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improving business efficiency

How To Choose What To Offer In Your Business

2 MIN READ

Choosing what to offer in business is often one of the biggest strategic challenges business owners face.

Over the years you’ve probably tried lots of different ways to take your services to market. It’s likely you have developed plenty of different packages and taken on a multitude of different projects or clients to keep the cash flowing in the right direction. That flexible responsiveness is essential in the early years of your business when you are testing the market to see what works. It will also be essential to your ongoing success as market needs and available technologies continue to change and improve. But when you’re working to bring the best out in your remote team, there’s a need for restraint.

improving business efficiency

“I wanted to figure out why I was so busy but I couldn’t find the time to do it”
Todd Stocker

A business without a clearly defined focus on what they offer and how they deliver it simply can’t grow. If you’re chopping and changing on a whim your business is reactionary, impulsive and directionless. A business like that waters down their reputation and confuses the message they take to market. You can’t experience the big growth you want if people are confused about what you do.

It’s also impossible to manage the operations of a business that keeps changing or has too many different tasks going on. If you expect your remote team to be able to work with confidence and independence, you will strategically eliminate all the noisy, frantic, unnecessary tasks from their days and give them clear and specific boundaries about what they need to do and how they need to do it.

To be plain:
One of the best things you can do for your business is to reduce how much is being done, and simplify how those things are done. Five of the best ways to do this:

1. Work with a coach to clarify your core message and refine your offerings
2. Stop delivering packages that don’t make you real money
3. Limit the amount of time you work to dramatically highlight your real business priorities
4. Use a process map to cut out the inefficiencies that waste time and money
5. Get clever with automations to eliminate repetitive tasks

managing your inbox

Managing Your Inbox With These 5 Steps

3 MIN READ

Managing your email inbox means more than simply staying on top of things. With your inbox clutter-free and in control, you and your team will enjoy greater productivity and clarity at work. It might take you a while to get on top of your inbox and bring your emails down to a level that you’re personally happy with. Along the way, developing more productive habits for managing your inbox is the essential step to building sustainable, healthy email habits. 

It’s entirely normal to feel overwhelmed when you open your inbox each day. People spend about 28% of their workweek dealing with emails, which equates to about 13hrs of low level, reactive work that rarely results in progress. Only 38% of the emails in the average inbox are important and relevant to your core business. This means the rest of all that administrative bulk is nothing more than noisy junk that needs to be cleared efficiently before you drown in the quicksand. That feeling is not imaginary. Research has proven that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover from an email interruption, which erodes away your peace and sense of control in your work.   

Let’s simplify this for you by setting up a simple system to respond more decisively to all those messages. The next time you open your inbox, choose which of these five categories apply to each unopened email and respond accordingly. 

Delete

Is this email essentially junk that you simply don’t need or want to read? This is an easy decision to make: Delete that email forever! 

You’re best also to decide this point if you ever want to receive this email again from this sender. If not, take 10 seconds to unsubscribe from this sender, or create a filter to automatically delete the email the next time it hits your inbox.

managing your inbox

Delegate

There will be emails that need to be dealt with, but not by you. Create a simple process to put that email on someone else’s desk. You could forward the email to a team member with a quick message to instruct them on how you want the matter handled. Or, if you’re comfortable with giving someone else access to your inbox, you could create a folder for them inside your email account. Then when they log in they can head straight for the folder with their name on it and get busy dealing with the messages you saved inside. Mastering the fine art of delegation is simple with more tips here.

Delay

Reducing the feelings of desperate urgency that can arise when emails come in is an essential benefit of managing your inbox well. When emails come in they reflect the sender’s agenda, which does not always align with your own. Set up ways to deal with matters when it suits you. You might ‘star’ emails that you plan to deal with later at a set time each week, or put them in their own ‘Later’ folder to be opened at a scheduled time that fits with your schedule. 

Reply

Many emails in your inbox can be cleared with a simple, quick reply. Bounce emails back to the sender with a super short response which keeps things moving and off your desk like a hot potato. Using templates if you can will make this process even quicker for you and your team. 

Keeping these emails short and sweet is key. Don’t be drawn into lengthy, unnecessary stretches of dialogue when replying to emails. The less time you spend typing, the faster you can move on to more important things in your day.

You might also want to think about including a message to explain your preference for brief messages in your email footer. If your core values permit this approach, you can write up a friendly statement like this for your email footer:

Thanks for your email. You might notice my reply is short and sweet. We do this on purpose. It’s not that your message is unimportant. It’s that we just love to keep things moving here at [BUSINESS NAME]. Spending less time in our emails is a big part of that. We appreciate doing business with you and hope you understand. 

Do

The last category of emails is the most important for you to work with. These are the ones that require you to take substantial action. They will be the emails related to ongoing projects, client work, supplier arrangements, business partnerships or other matters central to your business growth. Processing all your other emails quickly and efficiently will give you the time and headspace you need to do this ‘real work’ hidden away inside your inbox. 

Successfully managing your email inbox is a journey, rather than a destination. Be patient with yourself as you get busy clearing the bulk of your email overload. Be realistic about what you can actually achieve. Avoid falling onto the trendy trap of shooting for Inbox Zero. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Why busienss leaders must work less

Why Leaders Simply Must Work Less

3 MIN READ

Self care for business owners is often conceived as an “indulgent luxury” that many believe they can’t afford. Are you like the average business leader wearing your long work hours like a badge of honour? Many owners pour blood sweat and tears into building their company with the pride of a martyr. Have you stopped to consider the price you are really paying?

I’m a big fan of hard work. However, if all that effort is not actually bringing you the results you want, maybe it’s time to look for a better way. There are several reasons that looking after yourself equates to preserving the best interests of your company. Self care for business owners comes down to realising that business health and personal health go hand in hand.

A Tired Body Can’t Work Well

Did you know the average person spends 649,401 hours sleeping during their lifetime? I bet there are some days you’d love to stack up 10 or 20 of those hours and enjoy them all in one go! Caring for yourself does not only come down to managing a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. SleepFoundation.org tells us that sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.

Crafting a lifestyle that allows you to go to bed early most nights of the week will work wonders for your personal health. As a result, your performance at work will be more energised, focused and productive. Set up some firm boundaries around how you manage your schedule to make sure you are in the driver’s seat of your sleep pattern.

A Tired Brain Can’t Solve Problems

Exhaustion will always lead you quickly to survival mode. As a result, your vision narrows to focus only on perceived threats. Your ability to reason progressively shuts down. Reactivity replaces deliberation. A real or even perceived threat can help mobilise your attention. However, this is not the approach of a well-balanced leader. When it comes to solving complex problems that have multiple variables, you need your highest cognitive resources.

Real-life has certainly shown us that threats can come out of the blue. A clear, well-rested brain can gauge multiple factors of any given challenge much more effectively than one that is tired and overwhelmed. Set aside time each week for thinking. Yoga might suit you, or meditation. Perhaps you’re more like me and love getting your heart rate up with some exercise. Do whatever you need to do to clear your mind so you can approach challenges with your best foot forward.

A Tired Heart Can’t Connect

I’ve never met a business owner who was not motivated by the desire to spend more time with the people they love. Being your own boss always involves the freedom to enjoy healthy fulfilling relationships with those you hold dear. When we’re looking at ways to increase levels of self care for business owners, this must be overtly connected to enhancing intimate connections.

When you miss out on sleep you become snappy, irritable and stressed. A recent study from the National Sleep Foundation found that 25% of participating couples were too sleep-deprived to even have sex. Exhaustion and burnout were never the aims you set out to achieve in your business. If you have been too busy to change this situation for yourself, perhaps you would consider adjusting your lifestyle for the sake of the relationships you have with your family and friends.

Why busienss leaders must work less

“Leaders live by choice, not by accident.” ~ Mark Gorman

A Tired Mind Can’t Create

Your business growth relies first and foremost upon creativity, innovation, and mastery of change. Prioritising time to rest and recharge will not only create space for more of your brilliant ideas. It will also a ignite the leader in you so your team are also encouraged to bring their best innovations and ideas.

Overworking suffocates your business growth. Far too many owners spend too long in video conferences and phone calls, too much time in front of your computer, and too many hours running the hamster wheel of business life. This results in you inadvertently wasting the very resource your business needs to remain vibrant and alive: creativity. Nurture your inventive self, and show up at work fresh for your team to champion their creativity as well.

A Tired Spirit Can’t Imagine

Effective self care for business owners celebrates you as the inspired genius who conceived this entire operation in the first place. It was your big idea that got this business off the ground. Things have continued to move forward because of your insight and your creative flair. The one thing that only you can offer your growing company is the inspiration of a leader.

Perhaps it would be wise to pause and ask yourself about the life you want to create moving forward. With so much up in the air right now, it is the perfect time to conduct a bit of an overhaul. At the end of the day, you may as well pursue the life you actually want, right?