How to Avoid Uncertainty, Always Being on the Job, and Burnout – the Top 3 challenges of Small Business Owners

 

It’s not easy being a business owner. Overwork and burnout are two especially common problems with entrepreneurs, and it’s not hard to see why. 

One survey from New York Enterprise Report found that small business owners work twice as much as regular employees. It also found that 33% of small business owners reported working more than 50 hours per week, and 25% said they work more than 60 hours a week.

That’s hardly the only study reporting those kinds of hours, either. Gallup found that 39% of the owners they surveyed worked over 60 hours a week.

It’s not just about the hours.  Small business owners work more, sure. But they’re also under more pressure. This is true whether they have employees or not.

Hard work is an admirable trait, but work for the sake of work is a waste. There are ways to reduce your workload while still putting in the time and effort your business needs to succeed, and implementing these methods will preserve your physical and mental health in the long run. These are some of the ways in which you can reduce your workload and restore your personal time to a healthy level.

1) Delegate

Good business owners understand the value of hiring people smarter than themselves to do a job right. An excellent manager, a well-trained crew and a virtual assistant can do wonders for your bottom line. You can’t do it all yourself. So, don’t. 

Delegate tasks that are time-consuming, such as social media marketing, CRM management, newsletters, blogging and customer support services.  If you train your workers correctly, you won’t have to do the jobs of four different people.

2) Work smarter, not harder

The law of diminishing returns hits us especially hard. Don’t believe the hype when somebody brags of “working” 80 hours a week. If you were to follow them in their day-to-day life, you’d probably find that their productivity was exceedingly low, and that they were classifying a lot of non-work activities as work. If you are sitting at a desk but you’re not doing much, that means nothing. but if you find ways to squeeze more work in the time you have, you won’t have to put in as many hours to get things done. If you’re using old software, upgrade to something newer. If your store’s layout is inefficient, change it. If your business is drowning in paperwork, streamline it.

As an added note, the GDP per hour worked tends to have an inverse correlation with the number of hours worked overall. Put another way, countries in which people work more hours per year generally have lower levels of productivity. As an example, South Koreans work an average of about 2,100 hours a year and produce about 32 dollars of GDP per hour worked. The French work about 1,500 hours a year and produce twice that per hour worked. Smarter work means you don’t have to put in as many hours to produce the same number of goods and services.

3) Manage as much as you need, not as much as you want

A lot of new supervisors and managers run into this problem, but some business owners are this way as well. Your business is your baby – you want people to treat it with the same care and attention that you do! the problem is, some business owners don’t let a person do what it is that they hired them to do. If you believe that you made the right decision in hiring a person, back off and let them do your job. Not only will it be easier on you, but your team will not resent you as much. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep an eye on things, but if you are micromanaging your team on a daily basis, you screwed up somewhere. Whether you are being overly controlling or you didn’t hire the right people, the fault still comes back to you.

You’ll never be able to control everything all of the time. If you learn to let the small details go, you can focus in on the things that really matter.

Need help setting up a plan to leverage your time to maximize efficiency and profits?  Schedule a complimentary session with us!

 

 

 

10 Steps to Make Time Management Work for You

The right techniques make time management work.

In the quest for better time management, we have been flooded with a large variety of gizmos, tools, and programs invented to help us more effectively manage our time. These tools and programs make great claims, but most fail to help us achieve that ultimate “nirvana” of time management that we desire.

Of all the time management “stuff” out there, I’ve found a few simple techniques that consistently work well, if implemented properly.

Here are 10 steps that, if followed, will ensure time-management works for you:

1. Kick the Habit: Like many poor habits, poor time management is a behavior that has been developed over time and the first step in “kicking the habit” is to recognize that you have a problem and then to make a firm commitment to do something about it.

2. Effective Planning: Similar to other disciplines, effective time management is a discipline that can be learned and mastered over time. The key principle to effective time management is planning. It’s been shown that for every minute you spend in planning, ten minutes is saved in execution.

3. Plan Each Day in Advance: The first step is to plan each day in advance. Whether you use a day planner, PDA device or electronic calendar, find the tool that works best for you. Sit down each night and carefully plan out your next day. Ask yourself: “What is the most important use of my time?” and “Where do I bring the greatest value to my organization?”

4. Develop your Daily Plan by Ranking Tasks: with the key tasks that must be accomplished (based on the answers to the two questions above). Once you have listed these vital tasks, then rank them accordingly (usually the ABCD method works well).

Planning your day the night before has other benefits as well. One key benefit is that you will sleep better, as your conscious mind can rest (because you’ve written down what must be accomplished and don’t have to worry about remembering every task). Your subconscious mind can then go to work on these issues while you sleep.

5. Block Scheduling: Next, look at your day as blocks of time put together. We call this Block Scheduling. Start with ‘hour’ blocks, then as you get more practice and become more proficient at budgeting your time, you will look at 30-minute blocks of time.

6. Mark Your Calendar with these Blocks of Time: Some of the most effective time managers look at their days in 15-minute increments. Take the ranked tasks from your list and insert them into the blocks of time on your calendar, starting with the most important task first.

7. Determine what time in the day you will set aside for each task: Morning time is usually the best time to tackle your most difficult and highest priority tasks. As the day wears on and you wear down, you can then work on the other tasks requiring less mental effort. Now you’re ready to begin your day.

8. Prioritize & Focus to reach Completion: Jump right in and begin on the most important, highest value task immediately.

Focus single-mindedly on starting and finishing this task and do not deviate from your plan. One of the biggest enemies of time management is the practice of starting several tasks but never finishing any of them.

A great prompting question to always ask yourself is, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing right here, right now?” Another key to successful Block Scheduling is not getting “derailed” from your plan.  Learn to delegate routine and time consuming, but vital tasks.  Focus on what your best at and what brings you the most profit.  Yes, focus on what got you started in your business in the first place. 

9. Minimize Distractions:  Distractions like the phone, internet, email, co-workers, daydreaming, etc., can and will work to thwart your plan. Make the necessary arrangements to keep these distractions to a minimum.

10. Additional Tips: Finally, here are a few final suggestions:

* First, make sure you take the appropriate time to speak with employees and co-workers, as well as time for returning phone calls, emails, etc. The key is to do these tasks when they are scheduled (much easier said than done, of course).

* Schedule several breaks during the day  – take “5-minute vacations” where you can walk outside or around the office, stretch and clear your mind to recharge your mental batteries and allow yourself to get re-focused on your work.

I challenge you to start today by implementing these techniques. If you learn to do them and do them well, you’ll be able to use some of that new found time for some much needed personal and family enjoyment.

What makes you special?

 

 

 

 

 

One of the first lessons in building a business is really a lesson that has to be continuously examined and almost relearned: what makes you special? How are you unique?

You need to work out what is special about you, and then make a big deal about it. And don’t just say ‘price’ or ‘quality’ – these are empty terms. Make it very specific, and meaningful.

How is that possible you ask? Well here’s an idea: every person and every individual is unique – you are unique, you are different, so focus not only on your product or service, but the unique aspects of your personality, who you are, what you stand for, and what you value.

Better yet – focus on the unique positive difference your product or service will make in the lives of your unique set of ideal clientele.

Need help defining what is unique about your business? Schedule a complimentary session with us!

Are You Running on Auto-Pilot?

Are you going through your life on auto-pilot?  Are you letting your reactions and responses to life’s circumstances and events be dictated by your previous values, attitudes, and beliefs…or are your responses a result of living in the present?

Most people tend to react (act again) as they go through life.  They react to other people’s conscious, or unconscious desire, or ability to “push” their buttons, or to situations without operating in the now moments of their lives. Their reactions find their origin in their learned attitudes, beliefs, expectations, prejudices, values or historically directed emotions. When we react from the history of our past, we take the risk of:

  • over-reacting
  • under-reacting
  • reacting inappropriately
  • reacting too quickly
  • reacting too slowly

Any of these responses to any set of circumstances or people are doomed to cause continued stress, anxiety, and continued, unresolved personal feelings.

When a person reacts without being totally conscious or thinking out of the now, they’ll often say or do things they’ll regret later.

Here are a few strategies to consider the next time you find yourself out of emotional control due to another person or an event.

  1. Take a quality pause, a brief 2-3 second break where you say to yourself – I do have a choice.  I can react the way I normally would have to this stimulus or I can react differently. With the quality pause you can get out of auto-pilot and into the present.
  2. Develop the habit of counting to 5, slowly, before you speak or act as a result of a stimulus.
  3. Give someone you are close to the permission to alert you (make you aware) each and every time you react without pausing or taking the time to think through your response.
  4. Create personal anchors (a personal reminder) that automatically kicks in every time you find yourself losing emotional control.  Thought-stoppers work well here. (What’s a thought-stopper? An example might be to place an elastic band around your wrist…one about a quarter of an inch wide…and each time you find yourself into negative thought, or losing emotional control…just pull the band back and let it go.  Whatever you were thinking about will be gone in a flash.

Living life out of auto-pilot is to live incompletely…to live the past.  To live in the present…the now…only requires that you become conscious every time you are functioning from memory, expectations, or in the future.

And that’s worth thinking about…

Have You Ever Had Conflict in the Workplace?

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict in the workplace and even at home is often inevitable. Conflict is generally a good thing. A difference of opinion inspires creativity and growth. Imagine if everyone was the same and agreed all the time. Life would be boring!

The big challenge is knowing how to deal with conflict when it arises to encourage a win:win outcome.

“Seeking first to understand and then be understood,” Stephen Covey 

Step 1:  The conflict resolution process consists of setting some guidelines for the discussion. Keep the discussion above the line by taking Ownership, Accountability, and Responsibility for their actions.

Getting commitment from each party to play above the line will stop the tendency to get into a blame or excuse situation.

Getting both parties to have both self-respect and respect for others is the next step.  Creating a Win:Win working environment is the only way that will give satisfactory results.  In an environment of both self-respect as well as respect for others, both parties are willing to listen to the other’s point of view and then respond in an assertive way.

Step 2: Now is the time to get them talking. The rules are simple…

Each person gets to speak in turn on what their side of the situation is by starting with the phrase, “What I feel like expressing is…” The other party cannot interrupt until the first person has finished speaking by saying “…and that’s what I feel like expressing.”

Then the other party is to repeat to the first what he/she understands their issue to be. Only once the second person has successfully understood the situation will the first person be able to have their turn to state their case.

This method of conflict resolution allows a creative resolution to even the most challenging of issues. As long as both parties are willing, there will usually be a successful outcome.

6 Steps to a Better Business

  • Want to maximize efficiency and profit?
  • Want to turn marketing into an investment instead of expense?
  • Want to take a longer vacation while the business is making money for you?

Come to our “6 Steps to a Better Business” seminar to learn how. Give your business a chance to reach its full potential so that you can get more out of your business and your life. 

DATE AND TIME 

Wed, August 15, 2018 
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM PDT

LOCATION


ActionCOACH of Santa Clara

 

4340 Stevens Creek Boulevard #161 San Jose, CA 95129

Take ACTION today!!

 

 

PS The $10 charge is for snacks & drinks

Bring Your Goals and Brand Together

 

In many cases, the goals of an entrepreneur and the way they portray their business align rather well – there is no dissonance between external branding and internal goals. But for some business owners, there is a lack of cohesiveness in what the business is trying to say. These are the businesses that throw lots of money into their marketing, sales, and branding efforts, but get little out of them. Internal organization is just as important as sending a powerful message, and the two must mesh together perfectly if your business is going to succeed.

Depending on how large your business is, your marketing, sales, and branding teams might be distinct entities, or three parts of a single team. Regardless of how they are organized, keeping them on the same page is crucial to keeping the business running smoothly. Internecine conflict and clashing visions will only harm your business in the long term, which is why it’s so important to keep these different parts of your business aligned with one another. Business leaders commonly fail to specify the exact way in which they are supposed to work together, because they lack a clear and defined vision. You don’t want to fall into that trap, because your business will never succeed on its own. Just as an army needs a strong general to lead it, a business needs a leader with a vision and a plan.

As far as your branding efforts are concerned, make sure you know which customers you are appealing to! You can’t expect to win over every single person that walks in your door, because there is simply too much variation in people’s likes and interests. Don’t try to appeal to everybody, because you won’t make anybody happy. Instead, focus your efforts on appealing to a certain demographic. When you know what your customers are going to look like, you can then refine your message and branding towards what they want and what they will likely respond positively to.

Once your branding is set, your marketing team can then begin to sell your business as the preferred choice for your chosen customers. An established branding guideline will enable your marketing team to create targeted advertisements that will appeal to the demographics your business aims to earn the business of. Continuous communication is necessary to ensure that your marketing efforts remain in sync with the branding of your business – you don’t want your marketing team to fall out of step with the changing wants and needs of your customers.

With a sense of identity in place, your sales team can begin to use the tools created by your branding and marketing teams to seal the deal. A sales team can employ persuasive, charismatic people, but without a strong marketing and branding strategy, they will not meet with much success in convincing people to buy from you. Continuous, dedicated research will ensure that your sales team will always remain completely up to date with the newest trends and developments in your industry.

These three parts of your business rely on each other to be effective. No one group is inherently more important than the other – without a sense of cohesion and teamwork, your business will fail from the inside. As the leader of your business, it is YOUR responsibility to provide a clear, defined vision for each of your teams. Once the pieces are in place, they will begin to mesh together like gears in a well-oiled machine. A team that works together always accomplishes more, and it starts with your marketing, branding, and sales.