How many hats do you wear in your business? This year at the Campbelltown Local Business Awards I was chatting with business owner, James from Macarthur Home Improvements. He started his business in 1992. He has successfully grown his business from only 3 staff to more than 20. This year I was really proud to be a part of his team to win the Local Business Award for Outstanding Service and Trade. I asked him what his tip was to be a successful business owner. He said ‘to be successful in business you have to be prepared to know a little about a lot and never stop learning.’
So how best do you do this and still actually do your business successfully?
Here are 14 tips to be a small business expert.
It’s true, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Creating a business plan for what you want to achieve is critical to your business success. There’s no need to make this task bigger than it needs to be. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a plan, you will not have clarity. Clarity is what gives you focus and increases your chance of success.
2. SMART Goals
SMART Goals are key in any business. They enable you to make your goals specific, measurable, achievable realistic with a time frame. Without them it is harder for you to see your success because basically you don’t know what your success looks like.
3. Cloud Based Calendar
The benefits of having a cloud based calendar gives you the opportunity to always have your calendar on you. I might add, your calendar is only as good as you ability to update it. Use your calendar to put all your activities work or personal in it. Plus review it regularly. I check my calendar daily and update and review. I also share it with key people in my business and in my life. This saves me time having to communicate via extra phone calls and emails to keep everyone in the loop as to what is happening. It helps me to gain more time back in my day.
4. To Do Lists
How good does it feel when you have completed something? I love the feeling of accomplishment. To do lists are effective in that you can not only be more organised by knowing what you need to do, you have the opportunity to more efficient with your time. After all, time is money!
5. Get a Stopwatch
It can be easy to fall into the trap of spending more time on tasks than you should. This compromises your productivity. Allocate time to your tasks and stick to it.
6. Use the 80% rule
I’m a reformed procrastinator (who is still known to have the occasional relapse). Is there such a thing as perfection? The reality is no. The best way to be productive is to recognise this and aim for 80%. Your productivity will substantially increase.
7. Say No
This is one of the hardest things to do. Especially when you are in business for yourself. You want the opportunity to help everyone. The reality is you are not able or best suited to help everyone. The sooner you realise this, the more productive you can be.
You have 24 hours in the day. Once you acknowledge this, it is about making the most of every day. I allocate my time and actually block out in my diary my client time, my business maintenance time, my business building time and my leisure time.
9. Clean out your inbox
Take time to remove unnecessary email. A full inbox can also lead to loss of clarity and distraction. If you find you are not regularly not reading newsletters that you have subscribed to. Start unsubscribing. You can also re-subscribe later if you find you are missing them.
10. Use Apps to help
Make the most of the available apps to help you do business smarter. The Google Apps Marketplace has a wealth of tools that can help you work smarter.
11. Out source
Once you have the apps in place to help you, now work out what other areas you can get help with. I have a cleaner, a gardener, a bookkeeper. Having supported help outsourced, enables me to be more focused on my SMART Goals established in my business plan.
11. Continuously learn
Regardless of what industry you are in, it is a competitive and fast pasted environment. By ensuring you continuously learn you are empowered to be more efficient, more focused and open to more opportunities.
12. Be rewarded
When you achieve your goals, acknowledge it. Reward yourself and your team. This helps with motivation to continue when times can be tough. It increases your success long term.
13. Turn off your phone
Smart Phones with access to so much more than just making phone calls can be an incredibly power tool to help your accessibility and flexiblity. They can also be a huge distraction. When you have a set time to complete a task, turn your phone off. Sometimes this is not possible, however to help you and your business success, learn the art of disconnecting to connect to improve your business efficiency.
14. Get a Business Coach
A business coach will help you get out of your own way. Help you to acknowledge your weaknesses and capitalise on your strengths. To get the most out of them, I recommend you identify what areas you need help with and then meet with a couple to ensure they are the right fit for your needs. Make sure you connect with them. Sandra Bartlett from Stairway2Dreams and Alex Hawkins from the Business Enterprise Centre (SWSBEC) are worth checking out to enable to support you and your business.