… One bite at a time. Or so the saying goes.
How do you complete a big project? One step at a time.
Whether completing a tax return, growing your business or constructing your dream house the steps are pretty much the same.
- Decide what the finished thing will look like and when.
- Work out the steps that are needed to get there
- Put the steps in order of what has to be done first and what can be done in parallel. Some steps will be dependent on others. Eg You can’t put windows into your house until you’ve built the walls.
- This is you project plan and can be mapped on software or just a simple checklist.
- Break each step down into bite sized pieces. I like to tie this into the Pomodoro 25minute cycles* but this isn’t always appropriate. Eg writing my books I can do about 2 hours at a time straight off (if I’ve already done the research) so it’s better without interruptions.
- Work out what resources you need for each step. eg You need all the paperwork etc before starting a tax return and you may want a coach or mentor to help grow your business.
- Now that you have the steps and resources add some timings; working back from the final deadline.
- Start. Don’t just dream but take action.
*For more on Pomodoro technique see Pomodoro Technique – Hudson Business Advice
This week’s tip is stolen from Andrew and Pete of Atomic. (Sorry guys but I can return it any time you like).
They are amongst my favourite marketing people and almost bounce out of the screen on their videos. But, like all of us, they have their bad days and shared how they coped with a particularly stressful period.
They each wrote down every single stressor that they could think of; even the little things. They then worked out one way of improving each of the items on their list. They didn’t try to make everything go away with a magic wand, but just went with one small improvement for each problem.
For more information on Atomic Marketing have a look at their new website
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?
No matter what age you are it is still worth thinking about how you will save for your retirement. And I don’t just mean saving your teeth.
There are 3 main ways that your business can fund your retirement:
1. Increase value of business for sale
If you have a valuable business this can be sold at the point of retirement to fund your new lifestyle. Your business value will increase if it is highly systemised and not dependent on you.
2. Systemise your business for residual income
If your business is highly systemised you can step out of it or just reduce your hours and still have a generous income. Whilst we often coach accountants and business owners who want to sell up, two of them have been so pleased with the process that they have actually decided not to sell yet as the revamped business operates so smoothly and takes less of their time. It’s a bit like doing up your house for sale and then deciding that you like it so much that you won’t move after all.
3. Increase profits to invest elsewhere
Some businesses have limited sale value as they will always be dependent on the expertise of the owner. In this case it makes more sense to increase your profits to invest elsewhere. Your company can pay into a third party pension scheme or SIPP very tax efficiently or you may prefer to take your profits out now, pay the tax and invest in property.
Whichever way you choose to fund or retirement, and whether you use us to help you to improve your business or not, please remember to take care of your teeth.