Business value

Are you sitting on a goldmine? What is your business value?

So you’ve decided to sell your business. You may have all sorts of ideas about how easy it’s going to be, after all it’s your “baby”, right? Well, one of the first things you need to work out is are you sitting on a goldmine? What is your business value?

The reality is that selling your business is a complex process. If you’re looking to sell your business right away, you probably won’t get the highest value you deserve.

It typically takes a good year of preparation to sell before you should actually put your company on the market; selling requires planning, patience and panache. And as for sitting on a goldmine, you will achieve the highest value if all the right prep work has been put in place.

Working out your business value depends firstly on determining what kind of sale you ought to proceed with. It is a financial, emotional or synergy sale?

A financial sale is common, yet it generally offers the least amount of value to the seller. This type of sale is often undertaken with little or no planning. No plan means no high return.

An emotional sale involves a nostalgic connection such as someone who loves the brand, the product you sell and so wants to buy it.  It can be good for you, but you won’t be able to plan too much for that type of buyer, so it is very unpredictable.

A synergy sale typically produces higher valuations than a purely financial sale. The reason this type of sale gets a higher value is that it involves selling to another business who can make more out of your business than you can and, as a result, values your business at a higher value.  Best of all, it can be planned for by the vendor.

Now that we’ve established the different types of sales, you need to put several steps in place. They include:

  1. Mastery – moving from chaos to control with an in-depth examination of your goals for the business and understanding where your money’s going. Strong delivery systems and time management are crucial here too.
  2. Niche – ensuring a growing and predictable cash flow by asking some big questions such as Is your data in good shape? Do you have a solid marketing plan? Do you have a system that converts leads into customers? And so forth.
  3. Leverage – creating systems for efficiency, thereby knowing what you have to work with, and what you need to focus on to create the right sales package for prospective buyers. Systemising your business to the point that it doesn’t depend on you is also a necessary pre-requisite to getting a good price when you sell it!

The above are basic steps to start planning the sale of your business.

We have worked with many business owners who are planning to sell their business. If you would like some coaching assistance through this process, speak with one of our business coaches today. You can also check out this eBook called Selling your Business.

recruitment-strategies

Recruitment Strategies to attract the right team in just 5 hours

How was your last recruiting experience? Did it take up your entire week (or month), distract you from running your business, and result in a few less-than-ideal candidates to choose from? We have a solution! Before you next hire someone for your business, consider that the recruitment process can be unsuccessful OR successful, depending which recruitment strategies you use.

Business owners come to ActionCOACH to help guide them through their first big hires, so they can continue to run their business and still have time to find the best possible person for the job. Our recruitment strategy is called the ‘Five Hour Recruitment Process’, and it’s founded on two core principles:

  1. Recruit for Attitude, Train for Skill. This trusted saying still works – it’s far easier to fix a skill gap than an attitude gap.
  2. Be efficient with your time. There are several automated parts to this process, so that the whole process takes a maximum of 5 hours of the manager’s time!

Here’s how the Five Hour Recruitment Process works:

1.Preparation:
●Establish and define a compelling Employer Value Proposition. Make yourself attractive!
●Make the decision to employ someone – based on need and affordability.
●Write a Job Description / Position Commitment.
●Include clear responsibilities, accountabilities and KPI’s.
●List key requirements/attributes/skills/qualifications that will be required.
●Be clear now on what the job is worth and will be paid.

2.Write the Advertisement:
●The headline must grab attention and attract the right candidates.
●The Ad must sell the job and the company. You are trying to attract the best people! Typically, we like to see at least two thirds of the Ad selling the job and company, with only one third explaining the requirements of the job.
●Candidates can be sourced from online job sites, local papers, LinkedIn or personal recommendations. Under no circumstances should any candidate bypass the remainder of the process.
●The advertisement should request that candidates apply by calling you. Email applications should not be accepted.
●An online advertisement should be open for one week, including one full weekend.

3.Receive applications:
●This is by phone, by you or, better still, by Office Administrator. Reading CV’s at this point is a waste of time.
●If someone still submits an application by email and does not call, respond with an automatic email explaining that they must apply by calling.
●This initial call must take a maximum of TWO minutes and will end one of two ways:
●The candidate will clearly disqualify themselves – communication, tone of voice, attitude, energy, etc. – in which case, advise them “no”; or if they don’t disqualify themselves, invite them to attend a face-to-face (group) interview. Don’t promote the fact that it will be a group interview, unless they ask.

4.Group interview:
●Only one time is available so they will need to come in then if they wish to pursue this opportunity. NB. You don’t mind how many people are in the Group Interview so, if they haven’t disqualified themselves in the first minute or so, invite them to attend.
●Examples questions that may assist in disqualifying (NB. At this stage, voice, energy, communication, etc. is more important than the content of the answer): Why are you so excited by this opportunity? Why would you be great at this role? What is your greatest strength? What is your most relevant experience to this role?
●If they are invited to interview, then request that they now send a CV, although don’t yet waste time reading it!

Now sure how to run a group interview? Read our eBook: Building a Winning Team by recruiting great people quickly and effectively.

5.Individual interview:
●Call ALL candidates the day after the group interview; advising that they have not been chosen to proceed or that you would like to invite them to return to 1-on-1 interview, and book it in.
●Ask them to talk through their CV from beginning to most recent; you observe trends, patterns and reasons for changes.
●Have them perform a skills test relevant to the job. NB. Don’t just believe it. Test it.
●Have them complete a DISC profile (created by American psychologist Dr William Marsden in the 1920s, assessing individuals and assigning one behavioural styles; i.e. Outgoing, Task Oriented, Reserved or People Oriented. Please contact ActionCOACH for help with the DISC profile).
●If you have an area of concern, ask: “When I call your last manager [insert last manager’s name], what score will he give you out of 10 for [insert skill or attribute about which you’re concerned]? Any answer below 8 should be a red flag.

6.Make an offer:
●Next day or two, call to make offer, subject to reference check.
●Undertake reference checks, asking specific questions to validate facts and to explore any key areas or possible gaps in skill or other required attribute.

For more information about our Five Hour Recruitment Process, or help with any other recruitment strategies, please contact ActionCOACH today, so we can ‘recruit’ the best coach for your business!

Alternatively you can download “The 6 Keys to Creating a Winning Team” eBook here.

time-management-tools

4 Time Management Tools to help you work 10 fewer hours each week

Want to get some time back for yourself, but afraid that your business’ productivity or profits will suffer?
We hear this from so many business owners who don’t have the strategies or time management tools to confidently step away and enjoy some free time to recharge or think about their next business idea.

Ironically and unfortunately, most business owners are so busy making a living that they do not have time to really make a significant amount of money. But surely you didn’t leave your old job, take risks and devote your time to building a business only to earn yourself a monthly wage by working harder than you ever have before? So let’s find you some free time.

ActionCOACH is highly experienced in assisting business owners to work less and make more. Here are four time management tools anyone can use to make more money in less time.

Tool One: Fire Extraneous Customers

Customers who are a waste of time are like shoplifters who specialize in stealing our valuable time. We need to get rid of them or transform them into paying customers. You know who they are. The ones who don’t pay their invoices on time, never stop complaining or can’t be satisfied, those who tie up sales reps, customer service personnel, supervisors, and managers.

How do you get rid of them? You can either delete dead-end leads from the client database or send selected clients to a more appropriate business that matches their price demands.

Also consider whether you need to eliminate the magnets that are attracting those unwanted customers in the first place. Freebies for signing up might be a great plan for attracting new business, but might not be attracting your ideal customer. Remember, profit is the goal and the most important barometer of success.

Tool Two: Double the Conversion Rates of Transactions

The key to increasing profits is to convert unprofitable interactions into profitable ones. While most people crawl toward retirement on the same income, increasing profits in a business can be done in a matter of days or weeks. To prepare for a profit-boosting initiative, gather accounting data and metrics to get a clear picture of where profits come from, how many contacts are made with customers each month, and how many customers make actual purchases. Next, launch a marketing and advertising push in order to generate new customer leads, encourage existing customers to buy more, and to promote the most profitable products or services in the inventory. Let’s look at an example of this business tool in action: Assume that the business is open 40 hours per week, or approximately 160 hours per month.

To gain 10 hours per week (or take 10 hours off without losing money) it is necessary to reap 40 hours’ worth of extra profits per month (10 hours a week times 4 weeks = 40 hours). One week is 25 percent of a 4-week month. So to gain 10 hours per week it is therefore necessary to increase conversion rates – in other words, sales and profits – by a mere 25 percent. Do this by attracting more customers; by making an extra quarter of profit margin on each dollar in sales, or by lowering overhead by 25 percent.

Apply enough effort and energy to the task and it is possible to double profits in a single month. Then an entrepreneur can afford to take an entire week off every month.

Step Three: Run Businesses on Autopilot

Now the business owner has enviable options. One possibility is to close down the business for 10 hours each week, take time off, and settle for making the same amount of money per month that was generated before boosting profits by 25 percent. Another alternative, however, is for the clever entrepreneur to leverage that newfound success for progressive changes and forward momentum. They will maintain the same hours of operation, capture the extra 25 percent in profits, and then wisely reinvest those profits in greater time saving initiatives.

By working smarter, not harder, through organized systems, cutting-edge technology, innovative advertising, and dynamic employee training, the entrepreneur can prepare to put the business into the hands of capable others – which is the next step toward personal freedom. Bill Gates became the richest man in America not by making computer software, but by inventing a system for selling software around the world without having to be physically involved in each of the transactions.

Those who keep enhancing that approach and applying that kind of formula are soon retired from the business completely with a steady stream of monthly income to live on, invest in new ventures, spend on hobbies and vacations, and fulfil lifelong dreams.

Tool Four: Activate the Passive Mode of Making Money

Most people work an entire lifetime to accumulate enough assets and savings to let them enjoy passive income. Many work a lifetime and still don’t achieve it, so they are never truly free to retire or do whatever they please. Real success and wealth is only realized by those whose money works overtime for them to generate passive income. When investments and businesses are generating positive cash flow and net profits, they add to one’s bank account constantly and continually.

But you need free time (start with the extra 10 hours per week) to expand profit centres, open new businesses, sell them for a profit, and launch into other investments. The key to early retirement or rapid wealth is to build passive income throughout life, rather than trying to simply accumulate a portfolio of assets. If passive income is there, then the potential to acquire assets is made possible.

Putting it All Together: Time and Money with More of Both to Spare

Enjoying one’s ideal lifestyle becomes a fulltime occupation, thanks to the fact that it is possible to easily work 10 hours less each week without giving up productivity or income. Repeat the formula and reap 20 free hours a week. Double that and soon the nine-to-five schedule of most workers becomes transformed into 40 liberated hours of free time each week. Using the four tools outlined above will allow you to quickly reach full time retirement with plenty of money for a pleasurable and rewarding lifestyle spent with family and friends.

More information on time management tools can be found in our eBook called The Real Guide to Productive and Effective Time Management Skills here.

For advice unique to your business circumstances, call ActionCOACH today, on 02 9146 4439.

Build your dream team: the secret to attracting and retaining talent.

Brilliant people don’t just appear in your office one morning and start working perfectly in your business. It takes some skill and a proven process for attracting and retaining talent (great talent!). Rest assured, you don’t need an HR degree or a great deal of recruiting experience to attract a winning team. ActionCOACH has a five-hour recruitment process that will bring in the talent but first you need to ensure that your business is one that will appeal to great talent – they have to be attracted to work there and to stay there!

 

Why must a business be attractive to talent?

Good or bad, the people you get and retain are the people you deserve! And, if you want a great business, that doesn’t depend on you being there all the time, then you need a winning team.  The more work you put into becoming really good at recruiting and retaining talent, the better the result will be for you and your business. Never underestimate the potential of a team that works well together towards your company vision… especially if they can do it while you’re on a beach somewhere with no internet access.

 

Six keys to a winning team that will attract and retain talent:

 

Key Element One – Strong Leadership. Your Team will look to you for guidance, growth, decisions and development. No matter which leadership style you have; strive to hand out praise, champion the team’s new ideas, teach people, make timely decisions, listen to your team and be enthusiastic about the business. These are the actions common to history’s successful business leaders.

 

Key Element Two – Common Goals. The company Vision, Mission and Goals should be shared with everyone in your team (new and existing). Before anyone signs up to a job, they want to know what they are getting involved with, what you and the business stands for and how you are all going to reach the said objectives. When recruiting team members – whether from inside the business or from outside – the vision statement is emphasized, explained, and delved into at great length.

 

Key Element Three – Rules of the Game. When it comes to business operations, employees and teams are often left in the dark about what they are actually required to do! Just like a professional football team has a playbook which defines the boundaries and areas of measurable responsibility for each team member – your business also needs a rule book so they know their unique and specialised roles, and the team keeps winning.

 

Key Element Four – Action Plan. Everyone in your team needs an action plan for success. Give each person a title, a job description, KPI’s and a clear plan for their success. Explain how others will support them in their role. Supporting the team with tools, training, technology, and systems ensures that the talent stays motivated, and means the owner or entrepreneur can run the business without being run by the business.

 

Key Element Five – Support Risk Taking. If you are not open to some degree of healthy risk-taking within your business, it is almost impossible for your team to succeed. Every new product, new way of marketing, new niche or internal business process seems too risky… until it works. To build effective teams in your business, led by example, and be open to change, calculated risk and new ideas.

 

Key Element Six – 100% Involvement and Inclusion.  The best teams have everyone in the team doing their job and doing it well.  Sometimes, team members even need to go ‘above and beyond’ their exact role.  It’s a wonderful experience to work in a team where everyone really does deliver to their responsibilities and just a little more beyond.  Make sure, as the leader, that you’re inclusive in your management style and also make sure that individual team members actively involve themselves – this is a two-way street!

 

How will I know when I have a great team?

The end result of a successful team is synergy. This means that the sum of teamwork is greater than the separate parts of the team. In business terms, this means that the return on an investment is greater than the contributions made to that investment. People have innate chemistry. If we combine that natural chemistry one way we get an explosive, disastrous outcome from opposite polarity. Combine it in another way and we get increased energy, vitality, and success from magical magnetism.

 

 

If you want a Business Coach that can help guide you through the talent recruitment process, please call ActionCOACH on 02 9146 4439.

 

For more detail on attracting and recruiting talent for your business, download your eBook Building a Winning Team here.

 

The five steps to ensuring your business plan is an effective one

When you’re starting a new business, there are probably many things that you are really good at. After all, passion and talent are what spark most business ideas. You might be really good at selling, really creative, or can spot the latest trends a mile off. Conversely, one of the things most new business owners are not great at is creating a business plan. But there is no getting around it – a business plan is a necessary tool for success. MOST businesses fail without a plan, and some will still fail if they have written a plan that’s not effective. Its ok, writing a business plan is something anyone can get better at, with a little help.

We’ve made it somewhat easier to get familiar with how to create the most effective business plan that will set you up for success and give you the confidence to handle anything that comes along during setup or operation.

 

Here are our top five steps to ensure your business plan is effective:

  1. Start with the end in mind, and outline your end goals first. This might be the early retirement or the house deposit. Think big! Then following from that end goal, decide your goal(s) for the financial year. They must be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled).
  2. Make sure your SMART goals are exciting to you and don’t conflict with one another nor with where you’re heading longer term or in other parts of life. The last thing you want to do is work hard all year, achieve all of your goals and then realize you don’t really care about them or that they were not aligned with your longer term goals.
  3. Outline the smaller steps needed to reach your goals. These should be steps that are small enough to achieve (which gives you confidence) but big enough to make a positive leap forward toward the overall plan. For example, ‘complete marketing plan’ is very broad, and not specific enough to know the time or steps needed to get it done. With large tasks like this, break them down into smaller bite sized chunks!
  4. Ensure the plan is realistic. Have you considered holidays, conferences and other things that might “get in the way” of doing the actions in your plan? Have you listed too many tasks for one time, which means you’re unlikely to be able to complete them all? You need to be able to look at the steps in the plan, as well as their timing, and feel a reasonable level of confidence that they can all be completed. Your business plan should make you feel excited, not overwhelmed!
  5. Ensure that you can track and monitor the progress of every goal within your plan. To do this, ensure that each and every step in the plan is SMAT (different to SMART). That is, Specific, Measurable (so you can see when each step is completed), Achievable and have Time allocated to them. In an annual plan, this will typically be monthly.  In a 90-Day Plan, weekly.

Our clients who have used these recommended five steps when creating a business plan, have grown in confidence, reduced their ‘entrepreneurial anxiety’, set goals and planned for success. You can too.

If you are starting out or trying to grow a relatively new business, here are some of the components of business that ActionCOACH can help you with:

Business planning, goal setting, time management, sales and marketing, increasing leads, improving conversion, implementing systems, building a great team, effective leadership, financial control, cash flow techniques and preparing your business for sale.

ActionCOACH is here ready to help! Please get in touch with our coaches on 02 9146 4439 or download a copy of the new eBook Planning for a successful new financial year here.

The importance of planning right now, for your business

Now that the New Financial Year is here, it seems timely to look at the importance of planning for your business. If you have some (or even just a little) business experience, you will have heard the expression ‘failure to plan is a plan for failure’. Yes – there are numerous benefits to planning in general, many of which we’ve talked about in our previous E-Books.

Here are 3 key benefits to creating a business plan:

  1. Success: Like any goal, ‘planning your plan’ and working out manageable steps, is essential for short and long term success. Most businesses who do not have a plan, do not succeed.
  2. Motivation: A plan with smaller achievable steps that get ticked off are incredibly motivating for business owners and other stakeholders.
  3. Control: Having visibility about where your business is headed reduces stress and gives you a feeling of control.

Is July (The New Financial Year) a good time to create a business plan?

If you didn’t get the chance to make a plan back in January this year – you’re in luck –it is just as important to be planning for the new Financial Year. Planning in the New Financial Year has some great benefits, including:

  1. Track Financial Progress. From a business point of view, a financial year plan makes perfect sense. Business goals are often centred around monetary goals, and tracking these goals during a financial year makes it easy to see how you’re progressing.
  2. Make Tax Simple: Business and tax go hand in hand, so having a business plan that follows the financial year will be more straight-forward for you, your accountant and investors in the business.
  3. Make Financials Simple: If you plan to sell your business, a New Financial Year plan will tell you immediately if your financial details are ready to be shown to potential buyers. What do the last two-three years of financial records look like for your business? What does the year ahead need to look like for you to be ready to sell?

Ready to get started and build your business plan now? Use these in these five simple steps:

  1. Outline your goals first, making sure they’re all genuinely motivating to you. Start with your end goal first (like, living in the Bahamas)
  2. Make your goals ‘SMART’ – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-based and Time-scaled
  3. List the smaller, specific and time-scaled, bite-sized steps to reach each goal
  4. Ensure that the overall plan is realistic, otherwise you will feel defeated and lose motivation
  5. Somewhere in the plan, make sure you’ve included down-time and holidaysfor yourself.

Finally, take a step back and make sure your business plan factors in some personal development and personal goals (for example time off, time with family or philanthropic contribution).

Before July slips away, contact us to book in your complimentary coaching session to help build a strong plan for the new financial year.

time-management-and-planning

How Time Management and Planning go Hand in Hand

We all know that time management is an essential part of running a successful business, and without a doubt, one of the keys to successful time management is planning. Planning your time is crucial if you want to be more productive, get more done in less time and achieve your goals, no matter how large or small. This is true for all areas of your life, not just in business.

Why is planning your time so vital?

Making a plan and sticking to it has many benefits; important tasks won’t be forgotten, you’ll use your time more efficiently and you’ll be less frazzled with everything you need to do in a day. Of course it’s only possible if you know what you should spend your time on and that means that a good plan is a necessary pre-requisite to being able to manage your time properly.

Planning also includes a couple of psychological benefits. Two of these are that having a clear plan and managing it:

  1. Gives you a sense of being in control – this gives you confidence and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed. It reduces your stress levels and lets you think more clearly.
  2. Highlights the progress you’re making – you can tick off the steps to move towards your goals.

Being in control and making progress towards a goal are strong human motivators. You’ll be more organised, will achieve more in the same amount of time and you’ll be far less likely to procrastinate (a major productivity killer!).

How to ensure your plan works for you

When you’re putting your plan together, be sure to:

  1. Start with the end first

The goals you set need to be SMART ones – that is, Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled. You won’t know where you’re headed unless you look at the finish line and work backwards.

  1. Make sure your goals are exciting to you

Do your goals excite you, and are they aligned with your long term goals? If not, you’ll find it hard to stick to a plan.

  1. Use as many steps as necessary

Outline the steps needed to achieve your goal. This makes the overall goal more manageable and structured.

  1. Make sure the steps are realistic

Including too many things to work on at once, or not leaving yourself enough time is going to be a goal killer. Look at the steps in your plan and determine whether they can realistically all be achieved in the time you’ve allowed.

  1. Monitor your progress

Make sure each step is SMAT – specific, measurable, achievable and has time allocated. It’s similar to SMART goals, yet because they are just steps in a plan, they are not each a result.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” so with this in mind, start planning today! For more information about time management and planning, download your free eBook “The Real Guide to Effective Time Management” here.

3 Tips on How to Beat Procrastination

Benjamin Franklin said “You may delay, but time will not.” Charles Dickens said “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” and Abraham Lincoln said “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

If these notable procrastination quotes aren’t enough to make you want to leap up and tackle your next business task – ActionCOACH has these 3 proven tips to show you how to beat procrastination.

Tip 1. The 1 Minute Battle

Let’s start by trying to achieve the opposite of procrastination. That is; achieving a ‘state of flow’ or getting ‘in the zone’. You may have experienced such moments where you are totally focussed on the task and achieve optimal mental or physical performance. You may have even surprised yourself with the amount you achieved in this space of time. So how do we do this every time we sit down to a task??

The challenge with getting in the zone is that it takes between 7-10mins for the brain to open up the neural pathways to align themselves for you to go into flow. If you can sit down and try to get through the first minute (we call this the One Minute Battle) then chances are you will stay for 7 minutes and get into the flow. So all you need to think about is “what am I going to do for the next minute?” The 1 Minute Battle can be applied to high value business activities.

Tip 2. Eat the Frog

Sounds delicious!??? Time Management expert Brian Tracy coined this phrase in his book, and he means if you were told you had to eat a live frog by tomorrow or you would die, when would you eat it? Either you would eat it immediately to get it over with, or stress about it until tomorrow and then have to eat it anyway. The same can be applied to all our challenging business tasks. At the end of each day, write down your “frog” that needs to be done the next day – i.e. the big, important, valuable thing you know you should get completed. The following morning, simply do it first and get it over and done with. You’ll be motivated and satisfied that you’ve made meaningful progress and the day has just begun….so you’re then likely to  get a whole lot more done in the rest of the day.

Tip 3. Remind yourself WHY

Interestingly it’s often the big and important tasks that are procrastinated over, while the quick and easy tasks get actioned immediately. This is crazy when you think about the value to your business if you complete the big tasks before the menial. If you catch yourself procrastinating – stand up, walk to a window and look outside. Stay there for 5 minutes and think about your business goals and dreams. Ask yourself, “Why am I procrastinating? Why would I want to delay doing this task and achieving my goals?” Then go back to your desk and keep working on it!

Finally, let’s quash a few of the 3 most common procrastination excuses out there, so we can leave them behind right now and get on with building our successful businesses!

  1. “I’ll start after…” If the most important tasks need doing, they cannot wait until ‘after’ anything!
  2. “It’s not the right time” If not now, when? Let’s face it – the time will never be perfect.
  3. “I’ve got too much to do” ActionCOACH has written several helpful articles on how to build processes and teams that will enable you to focus on the most important tasks in your business. There shouldn’t be a whole list of unimportant tasks standing in the way of the big stuff. <Click here to see a list of helpful articles>

ActionCOACH has worked with thousands of growing businesses to deliver strategies on how to avoid procrastination, and we understand that it takes a lots of time and tasks to achieve your ultimate business goals. Rest assured you will have some great, productive, effective and wonderful times, but you’ll also have some times where it feels as though you’re not in the zone at all. One great day won’t get you there, but one bad day won’t stop you getting there either. Stick at it, avoid procrastination and you will get there!

For more tips on Time Management, please download a copy of the free eBook here or contact ActionCOACH today for some one-on-one coaching that will motivate you and keep you focussed on the most productive tasks to propel your business toward success 02 9146 4439.

plan-your-time-effectively

How to plan your time effectively….to give you more of it!

Before you go leaping into action and working towards an end goal for your business (don’t get us wrong, ActionCOACH loves that kind of enthusiasm!) you will need to plan your time effectively. Without a plan, you won’t know how you’re tracking week to week and you won’t be as productive as you could be.

And we all want to work smarter, not harder, right?

How to plan your time

Whilst every time management plan is unique to you and your circumstances, the same principles apply for planning your time and getting organised and productive.

The process you follow each week should be the same. Sit down at the end of every week (a Friday or Sunday night), work out what needs to be accomplished for the following week and make sure you have appropriate time allocated to accomplish it all. This way, you’ll arrive to work on Monday morning, hit the ground running and maximise the value of your Reticular Activating System (RAS). Your subconscious mind is already processing it and getting it to work for you.

Principles to follow:

  • Look at your 90-day plan as a starting point – it will tell you much of what needs to be completed next week.
  • Not only book in specific times for meetings, but set aside specific times to do activities that will develop your business.
  • When setting aside time for work requiring focus and attention, make it a maximum of 2 hours. You’re unlikely to be able to work at your peak for longer than that.
  • For more complicated tasks that require concentration, make time earlier in the day. You’ll have more mental energy because you’ll be fresher. You’ll also be “eating the frog” (an excellent tactic you can learn all about in our free eBook)
  • When setting out your calendar for the week ahead, be sure to take into account your personal commitments, not just work tasks. E.g. Lunch with your spouse, a game of squash, kids sports activities, etc.
  • Be sure to include “buffer times”. After you’ve scheduled your meetings, set aside some extra time. The reality is meetings sometimes run longer than expected, you’ll still get emails and phone calls, there’ll be issues to fix, things to change and address, and unexpected problems that come along. Plan for these as well so you’re not stressed and pushed for time.
  • Once everything has been scheduled in, your calendar for the week should be full.

Categorising your tasks

Tasks and events that get added to your calendar can be categorised as either urgent or important. Sometimes they are both and sometimes neither.

There are often driving factors that determine when you do something. If a task is deemed urgent, it needs to be done soon. Are you doing it because it has immediate requirements? Is a client chasing it? Have you procrastinated too long and now it’s urgent?

On the other hand, for a task to be considered important, it must be something that will have a meaningful impact on the long-term value of your business. Designing a new sales process, marketing campaign, training a staff member – these only need to be done once but they are very valuable.  These are the sorts of things that build good business’ and are considered “important”.

When you look at your plan for the week ahead, ask yourself how much of this is important but not urgent? How much of your week are you spending working on your business doing those things that are genuinely building it into a great business?

The best practice ratio is to spend 60% of your working week on important but not urgent work, which is exactly what should be in your plan every week. If anything less than 20% of your week is spent on building the business then you have to ask yourself some serious questions.

When reviewing your plan for the week ahead, also ask yourself two other vital questions:

  1. How much time am I spending doing work that I actually pay someone else for?
  2. How much time am I spending doing work that I could pay someone else $50 an hour for? If you value your time at less than that, you’re not doing the work of a true business owner.  Consider how much time a particular task will take and whether you need to do it.

To learn more about how to manage your time effectively and build the best business you can, download our free eBook – The Real Guide to Productive & Effective Time Management.

How-to-increase-productivity

How to increase productivity with these 4 techniques

Ever wondered how to increase productivity so you can reach your business goals sooner, and possibly enjoy more breaks from the business? ActionCOACH has 4 techniques that have helped our clients increase their productivity straight away.

 

Technique 1. Plan your time.

This technique involves you sitting down at the end of each week and planning out what you will do in the coming week. It’s really easy, won’t take you long and is a great way to get clear on what you need to get done. It will make optimal use of your time throughout the week, because you won’t have those moments of “Hmm, what was I meant to do today?” Avoid using this weekly time plan to simply schedule meetings – instead, dedicate time to completing the most important activities for your business. This technique really only works properly if you already have a clear 90-day plan in place for your business, as this will guide you on what are the genuinely important things to achieve in the next week to ensure that you’re actually developing a great business and not just doing the urgent things or the things that someone else asks you to do!  If you don’t have a 90-day business plan, contact us here and we can help you create one.

 

Technique 2. Stick to the plan

So you’ve planned to do something at a particular time… this is for good reason! So it’s important to minimise distractions, stick to the plan and get it done. This is a crucial time management skill, and one that will become second nature after some practice. If you skip a part of your plan you are in fact sabotaging a small part of your bigger business plan. Another great reason to stick to the plan is because interruptions and distractions cause your brain to stop one thing and refocus on another, then refocus again on the first activity at the end of the interruption. Distractions cause a 50% reduction in your productivity, so wherever you can, don’t switch between tasks!

 

Technique 3. Have an accountability coach

Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Think of someone who cares about what you do and is willing to help you. Simply communicate your plan to this person, and schedule an accountability catch-up with them on an agreed day each week. Just like a child will work fastidiously towards a goal if they know you have a treat waiting for them at the end – you are more likely to be more productive when someone else knows about your plan and is holding you accountable for completing the steps in it.

 

Technique 4. Avoid Productivity Killers.

Looking to increase productivity? Increase your focus on health and fitness. Keeping fit might sound more like a distraction that a productivity technique, but in fact fatigue, stress, illness, poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle have a direct impact on your time management and productivity. How? Being fit and healthy not only gives you more energy but also improves your productivity and performance at work, which in turn makes you happier and a better spouse/parent/friend, which in turn motivates you to further build your health and fitness and so on. So it’s a great idea to look holistically at your business, personal life and health.

 

For more strategies on how to increase productivity and achieve your business goals faster download your free eBook on The Real Guide for Effective Time Management here or register for the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Seminar here.