Where does the time go?
We all have the same 24-hour day.
Chia-Li Chien | Nov. 10, 2010
Are you exhausted from working IN your business? Many business owners struggle to grow their businesses, but not because they did not have the right tools. Most in fact, have all the tools they need, but are not using them strategically or consistently.
Lily’s business was going gangbusters, and in the spring of 2010 she was busier than ever, thanks to a new email marketing campaign she started. She was able to secure many new clients through that one effort. However, by October 2010, Lily felt her business had decreased considerably, mainly because she had no clients to work with at that point. You see, she had dropped the ball and was no longer running her email campaign on the monthly basis she had begun in the spring. As a result, she found herself with no follow-up calls and her prospects pipeline had dried up.
Joanne conducts annual free seminars every fall, consisting of two seminars every other week for three months. She emails seminar invitations only to her existing clients, asking her clients to bring someone who might be interested. In each of the seminars, she will get an average of thirty-five attendees, ten of whom will book appointments with her team right on the spot. She has been doing this consistently for the past five years. Are her seminar topics really that attractive? Is her email letter really that compelling? According to Joanne, even if you had the worst email letter ever, and the worst seminar topics in the world, if you are consistent, your pipelines will remain filled. It’s the discipline that really matters.
Let’s take a look at two words I have used here and their definitions:
Discipline (according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discipline):
A rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
Consistent (according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consistent):
Showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief, or custom
So why do business owners struggle to have the discipline to do what they are supposed to do consistently? Well, we live in a multi-media and multi-tasking world, for one thing. One of my business colleagues told me once, “The worst person to work for is YOURSELF.” You put in more hours than ever, are more distracted with many different clients with many different projects, and on top of that, you have a team to manage and new prospects to attract. There are so many things to do and still you may find yourself asking, “Where does the time go?”
Do you remember your college days? You most likely had a set schedule of what day and time to attend the classes you selected. You may or may not have liked the class subject, but at the end of each semester, you probably had completed what you were supposed to do and received a passing grade.
I did the same with my workweek schedule for my business. See below for a sample of what my working week looks like. I’ve also asked my team to know when I am doing what and I do stay on that schedule accordingly.
There are couple things that you might consider:
- Green Time is your money making time – make it a priority.
- Client Retention Time is your money making time too – make servicing your clients top priority in your business.
- Marketing and Sales are Income Generating activities – block them out accordingly if that is your role in your business.
- Continuing Learning Time. Knowledge helps build your common sense. Remember, you can’t teach others about common sense, but each of us can continue honing our common sense skills through varied training, reading, etc.
- Personal and Family Time. Take care of yourself in body, mind and spirit. Take time with family as well. I take a 30-minute nap during my 3 to 5 pm block because my brain needs a break before I can continue on. Listen to what your body is telling you – if you’re tired, take a break.
A weekly schedule can help each of your team members too. You see, being organized saves everyone a lot of time in getting the right thing done right!
There are a few rules I follow and train my clients and team to follow that you might also want to consider:
• Don’t return phone calls or emails during the day. Because I am busy servicing scheduled clients and working on scheduled tasks, I only return calls when they are pre-scheduled via email. I return email in the late afternoon or early in the morning. This may not be realistic for your business, nevertheless, set your own rules and train your clients and team accordingly. Remember to stick to your own rules.
• Use your weekends wisely. Depending on the stage of your business and life, you may be very busy over the weekends. To be quite honest, weekends are my sacred time, and I protect them well. I would rather sacrifice a party, or a hiking trip for a good 2-hour nap to recharge my batteries. Or, I use the weekend to catch up on projects. I enjoy cooking and love to make delicious meals not only for just the weekend, but also preparing them for the week ahead.
I love what I do and am rewarded by watching my clients grow consistently in the right direction. But each successful business owner has their own internal time clock of the best time for doing certain things. Once you get into a routine you can follow, stick with that. Make changes as you see fit. After all, it’s your time – make it worthwhile.
So, where does your TIME go?
Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; helps women entrepreneurs to convert their business into meaningful personal wealth. She is the author of Show Me The Money and columnist for WomenEntrepreneur.com & Fox Business online. She is available for consulting, speaking engagements and workshops. She can be reached at http://www.chialichien.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.