Business Growth Leadership
Previously we discussed ways to keep yourself focused so that you can achieve your goals or get more work done. Another step in the process is to manage your time effectively. Time management skills go hand in hand with staying focused – if you do not focus, it can be almost impossible to manage your time in a way that will allow you to quickly finish menial tasks and get on with your important work or play. Having good time management skills will also help decrease your stress levels from having too many tasks at hand. Read on to discover a few ways to manage your time effectively!
Create Goals – These goals can be big or small: What do you expect to get out of a phone call or meeting, or from each task on your to-do list? Put intention into every action you take in order to get more results. If you consistently do not get the results you are looking for, do your due diligence to determine what needs to change, and then be sure to follow through with making those changes.
Break Up Tasks – Along the lines of micro-goals, breaking up your larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks for your to-do list will give you a clearer idea of how to tackle each project. I personally have daily to-do lists, along with project-specific task lists – these help me organize my thoughts and stay focused on the actions I need to take in order to work smoothly and smartly.
Prioritize – Once you have your to-do lists, it is time to arrange your tasks by priority. What needs to get done first? What is the biggest, most important task to complete or goal to achieve? Answering these questions will help you sort your lists, which will then help you determine the order in which you should best tackle these action points.
Set a Schedule – Before you set your schedule, you must figure out how you are spending your time each day. Write down all of your actions – or inactions – when you are at home and at work, and during your leisure time. This will help you determine what you need to cut out, and where you can take the time to tackle the tasks that you need to complete. Take your tasks and action points from your to-do lists, and put them into a schedule, and then find someone or something to hold you accountable for staying focused.
Delegate – An important lesson to learn is that no one has to go it alone. If you have tasks that are better suited to your employees or coworkers, or tasks which need to get done in order to lift the burden off of you, or if you don’t have time to complete everything on your list, a great idea is to figure out what other people can help you accomplish. Bonus points if you and your employees and coworkers figure out a routine to complete miscellaneous and extraneous tasks so that you all free up time to get the really important work done!
Helping business owners raise funds, I found that today it is much easier than before. Initial funds may get a company off the ground and help it grow. It may require work with the investors, and some of them will ask also for a direct say in making company decisions, but the potential upside could far outweigh the additional responsibilities.
I would recommend checking the following popular directions:
Borrowing: When you are just starting out, you might not be at the point yet where a traditional lender or investor would be interested in you. Consider getting the initial funds from your own resources, selling assets, borrowing against your home, maxing out credit cards, using 401(k), etc.
SBA: U.S. government-backed term loans are available. The SBA’s primary lending program targeting loans of up to $150,000, however the official maximum loan amount is $5 million.
Partnership: Add partner- investors which will forward money to the company for a guaranteed percentage of the business.
A later step will be to go to Venture Capital. Make sure that you have a solid Business Plan. Your success in obtaining funding stems directly from how strong the business idea is. The best way to investigate this is to get a detailed business plan together. The basic points of a plan include a summary of the company or opportunity, industry overview and details of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) facing the venture, as well as a financial overview, including past performance (if available), and projections for at least the next five years.
It is recommended to take advantage of some modern approaches such as Online Networking. The Internet is proving instrumental in helping small and start-up businesses gain access to capital. The advent of social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and business professionals to learn about each other. For instance, LinkedIn has a number of networks for firms seeking venture capital funding and want to learn about companies that may provide it.
You also may consider Crowd- Funding. There are dozens of websites that seek to connect individuals with entrepreneurs looking for capital. Kickstarter.com has turned out to be one of the more popular sites and is very appealing for Start-Up Firms, as individuals effectively donate funds in exchange for company merchandise.
Do you ever wake up at night or have trouble sleeping because you are thinking about what you need to do the next day? Have you ever failed to make your business plans happen because you allow time obstructions to get in the way? If you’ve ever forgotten important appointments or personal commitments, then you need to manage your time better and establish a time management strategy.
Do you manage to read all of your e-mails? Do you answer them? Do you schedule time to work on your business? Have you ever forgotten an appointment with a key customer?
Effective time management requires commitment to a time- management culture. The manager sets the example of this commitment to the schedule. Every activity and task is written into the schedule, whether it is lunch out of the office or a team meeting. If a manager needs to cancel an appointment, he will reschedule it for a later time. If someone cancels a meeting with the manager, he will follow up with the individual to reschedule for an alternate time.
The first step in an effective time management strategy is to use a calendar system that works for you. When you have completed your day of work, spend an additional 15 minutes on scheduling your next work day. Enter every task in your calendar: meetings, events, quiet time in the office, time for planning, social commitments, cold calling, travel arrangements, etc. In order to avoid being overwhelmed, I suggest focusing on realistic tasks and time constraints and to always make time for breaks throughout the work day. Delegating some responsibilities to trusted members of the team is also recommended for a strong time management system. It is important to remember to list all events including personal, family and business appointments. Failure to do so can lead to overlapping commitments.
Once you get into the habit of planning the next work day, it would be good to begin focusing on scheduling longer term goals and tasks, and separating overwhelming issues into smaller action items that need to be addressed. Make sure that all goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound). All tasks should be achievable and strategies should be created to reach desired goals.
In addition to meetings and tasks, a to-do list should be created. Even if you are not computer savvy, it is fairly simple to keep a to-do list up to date. It is recommended to add a daily event in your schedule to work on the list and keep it current.
Once you begin your time management regiment, you will find that having this system in place may ease your mind. You might find that you experience improved sleep and that you feel more relaxed. You can rest assured that your next days’ commitments are listed and you will remember all important events.
Now is the time to ensure that your employees, family and friends are respectful of your time management structure, and if they want to meet with you, engage in a phone conversation, or spend time with you, it needs to be on your schedule. It is OK to say no to some meeting requests, or to suggest an alternative team member to take the meeting.
A key benefit to maintaining a disciplined schedule is having time to contemplate key areas of your business and to work on achieving the vision you have created for your organization. You have to find time during the week to take a break from the day-to-day operations of your business and do some creative thinking.
Executive Coaching and Peer Advisory Boards are a great way to keep you committed to your visions, goals and time efficiency. You will gain the benefits of practical advice from peers and business coaching to work on strategies, plans and focus on being proactive and strategic while maintaining accountability to your coach, peer advisors, and yourself.
Have you been successfully employed in an executive position, VP, Director, or similar; and due to due to organizational changes or cooperate policy you find yourself out of the company?
You are 40+ years old and looking for the next opportunity, you are good at what you do and you may even be well known in your industry. You find the next opportunity immediately, however, this time you are not on the payroll. You are now a consultant. This might be because the new company “does not have the budget” for the position, or it is you that wants a “less committed job”, while “you plan the next step in your career”.
So, now you probably make 15% less than your previous salary. This income comes with no benefits and you most probably need to issue a monthly invoice under a consulting brand or fictitious name.
What happens next? The contract will expire after a year and may even be renewed once or twice. Typically in a few years you will have to search for another contract. You may even try to get interviews for a payroll, full time position. You will get some interviews, but may not receive offers. The new contract you secure might be for 50-60% of your time with even less pay. Your background is not as strong as before and it becomes much harder to get this contract. It keeps you busy, current and vital and you feel that it is essential to work for these terms at this time.
And then what? It does not get easier. In 7-8 years you may need to have more than one contract to support your financial needs. It will get harder and harder to find opportunities and you will find yourself working more hours for less money. It is also common to see people considering changing their direction, moving from high-tech to real-estate, from science to franchise, from education to retailer etc…
Is there anything that can change this trajectory? Yes, of course! Like any change in life this too is an opportunity, and if properly managed, it will lead to a successful transition.
Executive coaching will enable you to get clarity of the process on time. You will choose wise ways to direct your career.
When you find yourself out of your executive position and about to take your first contract, this is the time to position your new “business”. The mistake that people often make is selling “hours”!! You bring a lot more than that. Proper positioning will create an entity that sells values and solutions. I work with my clients to find their unique contribution through a process of re-branding themselves in what they have to offer. The key to the successful launch of the new “brand” is to have an understanding of what expertly is being offered. What purpose does it serve, who will “buy” it and why? Is it an innovative offering? Does it improve on a current solution? Will it generate excitement? Do customers get value for their dollar?
After the positioning is set and the message is clear, I would treat the new “branded you” as a new business and plan its launch properly with a business plan which will contain the vision, SWOT, KPIs and budget.