Lots of triathlon and sports metaphors to come. Triathlons, like running a business, are an endurance event. We’ve seen the Brownlee brothers and others helped across the finish line (there’s another message there about needing support, even in individual sports). Speed alone is no good if you can’t make it to the final goal.
Working long hours just won’t crack it as many folk are finding out after working through stressful lockdowns without a break.
Personally I like my 25 hours working week spread over 5 days. I can feel my brain slowing down throughout the day so better to go and do something nice with family or friends, or a bit of alone time rather than push on through (unless there’s an exceptional deadline).
Whatever hours you choose to work you want every one of them to count and that’s why we focus so much on efficiency on the online courses and couching sessions.
Look for one thing you can do more efficiently this week; perhaps by automating or delegating it or just improving the system.
Are they helpful or salesy?
Charlie runs my local garage. As it’s just 15 minutes walk away it’s a convenient place to get my MOT done each year. And every year Charlie, or one of his team, sends me a reminder a month before my MOT is due.
I know that it’s now possible to get an email reminder via the .gov.uk website but Charlie has been doing this for years.
That reminder is true customer service because it helps me to ensure that my car is safe and compliant.
That reminder is good marketing because Charlie knows that I will pick up the phone and book my MOT with him. And, whilst doing the MOT, he may pick up additional work. And, as I see him as my regular garage he’s the first person I think about when the Service light goes on in my car.
What can you do to genuinely help your clients that will also lead to a sale?
Small business owners usually do a mixture of working on and in their business. It’s very easy to get sucked into working IN your business to generate profits and income today but it is also essential to work ON your business to grow and generate future profits.
So how do we get the balance right?
I use a default diary to try and ensure that I get a good balance at the planning stage.
Monday: ON catch up on admin, clear my inbox, follow up leads.
Tuesday: IN Write, rehearse and record webinars and talks for the speaking and training parts of my business.
Wednesday: IN Minerva Accountants work.
Thursday: ON/IN Marketing and content writing for myself and third parties as I write content and articles for fintechs and accountants.
Friday: IN/ON Individual and group coaching for my various online programmes and then my own business development time, implementing ideas from books, webinars and conferences that I have attended.
Of course, in the real world, it isn’t easy to stick to this but having it in my diary in the first place means that I am more likely to move my work slots around than to cancel them completely.
On a Friday afternoon I like to plan out any remaining work in my diary so that I can hit the ground running on a Monday morning.
How do you structure your week?
Decision fatigue is the exhaustion that comes with making constant decisions. My tip this week is to remove some of the smaller decisions in your life so here are some ideas for deciding what to wear.
I’d like to think that I simplified my wardrobe long before Steve Jobs or Barack Obama but I don’t know when they started to wear their ‘uniform’ rather than spending time deciding what to wear each day.
- The simplest thing is to limit your wardrobe to one main colour so that you need fewer changes to match outfits. You may have noticed that I’m almost always wearing blue with black footwear.
- I also wear branded polo shirts and jeans for normal work days. They’re as comfortable as a t-shirt so can be worn when working from home but the collar makes them slightly smarter. Choose something that matches your business image.
- These days I follow a 333 clothes system where I choose 33 items of clothing (excluding underwear and sports kit) to last me 3 months. Any seasonal clothes get stored in a box in the loft. I’m pleasantly surprised that I haven’t needed to cheat yet but you set your own rules.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
Have you read the book ‘The 4-hour work week’ by Timothy Ferris?
I read it a few years ago thinking that it would help me to run my business more efficiently in just 4 hours a week. Whilst it does have lots of efficiency tips for any business, it was built around the idea of building a business purely to earn money to finance a lifestyle. While this may be your objective too I was disappointed that there was no thought of creating enjoyable work or focus on serving a client’s needs.
If you haven’t read the book then I can recommend it as it certainly gave me a few ideas that helped me to run a business I loved in a 25-hour work week, and I believe we helped our clients and their businesses too.