Five Reasons You Should Get A Real Job

3 MIN READ

“It’s so frustrating! I want to follow my passion like you’ve always said but I’m not getting anywhere. I can’t afford it.”

My son is a highly talented musician who is also incredibly skilled in computers and techy stuff like that. We bought him his first drum kit for his second birthday after watching him in nappies, at one year of age, that he could hold a beat with perfect technique. Now, at 23 years of age, he makes electronic music and plays clubs and gigs in our home city of Melbourne. He doesn’t just love making music. It’s who he is. And like so many creatives out there, he is frustrated by lack of funding in the pursuit of his dream.

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position,” John C. Maxwell

“You will need to get a job,” I replied. “Your dream is your responsibility, but so is funding it.”

This same philosophy applies to any heart-centred, soul driven business owner who started their business to make their dreams come true, but who keeps hitting cash flow roadblocks. The brutal realities of the marketplace make this pursuit like chasing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You want to roll out your products and services far and wide, and you are driven by the deep conviction that this is your life mission. But you just can’t convert your prospects into profit, and your back is against the wall.

You might have a challenge with advertising, problems with your business model, a need for more leads, or a lack of clarity around how to package your offering. You might find it difficult to maintain consistency with your client care, struggle to manage your social media, or find yourself drowning in confusing, overwhelming admin. Whatever the problems you face behind closed doors, the simple reality is that if you had enough revenue you would be able to keep going. The breaking point for the businesses that don’t make it through their first three years is always in their cash flow. Businesses fail when there is not enough money to continue.

Finding employment doesn’t have to mean walking away from your business dreams altogether. On the contrary, it might be the very thing you need to keep up the chase. You could work after hours, part time, leaving just enough space to keep the flame of your business burning ever brighter. Here are five reasons why you might consider biting the bullet and getting a real job:

1. Pay your bills!! You don’t want to let things get so far behind as to default on overdue payments or lose accesses to essential services.

2. Fund your business growth. Whether you need business coaching, a new website, new equipment or more stock, growth money must come from somewhere. If it’s not coming from sales, why not bring it in from a reliable, predictable salary?

3. Get some sleep. A job could release the pressure valve just enough that you could catch some long overdue Zs. Take the time you need to rest your body.

4. Reset your mindset. The relief of having a little bit of money again might make you realise that you have worked yourself up into a frenzy trying to complete your life’s work overnight. This is not a sprint, but a marathon. Let time work its magic.

5. Build your infrastructure. When you are desperate for sales in your start up business, all you chase is sales. This is understandable and in many ways necessary, but it undermines your ability to build the management structures and systems you need to sustain your business growth. If you can earn enough money to just scrape by for a while, your future self will thank you for investing time, money and headspace into the big business you have always dreamed of.

Honestly, if it’s cash you need, consider getting a job. You heard me! If you’re building a business from scratch and you are not making enough money it’s time to admit that it’s not working just yet, and you need to meet your financial commitments. There are far too many great businesses that suffer unnecessary demise because the owner was too embarrassed or too naive to take the courageous step to rise to the responsibility of funding the creation of their opus. This is your legacy. Own it and nurture it through every season.

Become The Captain Of Your Growth

2 MIN READ

One of the most powerful attributes of the small business owner is the passion they have for their work. People like you work night and day to roll out their offering and expand their reach into increasingly larger segments of the market. I love owning and running my small businesses. Having lots of pots on the boil and managing my team towards bustling productivity is certainly the life for me. I take pride in managing my systems well, and love when I see the grand plan come together to achieve the outcome I have been crafting along the way.

While your passion for your business is certainly an asset which propels you through your toughest days, it has the potential to trip you up in your ability to drive your businesses to new growth. Many small business owners are so passionate about their products and services that they become tied to the work of delivering these, which essentially sees them working night and day IN their business, rather than stepping ahead of this motivation to work ON their business as the captain of their own ship.

They key to small business freedom is to set up the systems and processes that will transform the small operation you have now. To prepare yourself for the task of transforming your core business processes, you first need to take inventory of the work that actually happens in your business on a daily basis. You might be surprised at what you find by following these six preparation steps:

  1. Buy a brand new notebook and rule up the first few pages with three columns: time, task, duration, category
  2. Set an alarm to go off about every hour or two for the next 3 or 4 weeks
  3. At every alarm jot down the things you did in the previous block. Not every step, just the tasks themselves
  4. By the end of the four weeks you will start to see patterns emerging and categories you can chunk together
  5. Use these chunks to inform the restructure of your daily business tasks into well organised Business Departments
  6. Reorganise each of the tasks in your Task Journal so they are grouped together into their Business Departments

When you love what you do it is easy to forget that you don’t own a job, but a business. This business needs a manager who will rise to the task of building sustainable structures for growth. Systemising the routine tasks of your daily operations is the only way for you to free yourself from the daily grind and set yourself up as the leader who will steer their operations strategically through to limitless expansion.

Success Mindset Triad For Small

3 MIN READ

We all know the undeniable power of our mindset and the effect it has on our outcomes every day. Our mindset determines our expectations, our priorities, our goals, our actions, and how we feel about our situation at any given moment. This brain I have been blessed with sees things in systems, and when it comes to mindset, there are certain components of the equation that fit together to make things work for us. I’d like to sidestep my usual resource management thread in this article to take a quick look at the system that underpins all else in our business. I call it a Mindset Triad. These are the three components of a Healthy Business Mindset:

 “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” Henry Ford

1.THOUGHTS: “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will” Zig Ziglar

The first element of our Mindset Triad is our thoughts. I might appear to be stating the obvious here, but our thoughts have a primary bearing on our mindset. Studies show we have about 50,000 – 100,000 thoughts per day which equates to 35-48 thoughts per second. But the thing here, is that the majority of these thoughts are not new. We largely cycle through the same thoughts day in, day out. Only 5% of our thoughts are actually fresh and hot off the press.

I’m tempted to digress here into the untapped potential most of us have hidden in our ability to create new thoughts which would undoubtedly create new outcomes, but I will refrain. Instead, I will simply say this: The tendency of our brain to put our thought patterns on autopilot, churning the same ideas through on repeat like a broken record, is actually an asset we can harness. What if we ensured that our thoughts were positive, empowering, liberating, daring, bold, and filled with hopeful expectations of success? The “thinking” component of our Mindset Triad would truly become a habit which continued to serve us regardless of the circumstances.

2. ACTIONS: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit” Aristotle

While our mental scripts play a massive role in the management of our mindset, what we do with our time, our bodies, our responsibilities, our preferences and our impulses make a massive difference to our mindset. Our Actions then, are the second component of our Mindset Triad. How we act can lead directly to create a thought pattern. My actions can lead me to feeling proud, tired, deflated, or optimistic. What I do sends a message to me about me.

I often say that we are in the front row seats of our lives. We are our own first audience. If we see ourselves take a bold new step, we remind ourselves we are powerful to create change. If we watch ourselves stand strong, we prove to ourselves that we are steadfast and unwavering in our dedication. If we observe ourselves learning something new, we teach ourselves that we are flexible and agile and that we will not be intimidated by the price of progress.  Our actions write the script of our self talk, so we want to ensure that we see consistently ourselves travelling on the road to success.

3.FEELINGS: “We don’t have a Mental Health problem. We have a Feelings problem. We need to prioritise simply feeling good” Dr Rosemary McCallum. PhD

Our Thoughts and Actions certainly contribute directly to the health of our mindset, but these two vital elements contribute most to our feelings, which is the part of the “Mindset Triad” which allows us to experience reward. If we say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, or think the wrong thing, ultimately we feel bad. If that bad feeling were to continue, or to grow by adding more bad feelings, it wouldn’t be too long before we had a struggle with our mindset that would start to see us unravel at our very core.

Our Feelings are such a pivotal part of our Mindset Triad that we should give them much more focus than we tend to. I’m not talking about indulging our feelings in such a way as to become selfish, lazy, immature or frail. What I mean here is making it our top priority to think, do and say the things that make us feel good. It feels great to think we will succeed, and develop a confidently optimistic outlook about ourselves and our ability to do well, regardless of unexpected twists and turns. So we should focus on developing those thoughts and maximising the results. It also makes us feel good to work hard and win. We feel great when we take a bold step out into something new and pursue a pathway of victory regardless of trials and obstacles along the way. So we should give those types of actions a go more often, backing ourselves that we will prevail.

Keeping these three components of the Mindset Triad in balance is not so much about trying to equalise each part. Rather, success with our mindset will come to the Small Business Owner who realises that positive thoughts and positive actions all hinge on our ability to make Feeling Good our first priority.

3 Ways To Overcome Small Business Isolation

3 MIN READ

It is easy to develop a sense of isolation in small business, but the reality is there is an army of people just like you striving to enliven their passions through their business. Small businesses represent a massive 97% of all registered Australian businesses. Our nation is built on the thousands of diverse operations that keep our communities chugging along around the clock. Small businesses account for 33% of Australia’s GDP, employ over 40% of Australia’s workforce, and pay around 12% of total company tax revenue.  In 2015 small businesses created 40% of all new jobs for our Lucky Country. Small business is a vital part of the Australian economy.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb

Taking a closer look at the statistics reveals some surprising insights. While the vast majority of Australian businesses are small, sole trader operations makeup 61% of all small businesses, and an additional 27% of small businesses have less than five employees. These micro businesses and small operations are everywhere, functioning across countless industries and operating from creative and resourceful outlets.

Finding this army of small business soldiers is easier said than done, with so many working from their kitchen tables, garages, or small workspaces that are affordable but private. For the sole trader, keeping expenses low and profits high is a balancing act that takes priority over all other business aims. While this is completely understandable, and essential, this important effort to manage expenses can have detrimental effects on the business owner. As human beings, we have a core need of social contact and relationships to maintain personal balance. We all need people in our circle to discuss concerns, brainstorm questions, vent frustrations, and celebrate wins. Having a second opinion is always smart idea, as is seeking the advice from a trusted mentor to brainstorm the things in life that puzzle us. This is true for people in service and retail, men and women, young and old, introverts and extroverts. As people, we need other people.

If you are reading this and have the feeling this article has been written just for you, then let’s get busy making a shift here for the better. Here are three ways you can come out from behind the veil of your business and get some social sunshine on your beautiful face:

Get Active On Social Media

If time and money are pressing, the fastest shortcut to increased social interaction is right here in LinkedIn and Facebook. Building up your connections through these networks will create and engage a team of people happy to flick through their newsfeed and respond to the exchanges you initiate. Asking questions, sharing stories, posting high value tips and advice will do the trick for ramping up your social contact just perfectly, without you even leaving your desk. It will also do wonders for your business. Get your contacts raving about your business and build up your reputation for the online world to see.

Get Out Networking

You could never convince me you have no way of making new connections in your local community. There are endless ways to find social events that are happening in your town every single day. You can ask Google about events in your city, sift through Meetup.com for groups that suit your interests, check out your local council website, or go old school and read up local events in the newspaper. If you are like me and you are mad about business, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people are just like us. Business events are a dime a dozen, and when you have found a few good ones, you’ll be expanding your influence and making friends all at once.

Reconnect With Your Loved Ones

When was the last time you had a quality conversation with your friends, parents, kids, cousins, or dare I say it, your partner? Studies show that small business owners spend long hours either at work or thinking about work, which spills over into the relationships we share with our loved ones. Investing in the development of a strong foundation rewards us with benefits in our physical and mental health, giving us the refreshment and support we need to sustain lasting gains in our business. Scheduling time for the people who mean the most to us is a sure fire way to replace feelings of isolation, stress and overwhelm with connection, peace and confidence. These are essential for success not only in business, but in life.

Your Business Baby

4 MIN READ

Many of us who are business owners have also been parents, nurturing our newborn from the moment they take their first breath, then supporting them for as long as we can through to adult maturity. Our work in growing our small business is very much like the journey we take with raising our children. From the early stages of conception through to the powerful strides of maturity, our businesses depend on us to craft a safe pathway for expansion through to the fulfillment of the their potential.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.” John Henry Newman, Leader of the Oxford Movement, Catholic Cardinal

Newborn

The birth of our business is like the birth of our bouncing first baby. With delight we watch this bundle of joy draw its first breath and we are filled with blissful, naive wonder. Yes, it is a living thing, but no, it cannot function at all on its own. The business name is registered, the logo designed, domain bought, and business cards printed, but this brand new business does nothing without our involvement. Every single part of this life must be nurtured, nourished, supervised and attended to. This newborn business relies totally on us providing everything it needs to survive this highly vulnerable stage. We work around the clock to sustain the business, and it is so young that it is nowhere near able to sustain us. This is our calling. This is our mission. We intend to give it our all.

Infancy

From first days of our baby business being born we work hard to provide the nourishment that the business needs to grow. We develop our pricing plan, business offerings, sales and marketing strategy, and our oh-so-necessary social media profiles. In these first months it is vital we invest heavily into developing the structures that will sustain the business as it grows. There was a time when you didn’t know what you didn’t know, but now the writing is clearly on the wall.

As you gain more clients you will need more efficient systems of customer service to deliver your offering, earn client referrals and testimonials, and have them coming back for more. Increased trade will have you performing more transactions so you will have to develop effective record keeping strategies and gather business data to track your performance. And as you encounter increasing administration needs you must establish routines which keep work flowing productively and without bottlenecks. You will need to take great care that your business growth does not push your expenses beyond what you can afford, or you will face the heartbreaking demise of your business before you ever really began.

At this point the bubble has burst and you start to question that commitment you made to give it your all. But still, you press on. This is your passion.

Childhood

If you have done the work of building your early business systems your bundle of joy will continue to grow and expand. It is a relief to see that things aren’t quite so desperate as they were before. You might even squeal in excited amazement as you watch your business take its first steps towards independence. The first automated sale. The first staff member. The first repeat customer. The first profitable year. The first real weekend off! These first years in business can go as slowly or as quickly as you can plan for. The better the systems, the faster the progress towards maturity, and the more your growing business has in it’s backpack to get itself through the day.

Adolescence

With our business continuing to hum along on the strength of our systems we reach a time where life gets easier. The taxi runs of adolescence are not quite as demanding as the infant’s mid-night feeds or early morning teething problems we once faced. But when the adolescent business has a moment, oh boy, do we feel it!

We have come to expect that our business doesn’t need us quite the way it used to, and there is liberty in that for all of us. Your staff know what to do, how to do it, and when they have done it well. Your automations run along as smooth as silk, maintaining your records, facilitating sales, delivering your offering, and boosting your advertising and marketing for you.

And then the adolescent hissy fit hits! Your system crashes. Your staff get sick. Your ads don’t work. Your shop is flooded. You miss your sales targets. Your expenses go up without your say so. And you reel…

And then, you recover. You strengthen your position and give your growing business more of what it needs. New approaches. Responsive wisdom. Adult leadership. You nurture your adolescent business through to maturity.

Adulthood

This journey continues on for years. Each of us have different ideals which guide our business aims. If we’ve done the job of raising our business well, we’ll increasingly see the fulfilment of these pursuits. Our operations will be robust, resilient and responsive to change because we will have developed the people and the systems to sustain this business health. A business that is strong with stability, alive with vitality, and far reaching with its impact will become this because the business owner set out to build the systems that would grow something bigger than themselves.

Would you join me on your own fast track to running this type of business? My mission is to stretch daily beyond my current capacity into driving an operation greater than I am, and to take as many people as I can with me. I can see the mountaintop from here. I can feel the breeze on my skin and the sun shining on my face. It is alive and real in my mind’s eye, and I bring it to fruition every day in my relentless dedication to building systems for growth. I will have a mature business which offers new possibilities for the future for my staff, clients and partners.

Morning Like A Boss

4 MIN READ

For many small business owners our days are filled with action. Important meetings, pressing deadlines, urgent priorities, and then those surprise situations which push themselves to the top of the list. How we start our day has a massive bearing on how we continue. By creating a productive morning routine as a structure which never changes we can run our mornings on autopilot. This is productivity without the pressure and it has massive positive effects which snowball the benefits into the rest of our business growth.

Now that your eyes are open, make your sun jealous with your burning passion to start the day. Make the sun jealous or stay in bed. -Malak El Halabi

Studies show that our will-power is strongest first thing in the morning. We are more alert, more focussed, more positive and more willing to roll up our sleeves and get stuff done in the morning than we are at any other point of the day. This is the perfect opportunity for the small business owner who needs to make the most of every moment to stay ahead of the curve. I love my mornings. I get so much of my most important routine work done in those first couple of hours of the day. For me, this is the structural maintenance stuff that I need to keep everything humming along while I grow. The basics that must be attended to or else I would land myself in hot water.

I have encountered two horror stories recently in the area of accounting. A business consultant friend of mine told me the first troublesome tale. They were working with the owner of a big company without routine processes to maintain their accounting which landed them with a Xero account that was bursting at the seams. Over 2000 unreconciled transactions which needed to have accounts set up, reconciled and invoices matched. It was a management disaster that took them months of unproductive time to sort out, and some additional headaches with the ATO.

The second sad story came from a client of mine who needed help with organising her business accounting. I sat speechless as she showed me through three years worth of start up business transactions spread over three different bank accounts, with two of them mixing personal transactions in with her business ones. I helped her create a basic structure for her chart of accounts and advised her to make the management of her accounting part of her daily routine. I then sent her off to her accountant to square away the items I’m not qualified to help with. She had a massive admin task on her hands, and again the stress was multiplied with the ATO chasing her up for overdue returns.

Now I am no accounting expert and I lean heavily into the support of my accountant for the management of my taxes. But I am the only one who can be responsible for managing my daily business transactions and maintaining accurate, up to date business records. We must start out as we aim to continue. There are ongoing business admin tasks that can quickly become chaos if they are not managed regularly, but I have found that there are plenty of jobs which disappear to almost nothing like fairy floss dissolving in your mouth if you do them daily.

I know plenty of people who rave about the benefits of self care time in the mornings. Yoga, meditation, work out, reflections and gratitudes are high on the list of “Great Ways To Start Your Day” for lots of business gurus. I agree these things are a priority, but I personally start my day on my phone, flicking through several apps to manage my accounting, social media, emails and team members. My morning routine goes like this:

  1. Open my calendar to review what I have scheduled for the day
  2. Hootsuite on my phone to push scheduled content through to Instagram
  3. Open Xero on my phone to reconcile transactions from the day before
  4. Open Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram on my phone to check and respond to Social Media notifications
  5. Open GMail on my phone to take a quick scan of anything urgent I should attend to when I first sit at my desk
  6. Open Meetup on my phone to check event notifications and messages from members
  7. Open Slack on my phone to check in with my team
  8. Then, I go outside for a run or some yoga, or head to the gym
  9. Make a delicious healthy breakfast that will see me through to the afternoon, if not all the way to dinner
  10. Open my computer and get into emails. I was in there the day before so there’s no build up

This routine literally takes me about three hours, and sets me up to manage the tasks which build up to overwhelm if we don’t stay on top of them. My assistants have very clear Routine Documents which spell out exactly how they are to start every day too, and then each of their routine items are scheduled in RTMS, our business process software. Nothing is missed, payments are never late, tasks never get out of control, people are contacted regularly, and all is well with the world.

You can set up your perfect morning too by following these three steps … And if you do number four, you will be able to delegate some of your morning work to really get some momentum going:

  1. LIST the routine things you need to do on a daily basis to keep on top of them
  2. SCHEDULE that list for every work morning
  3. TIME the list: how long does it take you to cover your basics? This is how long you need for your Morning Routine
  4. DOCUMENT how to do each step of the items in your morning routine that need to be done but not necessarily by you

I Hate Typing

4 MIN READ

I hated my year 9 typing class. Deeply. Passionately. I despised lining up outside the old wooden door of the typing room, and I loathed filing in like little soldiers when Mr. Lang came to get started. The walls were grey and the cork pinboards had bits and pieces of old notices flapping in what would have been a breeze if the room wasn’t so damn stagnant. The computers sat stoically like boxes of ancient technology that were dated before the batch had even been purchased by the Victorian Dept of Education.

When it comes to building business growth, I will take efficiency and accuracy over speed any day of the week.

I had chosen the class simply to complete the minimum units of Science and Technology required to pass the year. I loved my English, History, and Drama, but getting through the subjects in other areas was tiresome and mind-numbing for me. I still remember sitting through 45-minute sessions of dry old rote learning, where we would practice fj fj fj fj fj for 5 minutes, then move onto fyj fyj fyj fyj , then advance further for another 5 minutes to fryj fryj fryj … It was so boring that I occasionally faced the embarrassment of needing to rush out to the bathroom to clean up the brain juice that was trickling out of my ear.

The aim of these classes was to become a proficient touch typist. At 13 years of age, I could not have cared less about this skill. It seemed irrelevant and meaningless to me… it certainly made no difference in my real world where telephones were attached to walls and music came from record players and cassette decks. I did not grow up in an affluent neighborhood. We never had a computer at home. I never even owned one till I was in my 20s.

It is amazing how easily our world can become insular and our vision so very short-sighted. As a working-class year 9 student I totally missed the point. The touch typing test on Fridays made me think that the aim was to get faster at typing, but now on reflection, I see that what we were actually learning was how to be accurate, efficient typists. This was where the speed would come from. It doesn’t matter how many letters you can type in a minute. What matters is that the letters are being typed correctly and that you are doing this with the most efficient combination of keystrokes possible. It is only when we tick these two boxes that our touch typing becomes fast and effective and that we can really use typing as a tool to create something amazing with our work.

In business, we can make these same mistakes too. It’s very easy to pursue the short-term goal of working faster, instead of realizing the long-term impact of developing work systems that champion accuracy and efficiency. I meet so many people who tell me they work long and hard, and that they are really very organized. But in the next breath they explain they are tired and they are not getting anywhere with some of their key aims. It is one thing to work fast. It is another to work with accuracy and efficiency. These are the things we need to improve to create something amazing with our work.

The person trying to work faster will have a To Do List that seems to be getting longer, not shorter, but the person working to improve their efficiency and accuracy will get through their work effectively and without the need to double back. The business owner in pursuit of speed alone will champion their long list of daily achievements and wear them like a badge of honor. The business person set on improving their efficiency and accuracy will invest time in building the systems required to work less and achieve more without mistakes. The one aiming to get more done themselves will miss out on the benefits of setting up structures for others to do the work for them.

In the short term, setting up systems to facilitate accuracy and efficiency feels irrelevant and boring, especially if you haven’t yet seen the capacity you have to do something amazing with your work. When you look at your inbox, you want to simply get through as many as you can as fast as you can. When you are filing you want to put as much away as possible without spending more time on the task. When you are creating social media content or posting it out, you just want to get the job done and move on to something else. When you come to reconciling your transactions, you don’t want to spend one more minute on the task than you have to. But with this approach, you will always be tied to the job yourself, and even if you are working at your peak performance, you will be limited by the clock. There are only so many things you can do in any one minute.

But when you are building your business with a system mentality you work to reduce the number of steps it takes to complete the task and to set up safeguards to minimise inaccuracies. You take the time to learn new software and create checklists and routines that allow you to flow more efficiently through your work. You invest in setting up instructions to delegate your routine tasks so that you get the job done without needing to complete any tasks yourself. This is how you run your Business Like A Boss. And this is how you will come to realise the potential you have to create something truly amazing with your work.

5 Quotes to Grow Your Business

2 MIN READ

Sometimes what we need is a little inspiration to keep us chugging along towards our business growth goals. These five quotes have jumped out at me in my reading lately and I just had to share. You will see my core beliefs here. Our passion only comes to life in a transformational way when it is partnered with action.

Collaboration is better than competition. – Mara Shorr

1. To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart. – Thomas Watson, Sr.

True passion comes from the inside out. The people who survive the business building journey through to success are the ones who simply couldn’t NOT do their business. When your motives on the inside drive powerful, strategic actions on the outside, you will have a winning outcome. It’s only a matter of time.

2. Dreams don’t work until you do. – John C. Maxwell

Making this business dream come to life involves rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done. There is no delegating leadership, and no shying away from your potential if you want to grow your business. I use the phrase Love Gift when I refer to the things we can do best to make the biggest impact in the world.

3. Collaboration is better than competition. – Mara Shorr

Those who want to travel fast go alone, but those who want to travel far go together. Yes, you will be breaking new ground and forging new pathways, but if you keep your tribe connected to the vision and inspire them to come with you, the journey will be more fruitful and more enjoyable along the way.

4. Strive for continuous improvements, instead of perfection. – Kim Collins

Persistence equals progress, so this is what we aspire to daily. It may seem noble and lofty to pursue perfection, but in reality this will see us falling every time. The aim of the game is never perfection, because it doesn’t actually exist. Working in grace towards ourselves and others will see us rise above every challenge in acceptance of reality.

5. A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napoleon Hill

For me, this is at the heart of making things happen. We all work hard. We all pursue goals. The question is, do we make ourselves accountable to achieve them by putting them on a calendar? It’s amazing how motivating a deadline can be. It’s all about standing up and taking responsibility for your unique gifts and strengths.

As much as I don’t want to burst your bubble, I have experienced firsthand the reality that passion alone is simply not enough. My world is filled with passionate people who love what they do and would do it for nothing. Indeed, some who actually pay to do it. While this is admirable and inspiring to a point, at the end of the day we have big gifts to live up to and big visions to fulfill, and these things can only happen when we take that seed of passion and turn it into a life mission directed by strategic, focussed action.

Workflow Like A Boss

4 MIN READ

Time will pass regardless of how busy we in our business, but achieving growth requires every day to be full of productivity and high levels of output. It is not enough to simply “be in business.” For us to enjoy success and fulfillment in our business we need to learn these ten ways to manage our workflow Like A Boss

  1. Manage priorities, not time. – Larry Winget

It is so easy for time to be whiled away with busy work: The tasks that consume time without really giving you much to show for your efforts at the end. Productivity comes when we target those tasks that give us the biggest bang for our buck and push us ever closer to our goals. Do everything you can to spend most of your day actively working on your top business priorities. This is Boss Focus.

2. Success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing. – Warren Bennis

Output is important but it will be short lived if we are not invested in learning along the way. Always be on the lookout for new apps, websites or software that make your life easier and get you where you are going more effectively. And to really learn Like A Boss, start a “One Course Per Year” rule where you step out of your world to learn from someone more experienced than you.

3. Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. – Peter Drucker

Regardless of how many in our team, being in business automatically puts us in leadership. Even if we have no staff, we have clients, suppliers and colleagues looking on to see how we respond to pressure, failure, and even success. Managing our workflow with integrity and class at all times will command the trust, respect and rapport that we need to rise to the top.

4. The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work. – Agha Hasan Abedi

Everything in business always comes down to people. Having quality relationships with strong leadership structures will get more out of all of the people you work with, even if you don’t have any team members in your employ just yet. Getting the best out of your business means inspiring and empowering your clients, suppliers and colleagues to get the best out of them.

5. Managing time without without setting priorities is like shooting randomly and calling whatever you hit the target. – Peter Turla

Annual goals can easily be thrown “out there” in the land of wishes and whims instead of directing your focus. They are only useful if they direct short term focus. Set clear monthly priorities to firmly establish for yourself and all those involved exactly what success will look like at the end. Track your daily progress and reward performance even before the target is reached to maintain momentum.

6. Building smart processes to streamline the workflow can make the work easier and the results more reliable, which keeps my head above water and my clients happy. – Mark Mason

If you are drowning in your business, chances are you have a management problem on your hands. Your solution to any business problem is to get behind that challenge to work out what caused it in the first place. The workflow in every area of your business will be managed Like A Boss if you clear bottlenecks and streamline each step of the process to create highly effective routines.

7. If you focus on results, you will never change. But if you focus on change, you will get results. – Jack Dixon

It’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring output rather than input. But if we want a guarantee that results will occur, the commitment needs to be made to make the daily changes required to create the desired results. The results you are looking for will only happen if you change what you do with your workflow on a daily basis.

8. There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction. – Winston Churchill

If a business isn’t growing, it’s dying, so being a Boss Business Owner requires that we be active change managers. But change should be directed towards aims we have already established, rather than being motivated by the old “shiny things” syndrome. Change for change’s sake can be an unproductive waste of time and money that can lead us up the garden path to nowhere.

9. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. – Jim Rohn

Our workdays can steamroll us unless we are on our best game daily. When we are managing our Workflow Like A Boss we should break larger aims down into weekly goals, which then become a daily checklist that we live by. This ensures that no matter how urgent the emergency, or how loud the squeaky door, you will always make time attend to the focus areas that will drive growth.

10. A good manager finds satisfaction in helping others to be productive and not being the most productive person in the room. -Paul Gle

Driving a growing business starts out like driving a car. So much to do simultaneously, while somehow paying attention to others on the road with you. But as our business grows it changes. It starts with adding one new driver who drives for you. Then we add another, and another, until our business is like a driving exhibition, where each car is one part of a greater movement all working in flow together. We can be the director of the fleet driving something bigger than our own car if we dare to let go of the steering wheel.

Hiring a VA? 5 Things To Do First

6 MIN READ

With outsourced labour providing such affordable options for small business owners these days, many are wondering just what they need to do to get started. A lot of SMEs have become very comfortable with having their thumb in every one of their business pies, so moving to outsourced services can feel like a big risky step into the unknown. Here are the five things you need to do to make your first steps into the world of Virtual Assistants smooth and successful:

Hiring a VA is the step that will revolutionise your business, but where to start?

  1. Assess

Take a good honest look at what you are currently doing, and which tasks might be best allocated to someone else. A SWOT analysis can be handy here, or a Value Stream Map to document exactly what steps are taken to conduct your core business processes. As you are conducting your analysis, note the parts of your business that you love, because these things keep you refreshed and recharged. Delegating those would not be nearly as valuable as delegating the tasks that you find cumbersome and laborious. As you work your way through the assessment, highlight the tasks which maximise your strengths, as well as those which are necessary but take too much of your valuable time. At the heart of this step lies the question: “How much is your time worth?”

Invest ample time into assessing your workflow to establish the best way to utilise your new team member. You would even be wise to seek advice from a business consultant to help you capture a true picture of what is actually happening in your daily processes, and how these might be refined. The foundations of monumental mistakes are laid here at this first stage of preparation. If you do not have a handle on your workflow and the best way to delegate tasks, you will be setting yourself and your VA up for a costly, time consuming failure.

2. Systemise

With a good handle on the tasks you need done to get through your business day, it is now time to organise these into a logical flow. If you have been thorough with your business analysis you will have a sense of your own professional strengths and weaknesses, and you will see exactly how one stage of your workflow leads to the next. It is likely that all of this knowledge has been locked away inside your head up to now, so having it out in the form of charts, lists and diagrams will give you an entirely new perspective.

From this vantage point you should be able to see ways to eliminate some of the bottlenecks in your core process. You can remove double handling, waiting delays, administrative waste and unnecessary tasks now, because when they are mapped out in front of you, it is easy to see the inefficiencies which waste your precious time and money. At this stage you will also be able to tweak your processes to accommodate a new staff member. Where are those tasks that can be portioned off and put on someone else’s desk to remove them from your own? As you are organising your workflow, keep a keen eye out for the jobs that are the most straight-forward to delegate.

3. Document

If the foundations of success are built in your assessment phase, the fulfilment of this success is established very firmly upon your ability to document with detailed precision. As laborious as this phase of preparation is, your documentation is the framework that your entire operation will hang on. Your documentation will initially provide the job description for recruitment and hiring. From there your documents will become your new VA bible. Every step that you want to pass on to your new assistant should be described, with screenshots wherever possible. Every piece of information that they will require to complete their work should be provided from the outset to create instant positivity and productive momentum. The better the documentation, the faster the wins will roll in for you and your assistant.

The most effective documentation makes your tasks Repeatable and Reproducible. A job that is Repeatable is one that can be completed to exactly the same quality standards every single time. If your documentation is to support Repeatable work, it must be so thorough as to prevent faults from occurring. Your documentation should be better than the flat pack instructions that allow you to build a cabinet with the shelving upside-down! It should be clear and systematic, with examples to show what each part of the task looks like as it is successfully completed.

A Reproducible task is one that can be completed to exactly the same quality standards every time, regardless of the operator. Your VA should not have to interpret what you mean, or draw on experience that only they have. Any one should be able to implement the steps you provide. If you are looking for a VA to perform a task that is beyond your current expertise (such as setting up an online course or automating your email sequence), you need to document as best you can what the final outcome of the work will look like for you. Then, when you have your VA up and running, you should ask them to help you with two things to ensure your documentation provides for Reproducible workflow: 1. Get them to help you systemise your creation and provision of content so that you are giving them content that they can use directly without needing to modify or interpret. And 2. Get them to help you document the key steps required to complete the work you have asked them to do. I know this seems dark, but I have first hand experience in losing the holder of knowledge that is central to running your business. A sustainable, growing business is one that does not rely on any one operator to keep things moving.

4. Interview

Having a clear idea of what you want your VA to do, and how you would like them to do it makes interviewing a breeze. You will remember to ask about the candidate’s previous work history, their access to technology, and ability to take initiative and solve problems, but also discuss personality, culture and lifestyle. You are looking for a specific skillset that comes packaged up in someone you can get along with.

Go back to your Assessment documentation to see the strengths you bring to the equation, and the weaknesses you would like help with. Use a standard set of questions which address these concerns to interview each candidate. Then, compare their suitability by implementing a scoring system for each question. Interview as many candidates as you realistically can to develop a shortlist of strong possibilities.

5. Hire

If you are anything like me you will want to rush to hire your favourite candidate, but slow and steady will win this race. Take your time to make your selection to ensure that you are confident with your choice, and that you have the time to set them up with adequate training. It takes about a month post hire to get the new person on board and functioning smoothly. Attempting to rush the process of hiring and training your new VA will not serve any one’s best interests. Your new VA may well end up being a team member for life. This is a big decision so make it carefully.

Like anything, you pay for what you get when taking on a VA. If it seems too cheap then it probably is. If your VA is coming from overseas you should look into the cost of living to see what your VA will actually need to live. Your VA offers you an affordable service but it is not one that should enslave them in desperation for income. Underpaying your VA might serve your short term budget, but it will undermine the loyalty, trust, and positive mutual regard that you need to sustain your long term business growth.

With careful research, planning and preparation, you will be able to make this move with confidence and see your business explode to new levels of growth. Believe me, once you cross over that line, you never go back! It will be clear skies and smooth sailing with your new VA. You used to look into the mirror and groan, “This guy’s the limit” and now you can look into the wide blue yonder of opportunity and quietly whisper “The sky’s the limit”.

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If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and message me. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you refine your business process so that you can really step up to run your small business Like A Boss. It’s all about getting you to the stage where you are making more time and money out of your time and money. No matter where you are, I am only a message away. And to make stalking me really easy, here is my website 😀 https://www.kerryannenelson.com/