As a small business owner, the biggest challenge is usually not so much in knowing what to do. After all, you have probably studied as much as you can and looked into finding what needs to be done next. The biggest challenge for many is having the time to get everything done.
If you’re like many other small business owners, you probably have a schedule that is full of tasks, projects, meetings, and marketing plans that need to be done. This can cause a lot of stress, especially when you don’t achieve all you set out to each day. This often leads to moving the un-done tasks from today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s, putting you behind schedule tomorrow before the day even begins!
The good news is that there are only five actions you need to complete to get more done each and every day, so that you still have time to spend on yourself.
Yes, just 5.
That is what you want, isn’t it? You want to get business stuff done without feeling overwhelmed, leaving you some time for yourself, your family and your friends.
1. Determine what must get done to help you move forward and what is busy work.
It is extremely important that you know and understand which of your tasks must be completed, and which can be put to the side to be completed at another date or not completed at all (at least not by you).
Even if you don’t think you have it, set aside about two hours. During the first hour make a list of everything that you do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Make sure you include everything including the small things such as posting to Facebook and checking email to the big things such as tracking your expenses and paying your bills.
Once your list is complete, spend the next hour prioritizing your list.
Break it down into three categories:
- things that you must do to keep your business running,
- things that will help move your business forward,
- and things that are nice to get done but don’t normally get done.
When your lists are finished you will easily be able to determine which tasks you must get done to productively move forward in your business and which are only keeping busy without any productive movement.
2. Delegate tasks to your team.
Take your list of tasks that must get done and delegate what you can to your team.
First, decide which tasks you want to complete because they fall into your skill sets. Do not decide to complete tasks simply because you feel you are the only one who can do them well. If you enjoy writing blog articles, then write them. But, if you are better at managing a team and communicating with customers, then do that.
Next, find out which tasks each team member has the skill set for (if you don’t already know) and ask them to complete that task. If you do not have a large team, that is fine, you can still find someone else to complete that task. There are plenty of outsourcing opportunities and websites to help with this.
3. Schedule time to check your email.
Do you find yourself obsessing over your email, constantly checking it, or feeling overwhelmed by your full inbox? You are not alone. Millions of business owners feel just like you when it comes to email.
The best thing you can do to help reduce your overwhelm is to schedule time into your calendar for checking email. You may have to test a few different time slots to find what works best for you, but once you do, your whole email experience will change.
Once you have decided on a time, stick with your schedule (use a timer when you first start). Your clients will get used to your schedule, and you will have less overwhelm.
If you’re finding that it’s not possible to reply to all of your emails in a small, set time, or if your business is one in which you must reply to emails more often, look at hiring someone – or outsourcing to someone – who can manage these emails. A Virtual Assistant (VA) can be ideal for this role.
4. Take advantage of the technology available to you.
Microsoft Outlook and excel are common software programs while your smartphone is a common piece of technology that you probably use on a daily basis. How much do you really know about using these items?
You may use them and enjoy their functions, but do you know all the shortcuts available to you? Microsoft Outlook (and other email services), for example, provide quick shortcuts for adding appointments and meetings directly to your calendar. Instead of using these shortcuts you may be manually entering each event and appointment into your calendar. (This is one of those tasks that you could delegate.)
You may also be missing some helpful apps on your smartphone such as Evernote or your favorite to-do list. You’ll be able to get more done if you spend a bit of time learning how to fully take advantage of what technology has to offer. Once you embrace technology and a few time-saving apps, you may wonder how you manged without it!
5. Reflect, review, and repeat.
As you complete each of the actions above, make sure you schedule time to reflect and review upon what you have done. A weekly, monthly, and quarterly review of what worked and what didn’t can truly help take your business forward with great force.
Do you ever worry that you sound too pushy or salesy when trying to convert a potential client into a paying client?
Don’t be afraid to admit it …
It’s one of the biggest fears that many small business owners share so if this is you, you’re certainly not alone.
The fear of sounding salesy and pushy is very real. However, there are many ways that you can gain new clients and customers without being pushy.
Nobody wants to buy from an annoying salesperson, so you want to make sure you are approaching your potential clients with a connection. You want them to connect to you, your services, or your products.
The following are 5 top ways to get more customers without being pushy.
1. Focus on solving your potential customer’s problems rather than on you and your product/service.
Unless you are the owner, nobody cares about your company. Perhaps not nobody, but pretty close to it. This may sound harsh, but it is true. At least when it comes to your customers. If they are coming to your business it is generally because of what it can offer them.
People care about finding answers to their problems. They will find a company that shows they can do this. Unfortunately, most small business owners make this mistake over and over again. They are so excited about the potential new customer that they jump right in with the sales pitch.
Instead, take time to find out what pain points and problems your potential customer is facing. This approach may take a bit more time than simply making a sales pitch, but you will be able to explain your product or service in a way that shows it solves that person’s problem.
They will be much more likely to purchase from you if they know what they are spending their money on will really help them.
2. Tell a story.
Everyone likes a good story. You can truly make an impact with your potential customer by telling your story. You are most likely in the business you are because you once had a need, desire, or interest in the services and products you are now selling. (You may even still have those needs, desires and interests…if not, you may want to rekindle that flame.)
Telling a story also allows your potential client to make a connection with you or your service. They will get to know more about you and see how your service or product can really help them solve their problem.
3. Connect with your audience and show that you genuinely care about them and in helping them.
People buy from people they can trust. Building a connection with your potential customer will help them trust you more and believe that you genuinely care about helping them.
There are many ways to connect with your potential customer – you can share your story, ask them questions, and allow them to feel as though they are the only one in the world at the moment they are speaking or working with you.
Finding out what will help them the best will show that you care about them and are not going to simply offer your newest, shiniest product or service.
4. Where possible, let your potential customers talk more than you do.
You can cut back on a lot of the pushiness by letting your potential customer do the talking. You will find that this approach is much easier for both you and your prospect.
As they talk, ask them questions. You will find out more information about them so you can honestly offer them the best solution You will have more wins for you.
You do want to be careful about the questions you ask, though. Make sure you are asking open ended questions so they can give you a complete response rather than a quick and simple yes or no.
Getting your prospect to talk more will also let you know if you and your product/service are the best option for them. If not, tell them. They’ll appreciate your honesty and possibly become a potential reference for their friends who do fit your service.
5. Give great service, focus on building relationships with your customers (yes, even after the sale) and then to recommend you to their friends.
Always provide what you promised and a little more. That little bit more can be a huge difference between a good service and a great service. The little more can simply be showing that you want to build a relationship with them.
Having a client who feels they can trust you to solve their problems will help you serve them better and get even more customers. After you have solved the problem for your customer, ask them to recommend you and write a testimonial. Then, continue the relationship. You can help them find the next product for their next problem or keep updated on their success after they have used your product.
Building a genuine connection with your client will help prevent you coming across as pushy. You want them to have a connection with you or your product/service. Using the five methods above will give you ultimate selling power without being salesy.
Have you ever wondered how it is that some people manage to get soooo much done in so little time? Or how some businesses seem to be able to follow up with their customers or leads so easily (and wonder how you could do the same?)
A lot of that comes down to having good systems in place and automating many of these processes.
This week I was lucky enough to be able to interview Jason Buckner who specialises in sales automation. Click the “Play” arrow below to listen to this interview with Jason.
He shares some very helpful tips, including the biggest mistakes he sees business owners making when automating these processes.
The coupon code you need to enter to receive the discount is:
Type that into the “Coupon” field and click the “Apply” button. The amount due will then change to the reduced amount. 🙂
Remember: “If it has to be done once, do it. If it has to be done twice, make a system of it. If it has to be done thrice, automate it.” ~ Jason Buckner, Sales Automation Specialist.