BEHIND THE SCENES OF MY BUSINESS - APRIL 2018

Last night I attended a book event, hosted by Waterstones Piccadilly, to launch ‘Dare To Tri’ written by the breakfast presenter, Louise Minchin. During question time, I asked Louise how she manages ‘to do it all.’ After all she’s up at 3.30am to get prepped for her early morning breakfast show on the BBC and gets home around 11am following a hectic and stressful morning. Behind The Scenes Of My Business - April 2018

You’d think Louise would be ready for a power nap, or at the very least a giant slice of energy boosting cake after her 3.30am start. But no. She’s off and out with her Labrador, Waffle, running through the Cheshire countryside, training for her next triathlon. I discovered that Louise uses trickery to make herself do the training. For example she gets her husband to drop her off in Cheshire so that she has to run home. Given how Louise has dragged him into her triathlon capers, I imagine he’s only too willing to oblige!

One of the questions I’m often is asked how I’m able to get so much done? I have three secrets:

  • I turn off all notifications so I can’t get distracted by pinging messages that aren’t urgent.
  • Focused activity; this includes 2 days in the office per week dedicated to working on my own marketing activities.
  • I have a list of daily, weekly and monthly tasks which I know I have to complete if my business is to succeed.

Whilst I cannot claim never to waste time, and always have a to-do list as long as my arm, I’m highly driven by my desire to make my business work. The alternative to making a success of my business - at least in my mind - is getting a job. And that’s not an option I will ever countenance.

So instead of looking at Twitter and Facebook, checking the news headlines to see what that ghastly man in the White House has been doing, texting a friend, or even flicking through pictures of interiors on Instagram, I knuckle down and get on with it.

Procrastination is the thief of time, as they say, and I don’t have time to waste. Other than occasionally nipping down to my favourite café, Ginger & Dobbs, to meet my friend Ed, eat cherry bakewells and put the world to rights.

Here’s a peak behind the scenes of my business and what works for me when it comes to get things done.

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WORK IN A WAY THAT SUITS YOU BEST

I have friends that like to work in 90-minute chunks, move around and then get back to work. I’ve tried time blocking and it drove me nuts. Instead I prefer to focus my efforts on completing a group of related activities e.g.

  • A full day of meetings, whether these are with my business consulting clients, or a series of business networking events.
  • Dedicated time in the office writing a new article and promotional content for my website.
  • Focusing entirely on a project for a client which may mean I work in 2 or 3-hour chunks until I need a quick break.

Time blocking doesn’t work for me, but it may for you. What’s important is you find a way of working that suits you, not somebody else.

DAILY, WEEKLY & MONTHLY ACTIVITIES

Left to my own devices, my natural inclination is to become so engrossed in the project I’m working on that I forget about everything else. That’s why I keep a short list of the key activities I have to do – on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – to keep the engine of my business running smoothly.

Daily Tasks

  • Check in with one or two clients.
  • Follow up my sales pipeline.
  • Book 1:1s with business owners in my network.
  • Post on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Spend a few minutes interacting on social media with particular regard to Twitter and Instagram.

Weekly Tasks

  • Check my bank account and update my cash flow forecast.
  • Chase up any slow payers.
  • Review my sales pipeline and consider whether I need to increase my business networking.
  • Attend a minimum of one business networking events (being a BNI member guarantees this happens) and ideally two.
  • Check in with clients where they’ve requested weekly accountability.
  • Write 2 articles for my website and write to my email subscribers.
  • Record 1-2 videos for my YouTube channel.
  • My own weekly review.

Monthly Tasks

  • Prepare for upcoming monthly client meetings, including a review of their P&L reports and cash flow forecasts.
  • Review the financial performance of my business.
  • My own monthly review.

By looking at my list of daily, weekly and monthly activities, you can see that my focus is on the following:

  1. Communication With My Clients – I don’t want to swamp my clients with emails and phone calls, but you’ll note that I keep in regular contact throughout the month. This is an important part of my customer care.
  2. Marketing – A significant proportion of my time is spent on the key marketing activities that drive sales in my business i.e. extending and building relationships with my network.
  3. Keeping Tabs On the Financials – The bedrock of my business is my cash flow forecast. I make sure it’s up to date and use it to help me make strategic decisions.
  4. Reviewing – I routinely assess and evaluate what is and isn’t working well, and use this information to make small tweaks. In sport, this is called marginal gains.

If you’re not happy with your current work habits, I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration to make changes that work for you.

LAST MONTH I WAS

Reading … James Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty,’ ‘Sprint’ by Google Ventures partners Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz and ‘Well designed’ by John Kolko.

Listening ToWellness With Liz Earle and Anger Management With former leader of the Liberal Democta, Nick Clegg.

Writing About ... My latest brand crush, Trinny London, and summer marketing ideas, including the Royal Wedding.

THIS MONTH, I’M

Looking Forward To … sunny days on the beach, making a dent in my reading list and completing a branding project and new website for one of my clients.

Question: How was your April? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.

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