If you’re a small business owner then you can relate to what I am about to say next. Are you ever wondering how to be more productive?
All your friends are going out to the lake for the weekend. You can’t go because you’ve got deadlines to meet. But you end up going anyways and now you’ve got less time to meet those deadlines.
Or maybe you didn’t end up going. And you’re sitting at home or in your office making progress towards your goals. All you can think about is all the fun your friends are having without you.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a real thing. One of the biggest challenges in my life is how to overcome FOMO.
I know how you feel because I’ve been there.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. So how can you be more productive?
What I am about to share with you in this article is going to change your life. But before I get there, let’s take the example of Jack.
He also owns a business. And he works hard for it. Yet he somehow ends up finding time to do the things that he loves, while also achieving his goals year in year out.
You see, there are people out there that can be productive while not giving up their extracurricular activities, outings with friends or family BBQs.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried everything. And it’s led me to realize that some things matter more than others. And so, I’ve put together a list of things you can do.
You could call them strategies, tactics, or just things I do. And this list is the holy grail of being more productive.
Jack of all trades, master of none
Unsurprisingly, this is probably not the first time you’ve heard this statement. It’s one of those things that’s ingrained in our society.
Let’s take a real estate agent for example. There are townhouses, semis, detached, condos, mansions, commercial properties, industrial properties, and gazillion other types of properties.
Sure. If you tried hard enough to promote your real estate business, you can probably sell any or all of those types of properties. You’d get a condo sold here, a commercial property sold there. You might even stage the property yourself.
By doing so many things under the same umbrella, it will get you nowhere.
But what if you were able to focus only on Condominiums. You would be able to refine your business to be the best at selling condos. Your marketing could be geared only towards people interested in dealing with condos.
Heck, you could even become an expert at buying, selling, and staging condos.
Specializing your offer to only service one or a few types of customers is the best thing you could do for your dreams.
✔️ It streamlines efforts
✔️ It increases the chance of success.
✔️ And it ensures continuous improvement in your processes.
Train, Empower & Eliminate margin for errors
As a business owner, you get this feeling. If I won’t do it, it will be done wrong. After all, it’s your baby we’re talking about. Your life’s work. The key to your dreams.
You hold off on training, hiring & empowering your employees to do important things. But this can only work until a certain point.
The key to success is to focus on the things that bring your business revenue. And lots of it.
I am talking about Sales calls, meetings with prospective clients, strategy & thinking. These are the aspects of the business owners should focus on.
The rest can and should be delegated.
At this point, you’re probably thinking. Yea sure this is what I want to do.
But it just takes so much time to hire the right person, train them and then see them make mistakes anyways.
And you aren’t wrong.
But imagine this.
You’ve got a weekly report to generate for your 25 clients. Each report takes approximately 5 minutes to create and update.
Each week you spend 125 minutes creating these reports (Approximately 2 hours of your week) Each month you spend 8 hours. Each year you spend 96 hours.
Now imagine this.
You hire someone to do the job. You train them. And you create a water-tight, mistake-proof system for this task to be completed 100% of the time with satisfactory results.
Hiring someone cost you 10 hours over 2 weeks. Training them may have taken you another 10 hours. Creating this system may have taken you another 10 hours.
That’s 30 hours of your valuable time within a span of 2 weeks vs the 4 hours you would have had to spend creating those reports.
In the short-run, creating those reports yourself makes 100% sense.
But let’s look at it over the span of 1 year. In 1 year, by hiring someone, training them and setting up a system for success, you are able to save 66 hours (96 hours minus 30 hours)
Over the span of 2 years, you save 162 hours. (66 hours + 96 hours)
That’s more than 4 working weeks. Four weeks of your time you could have spent doing other important things which bring extra revenue and bring your business forward.
Things fitting for the owner of the business.
Let's talk how to be more productive
So you’ve finally realized that the way forward is to train, empower, and set up systems. And you’ve made yourself an extra 96 hours a year to work on improving other aspects of your business.
How should you spend those extra 96 hours?
Introducing the well known 80/20 rule.
It basically applies to everything in life. One should spend 80% of their time doing 20% of the activities that bring your business forward.
It’s also known as the Pareto Principle.
✔️ 80% of sales come from 20% of your sales team.
✔️ 80% of revenue comes from 20% of your products.
✔️ 80% of new leads come from 20% of your total traffic (could be from a specific channel)
It’s not a new concept. But it’s so important.
The day I started letting my day ruled by me spending 80% of time on 20% of the highest revenue-generating activities, my business grew ten-fold.
And now that you’ve figured out the 80/20 rule, surely there must be a way to take your productivity up another level?
The answer is YES
A few months ago, I was listening to an audiobook. I don’t even remember the name of that audiobook but one thing stuck with me. I even decided to name it EAO (Eliminate, Automate, Outsource)
It’s an exercise I like to do from time to time in my business.
Try it yourself and I bet you will magically create at least a few extra hours each month. Here’s how it goes:
- List down everything that you are doing on a daily basis (weekly or monthly as well)
- Now, look at this list. Is there anything that you really don’t need to do?
In my case, I was often looking at clients’ advertising dashboard 5 to 6 times a day. Continuously refreshing to check if all goes smoothly.
I eliminated this from my daily routine. It only took a few seconds at a time, but I realized I was heavily underestimating the power of distractions.
Now, I also realized in this process that often, because of my refreshing habits, I started to find issues.
A client’s website may have been down. Or an advertisement had a typo in it. Or the effectiveness of the ads I was running abnormally dropped below optimum performance.
And that’s where technology comes into play.
Automate anything and everything that you can automate. There’s so much software out there that helps you do just that. Maybe you’re exporting and importing email lists manually. Maybe you’re checking if a website is up by refreshing the page.
Maybe you’re personally writing an email to each lead that signs up on your website. And the messaging is always the same. So check your processes, and see where technology can help you be more productive.
Typically, the tasks which you have to do often, and are also the same each time. These are the tasks you want to look into for automation.
But hey, what if you can’t automate it?
Then you outsource it to an employee.
We touched up upon outsourcing earlier in the article.
Remember, extra investment in your time now to hire, train, and set up systems, will save you in the long run.
And most businesses are in it for the long run.