In the begining stages of buiding your business you will fall into routines and develop habits that will inevitably determine your longterm success. Be careful of the habits you create when starting out. There are two habits that you can put into practice right away that will be crucial to your success, the way you begin and end your day. It has been proven that the morning hours between 9 am and 12pm are the most productive hours of the work day. This timeframe is usually when mental alertness is at its peak for most people. As a business owner you need to capitalize on this. Set aside a few hours every morning to take care of the most important tasks related to maintaining and growing your business.
Traditionally most people start their day by checking voicemail or email and returning client calls and messages. The wheels wont fall off the cart if you save these tasks for later ... Trust me :)
Until you have a system in place to streamline these unproductive yet necessary tasks, find a time and place for them that is not first thing in the morning when you are typically the most productive.
That being said, what should you do to jumpstart your day? ...
There are a few things you can implement right off the bat to get a head start on everyone else. The first thing you should implement is something called:
Top 10 before 10
Identify the 10 most important calls you need to make everyday to move your business. These calls should be calls to gain new business or calls directly related to increasing the revenue streams for your organization. These calls should not be calls to your team or calls to existing clients, these should be new calls to generate new leads and overall growth.
After you complete this then you can move on to the tasks related to maintaining everything currently going on in your business. By making this minor change in your schedule you are making sure that you do at least 1 thing every day to advance BEFORE you get into everything else that you have to do to maintain.
To ensure that you will actually complete your Top 10 before 10 don't rely on simply waking up in the morning , having an effortless start to your day and being in the perfect mood. Only Cinderella and Snow White wake up singing with the birds and have household & forrest animals helping them effortlessly go about their day.
To start your day as effortlessly as possible, plan it out the night before.
The reason for this is before you head to bed or close out business activities for the current day you are still optimistic about what you can accomplish tomorrow. You haven't woken up yet to find that the dog got into the garbage last night and distributed its contents through out the house or that one of your kids has taken ill and you have to take the day off to sit in the doctors office OR you just don't FEEL like working at all. This happens to everyone, we are all human. That is why it's so important for you to have a plan in place so that all you have to do in the morning is look at the plan you created the night before and put the wheels in motion.
Your plan for the following day should be broken into two categories, Personal and Professional. Even though this is a "Business Blog" we want to make sure that you understand all things are connected. You have to be balanced in all areas of your life in order to succeed in any area of your life, we will elaborate more on this in future posts.
In the "Personal" category you want to make sure that you write down all of the most important things for you to accomplish that day so that you can continue moving forward in your Professional Life with out dropping the ball. This task list could really be anything you want it to be. As an example my "Personal" list usually consists of things like doing the dishes, making sure I set aside time with my family (I get entrepreneur tunnel vision), doing laundry, cleaning the house, taking out the garbage and recycling (depending on the day) ... It's not a complex list, but these are all things that I have to stay on top of in order to be able to afford to spend the time I spend on my business.
The "Professional" category should be broken into three sub categories:
Top 10 before 10
We already talked about the Top 10 before 10 so I will move onto the other two. The sub category "Maintain" should consist of a daily task list of important tasks you must complete everyday to maintain you business at its current rate of growth. For example: Checking email & voicemail, returning client calls, posting any new content to your website or posting new ads that you run on a regular basis etc ... This list is mostly made up of things that you should be outsourcing or having your support staff manage for you. It is important as it relates to making sure things continue to run smoothy, but it is not important as it relates to how you should be spending your time as a business owner. This list should only be completed once you've finished your Top 10 before 10.
The last sub category "Advance" consists of all the things you can do in addition to what you are already doing to grow and expand. Some examples of things on this list are pre-writing future blogs to save you time; expanding knowledge base and learning new things to help you with your business; scheduling future posts on your social media sites so that things happen on autopilot; networking and meeting new people to expand your circle of influence etc ... I'm sure you get the idea.
Doing something everyday to advance BEFORE you enter maintenance mode is increasingly important as you move forward. If you do things the way that 90% of other business owners do and start your day in maintenance mode ... you will end up putting the most important things off over and over and over again. Even if you have every intention of doing things to grow your business later when you get EVERYTHING ELSE out of the way it will no longer be considered doing things to advance ... You will be doing things to try to stay afloat as other people blow by you simply because of the one little tweak we discussed today.
Don't get caught in the maintenance trap with everyone else. Make some simple adjustments that will set you apart and catapult you towards the kind of success you want for your company!