5 Business Mistakes to Avoid

5 Business Mistakes to Avoid

Here are 5 business mistakes to avoid (now more than ever):

1. Ignore your customers. If you neglect your customers, someone else will be happy to take them. Did you know that 68% of customers leave due to perceived indifference – they think you don’t care!

Instead of focusing all your efforts chasing new ones, cut yourself a great deal and focus on keeping your existing clients. Its 6 times more expensive to get a new client than it is to keep the one you have now. By the way, have you graded your customers A – D? Focus on A & B, convert C’s, and let the D’s go!

The general rule is to keep some kind of contact at least every 90 days. That could be a call, visit, card, or email, or even try JibJab. You are only limited by your imagination.

2. Stop advertising, marketing, promoting. Avoid the knee-jerk panic reaction to stop promoting your business. It just accelerates the downward spiral. Remember, real marketing starts long before the sale and continues long after.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You just have to be selective and track your results.

Contact me and I will be glad to share inexpensive ways to get noticed. By the way, any advertising you do should include a “call to action”. Forget image, ring the cash register!  Focus on your target, communicate a compelling offer, and drive the sale!

3. Neglect your team. Now more than ever, the team has to “hit on all cylinders”. You need to have less tolerance for under-performance and waste. There are a lot of great people looking for jobs. One advantage of economic downturns is the opportunity to select some strong talent.

As the leader, you must strike a careful balance, encouraging and motivating the team while sharing feedback and holding them accountable. Don’t forget training and development either. Your team is one of your greatest assets; invest in them now to pay dividends in the future.

4. Waste your time.
Your only non-renewable resource is your time. You can always make more money, but you can never create more time. Once today is gone, it is gone forever. Ask yourself: What is the best use of my time for the business right now? Ask that every day, especially as you plan the next one.

By the way, the best time to plan tomorrow is at the end of today. Another suggestion: Turn off automatic downloading and notification of email. The time you save each day from that distraction will startle you. One more thing: When was the last time you updated your default calendar? Take control – do it today!

5. Make excuses for doing any of the above.
Who are you kidding? If you are guilty of succumbing to the temptations above, I have two things to say to you: One, congratulations, you are human. Two, you can do something about it.

Decide to start now,
take ownership and be accountable.

All of us choose how we respond to the challenges that our business throws at us. If what you have been doing is not yielding the results you want, something has to change. Nothing will change until you do.

Are you involved in or committed to your business? Involvement means we take action when it is convenient, commitment means we accept no excuses, only results.

Now, get out there and do what you do best.


Eat That Frog!

Eat That Frog

Eat That Frog: Last week was the third installment in Time Management – “Time Mastery “.  Now that you’ve had time to develop your vision, set and write down your goals and learned how to prioritize all of your tasks, you’re ready to take the final step – developing the habits to keep you focused for long-term success.

Okay.  So, you’ve started your day, and there’s so much to do.   Ever ask yourself, “Where do I start?”  This is the first sign of a day of little accomplishment ahead. Many business owners I talk to have way too much on their plate: sales, marketing, finances, hiring, and let’s not forget actually providing your product or service.  Many people, faced with so many balls to juggle, find it hard just to get started, so they choose to start with email. You think, “its easy, I can get through it quickly and then move on to more important things”. I know you’ve done it. You might even do it routinely.

So you dive into your inbox. And then the phone rings.  And then an employee comes in asking for guidance.  And then a customer calls.  And before you know it, it is 5 p.m. and everyone is leaving the office except you, and you’re thinking “Jeez, I haven’t gotten anything done that I needed to get done today.”

There’s a way to stop the cycle, and it’s called “Eat That Frog!”   If you’ve read this time management series this far, and you haven’t read this book by Brian Tracy, go order it NOW.

You must develop a new habit that can change everything when it comes to achieving your goals. The key to getting the results you want from yourself is to START each day by doing the number one goal you have for the day.  The best time to identify that task? The night before. Every day, the last thing you do at the end of your workday is WRITE DOWN your top 2-3 priorities for the next day. Then when morning comes, you’re ready to “Eat That Frog!”

What the heck? You might be asking about now. Mark Twain once said, if your list of things to do today includes eating a frog, do that first, and know nothing worse is going to happen the rest of the day. Your “frog” is the most important, and biggest task on your list – the one you are most likely to procrastinate about doing. Skip the inbox, skip the interruptions, get right down to eating that frog. Block out the time on your calendar, and stick to it.

Continually ask yourself “Which one project or activity, if I did it in an excellent and timely fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on my life?”  And conversely, which one, “if I DON’T get it done, will have the most negative impact?” Then develop the habit of asking yourself throughout the day, “is this the best use of my time right now”. Did you eat your frog?

It takes 21 days on average to develop a new habit, after that you won’t have to think about it, you’ll just be doing it. Start today. Write out your frog for tomorrow. Then do it!

Get in touch with me to find out when my next time management workshop will be held.

Time Mastery – How To Get The Best of You

time mastery

Time Mastery – How To Get The Best of You

Time Mastery – Last week was the second installment in Time Management – “Setting Your Goals”.  Now that you’ve had time to think about your vision, work out your ideal future state, and set and write down your specific SMART goals, you’re ready to take the next step – how to work on the RIGHT things to accelerate achievement of your goals.

Time Mastery is one of the most difficult and most critical challenges facing business owners today – how to efficiently utilize your most valuable resource – your TIME! The things that you choose to spend your time on in your business will have a significant influence on how successful you are as a business owner.

Stephen Covey in his “7 Habits” and “First Things First” books describes a simple matrix of Importance vs. Urgency to easily categorize how you allocate your time investment to have the most positive impact on achieving your goals.  These four areas can also be called Waste, Deception, Necessity and lastly Quality & Leadership or Strategic.
Time Matrix Covey

You’ll find things like e-mail and surfing the web are most often Not Urgent and Not Important – or Waste. It is critical to avoid spending much time on these activities during the day. Many phone calls and walk in requests fall into the category of Urgent and Not Important. They come to you because someone else did not do what they were supposed to or because there is no process in place to handle the situation. Many customer calls or production issues are Urgent and Important. You handle them to satisfy a customer or keep the operation moving, but they suck time from you largely because there was no system in place to handle the issue properly in the first place. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

It might surprise you to know that the quadrant where you want to spend the most time is the Important and Not Urgent corner. This is where you find focus, and work on things like strategy, planning, goal setting and relationship building. The biggest challenge for you as business owner is to spend as much time as possible in this corner. These are the Strategic decisions that will determine where you take your business and if you accomplish your goals. Because the projects in this corner are not Urgent, they often times get pushed back in the priority stack – and then just get forgotten or just never done. As the business owner, it is your job to invest your TIME on these areas of your business. If you do not, who will?

So you ask, how do I make time to focus on the Not Urgent but Important? One practical idea is to bake it into your schedule. I call it using a Default Calendar. That is blocking the time on your calendar for those critical tasks you must do even though there is not an emergency driving them. When you put the BIG, CRITICAL items into your calendar first, you will always find time to fit in the other, smaller items.

And, related to this thought, when you put the big items into your calendar, FOCUS ON THEM! Resist the urge to blow right past them and put them off. Discipline yourself to focus first on the Strategic and them the operational and execution-oriented activities will flow more naturally.

Try it! If you have a white board in your office, draw the matrix there, and list your projects and activities in each quadrant. Make sure you are spending blocks of quality time in the Important & Not Urgent corner. How you spend your time will determine your ultimate level of success.

Need help with setting goals and planning? Our next GrowthClub 90 Day Planning & Strategy workshop is coming up on Sep 23rd. Its your chance spend a day in quadrant 2!