We’re all looking for ways to boost small business productivity. The good news is that it’s an achievable goal. Here are a few proven strategies (rules!) to help you get more done in less time:
Rule #1: Plan your work around your positive cash flow.
This means focusing on tasks, meetings, activities, calls and follow-up that will generate and bring in most revenue as opposed to those that are purely administrative. It is important to avoid procrastination or delay taking actions (however challenging) till the last minute. Success is your business comes when you are proactive and spend more time with your customers now (not later). This will help tomorrow’s work get easier because you would know which of your actions from the previous day are going to generate maximum revenue for your efforts.
Rule #2: Plan out tomorrow’s schedule tonight.
When we write down what we intend to do, we’re far more likely to actually do it. Use productivity tools like speech-to-text (the native apps you see on your iPhone or Android) to speak things to yourself. If you are a slack user, one powerful habit is to note your prioritized to-do list into your own channel (i.e. typing to yourself). Feel free to also check out other free apps like Evernote, Google Keep, even basic apps like notepad. The idea is to get into an easy habit that you can do every day without the mental block of needing to push yourself to do it.
Rule #3: Develop rituals for different kinds of work.
This may mean doing a certain task in a particular place or at a particular time of the day. For example, if you are making sales calls, your ritual would be to make a list of 15 to 20 contacts and keep that list ready before you start calling. Once you make the first call (and speak to a customer or leave a voicemail or hang up), you would find it very easy to move to the next person in your list. Another example: If you need to get your invoices taken care of, block off a quick 30 min before lunch and knock them out one by one. The time before lunch is especially useful because most of your customers are going to be unavailable to talk with you. So, you might as well use that time to get the avoidable work done. Of course, if you are running operations, you might want to prioritize getting your invoices done before you do any customer service. Again, the key idea is that you always follow Rule #1..
Avoid being 100% booked. If your calendar looks full, deliberately schedule time to do nothing. You can use this time as a buffer between meetings to tackle unexpected tasks that crop up during the day. One of the most effective ways to not only relax during the work day but also make that time rewarding for your business is to call previous or current customers and have a friendly chat with them.
Ask them how things are going for them
and that you are calling to merely keep in touch
(not to push them to buy something from you).
This kind of action goes a long way in the minds of your customers. First off, they’d appreciate talking to a friendly voice. Second, they will be open to sharing more with you since you don’t have a hidden agenda. Third, you get to know and learn more about the state of the industry and things that you yourself might need to work around, for your own business. Finally, this was your time to decompress – nothing better than having a relaxed conversation with someone you like and have them talk more (while you listen!).
Try at least one of these strategies this week, and notice any differences in your productivity. You got this!
Friday, March 12, 2021 Blog