** This is a guest post from one of the first friends I made since writing The Sales Lion–Daniel Wood of Looking to Business. Any of you who read this blog often have seen Daniel’s many great comments to posts in the past, and I hope his article here gives some of you a few pointers as to how to better run your small business. So a special thanks to Daniel, who I’ve dubbed ‘The Best Sales Pro in Norway’!
When I started my first company back in 2006 I had no idea how much work it would be, but the more I did and the more I learned, the more things I realized needed to be done and improved.
I started to understand why companies have so many employees, and before long I was working 15 hours/day, including weekends.
Although I knew this wasn’t going to work in the long run, what I didn’t know was what to do about it.
That was until I started reading everything I could regarding personal development and time management, and the lessons I gleaned from these studies gave me the knowledge and freedom to start improving my business and ultimately enable it to start running itself.
So here’s what I learned, I hope they can help you as well:
1. Focus on the 20% of your activities that stand for 80% of the value
The 80/20 rule states that 20% of the activities you perform will contribute 80% of the value to you and your business.
Your job is to focus as much time as possible on these activities and try to get rid of the other 80% that provide little to no value to yourself and your business.
How do you find the 20%?
- Start by listing all the activities you do for your business.
- Look at which activities provide significant value to your business and which don’t.
- Prioritize the list in order of importance.
What do you have to do?
- Go through the list again and see what really requires you to actually get done.
- Can something be delegated? Can someone else perform a task as well or better?
- Which activities can be eliminated?
- What can be bunched?
2. Delegating/Outsourcing – Too expensive for a small business?
This is a regular question and a just one for a small business struggling to find success.
This is why it’s always better to look at the question not in the form of, “How much does it cost?”, but rather by asking “How much can our company make?”
If you look at your list of activities you will see that some will provide a lot more value to you and your business. By focusing on them you will significantly improve your income, which will in-turn make up for any extra money you’ve spent on outsourcing.
3. Bunching Activities
We often have a habit of checking our email every few minutes (I know I do!), but if we instead can limit that to only once or twice a day we would save a lot of time that could be put into significantly better use.
This can be done with pretty much every activity you perform.
What activities can you do only once a week or month versus ones you’re currently doing every day? By spending more quality time on these activities instead of quantity time, you’ll increase the likelihood of getting into “the zone”—thus allowing you to work faster and more efficiently. Using myself as an example, the first 100 words of this article took as long time to write as the rest of the article, 700 words.
What can the results be?
Well first of all you might be spending more money on outsourcing.
Although you may spend more on outsourcing, you’ll also spend a lot more time on what is important and brings value to your business, which will lead to your income increasing exponentially over time.
1. Right down all the activities you do for your company.
2. Prioritize the list by importance (value brought to the company).
3. Go through the list to see if anything can be delegated, bunched or eliminated.
4. Take action. Don’t sit idle with this information, do something with it!
Thank you very much for reading.