Before you lose your mind
Do you ever have those days when you wish life at the helm of running your own business could run a little more smoothly? Just in case you’re wondering if it’s just you, I think that moment happens to a lot of us.
Right now, it possibly feels like you’re in the ‘hard slog’ part of the year – holidays are a while away, it’s still cold, the new financial year is in full swing and those budgets that need to be achieved over the next 10 months feel ‘stretchy’ and there’s no moments rest on old laurels to be had.
If that sounds like you, you may well also be burdened by an ever-mounting pile of to-dos. You’d like to be more efficient (you may even have read an article or two about it along the way), and hiring might help, but you don’t necessarily want to hire too many new people either and put the business under strain. And let’s face it, hiring new people can also mean more time required from you to ensure they’re trained properly. What to do?!
If this sounds like you, congratulations! No, you’re not losing your mind – but it might be time to streamline a couple of things.
1. Plan to achieve just 3 key things each day – and do those first. Every business owner at some point has had one of those days where they’ve planned to do a million things, have been frantically busy all day and at the end of it feel they’ve achieved nothing. Do that too many days in a row and you just feel ‘off track’, a bit flat and maybe even really demotivated. We all have things that drag us off task, but if you start with just three key things on your list and you don’t do anything else until they’re done, you’ll feel like you’re actually moving forward each day. If it’s not critical, it can wait. If it is critical, make it one of those three things. But, Kerry, I hear you say, there are so many more things to do than just three – read on.
2. Let technology help you. Whilst adding technology might seem complicated at first, once you get use to using it, you’ll be surprised at how a good piece of technology can speed things up. We’ve been using Xero for a while now and hand on heart, I can tell you, once we get clients set up, it’s ridiculously easy for them or their team to use. All that real time data, ease of invoicing, you can easily see who’s paid and who hasn’t, and reconciliations are a breeze. We’ve had dozens of people tell us they ‘love’ doing their bookkeeping now. Yes – really!!
But the best part? If you’ve got regular customers, who often purchase the same types of products/services, etc, you can largely (or completely) automate your billing. Just think how much easier your billing process just got and how much time you just saved.
3. Backup your business to the cloud. Whilst we’re talking technology – once upon a time, everything was kept in paper files, and then we migrated to keeping files on floppy disks, hard drives and, later, on our office servers. And that was progress. But, so many people found out the hard way that paper can get lost, damaged, burnt, etc and computer drives/servers can crash, fail and get lost, burnt, damaged, etc too. Smart business owners know that having a single copy of their files is dangerous too. Far better to have the server copy, a backup copy to an external hard drive (as a redundancy back up) and a cloud back up on something like Dropbox. With Dropbox, you can choose to share some files, but not others with whomever you like and you can revert to earlier versions of documents, if something unforeseen happens. But best of all – set it up once and all those back-ups just happen.
Plus as an added extra, you can access all your documents from wherever you find yourself on whatever device you have handy. SmartPhone, tablet, laptop, someone else’s computer – no problem. Just log in and download. No more turning up for a client presentation and finding that your USB stick/thumbdrive/computer doesn’t want to work.
4. Do it, delegate (or automate) it or dump it. If it’s one of your three main items for the day – just do it! If not, find a way to either automate it (like your invoicing each period or back-ups each day/week, etc – see points 3 & 4) or delegate it. Often we put so much extra pressure on ourselves for no real reason. For example, if you’re planning a business trip to a conference or a presentation in the US, sure, you can surf the internet, bamboozled by all those different fares, conditions, places to stay or for much the same price, you can save yourself (and/or your secretary) all the hassle and delegate the planning to a great travel agent. Not only will you have a much better trip, you’ll have more time to spend on more important things in your business. You can do the same thing with your books, updating your marketing, increasing your sales opportunities and administrative tasks. And for the things you can’t do or outsource? Ask yourself, do you really need to do them. If the answer’s no – dump them and move on.
In coming blogs we’ll explore other things you can do to smooth the way when running your business.
If you have financial or business questions, or you just want to run something by us, we’d be delighted to really talk to you, either in person or over the phone. You can give us a call on 6023 1700.
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If you've got financial or business questions, or you just want to run something by us, we'd be delighted to really talk to you – in person, over the phone - call us on 02 6023 1700 - or you can use the form below and we'll get back to you.
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