You against the army of tasks that must be done.
Does “it all” have to be done?
Many entrepreneurs focus on time spent in the business instead of results.
Spending your days in a frantic race to put out as many fires as possible is a recipe for failure.
Knowing what not to do is what separates from entrepreneurs from wantrepreneurs.
It is a simple process, yet very few business founders ever master it.
Entrepreneurs are great at taking on more-and-more tasks.
The result is that you are:
- Constantly overwhelmed and getting burned out fast.
- Thinking if redlining yourself is the life you want for yourself.
- Missing opportunities because you don’t have time to slow down to focus on what really matters.
- Having less-and-less fun running your business.
- Overwhelmed and make bad decision one-after-the-other.
The solution sounds simple, but it’s one of the most difficult things an entrepreneur must do.
Of course, I don’t mean that you should stay in bed and watch daytime television all day.
Do less of what keeps you busy and more of what matters.
Step 1 – Identify what to do fewer of:
Work less hours.
In 1926, Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, conducted experiments with the following results: when you decrease your daily working hours from 10 to 8 hours, and shorten the workweek from 6 days to 5, your productivity increases.
Spend less time on social networks.
Stop being a perfectionist.
Say “Yes” less frequently.
Worry less about what ifs and hypotheticals.
Check your email less frequently. Masters of email only check their emails once or twice a day.
Anything you can’t measure in terms effectiveness.
Fooling yourself with vanity metrics.
Multitasking is just another form of laziness.
Fire your bad, grouchy, and unprofitable clients.
Schedule fewer meetings, and make them shorter.
Stop surfing the web.
Step 2 – Identify what to do more of:
Set deadlines and hold yourself accountable.
Work on tasks that increase your revenue.
Increase the number of leads, clients, and customers.
Introduce systems into your business.
Shorten your work hours.
Take naps during the day.
Automate as much as you can, especially repetitive tasks.
Increase awareness about your brand.
Say “No” more often.
Delegate to your team members.
Outsource, especially simple repetitive tasks.
Develop strategic partnerships.
Meditate and do whatever it takes to reduce stress.
Take more breaks.
Travel more often.
Follow the 80/20 rule.
End your days with a todo list for the next day.
Doing less is about focusing on the few things that have the greatest positive impact on your business.
Step 3 – Focus.
This step is especially difficult because it requires you to slow down. Think about your goals. What will it take to get there faster?
Ask yourself questions like:
- Is what I am doing right now getting me closer to my goals?
- What are the top three tasks I must complete to get closer to my goals?
- Which one of my tasks can be put on the backburner to give time to the few tasks the will have the greatest positive impact on my business.
- What would it take to outsource or delegate this task?
For example, if your goal is to get 10 more new clients in the next 90-days, create a list that will help you get there.
Step 4 – Create a must do list.
Your list will be different, but here is what my list would look like:
- What are the names of my most recent clients? Let’s say those ones that we signed in the past 6-months.
- Which of those clients are the most desired clients?
- Through what marketing channels did we land those clients from?
- How many leads did we receive to land those clients?
- What can we do to replicate the leads we have received in the past?
- What were the reasons our clients decided to select our firm instead of our competition?
Step 5 – Create a list of action items.
After you had asked the above questions, you will be able to come up with a list of action items:
- The best clients we have are in the high tech industry.
- They are companies with at least 5 employees.
- Their yearly revenue is $1 million or higher.
- The target companies are located in Southern California.
- Create a list of 100 companies that fit the above requirements.
Step 6 – Delegate and Outsource more.
Your goal is to do less, and the only way to get there is to outsource and delegate.
Start out by delegating and outsourcing simple repetitive steps. Start with hiring a VA or a paid intern to help you take the load off. It will help you focus on the most complex tasks in your business.
photo credit: Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com) Torre Sant’Andrea – Puglia, Italy – Seascape photography