I have come to the conclusion that the biggest struggle in running your own business or being self-employed is TIME. For lots of business owners I talk to, time is their biggest enemy and they wish they had a pound for every time they said ‘I haven’t got time’.
But lets accept, that there will never be enough hours in the day to fit everything in when you are busy with client work, quoting, travelling to meetings, doing essential paperwork, keeping on top of the barrage of emails and trying to find new customers. So it comes as no surprise when you get to the end of the week and wonder what you have achieved to move everything forward in terms of future sales and business.
Many people do not really plan their week out well, so as a consequence, they end up battling with both time and a lack of focus. When you do this, things start to suffer as you end up running around in circles like a hamster on a wheel!
Usually, it is the most important things that get side lined or missed due to running out of time. How many of us business owners can put their hands up and say that they wished they had more time to:
- Update the website with better content
- Send out a weekly reminder email to prospects
- Write a blog article once per month to send to the press
- Try a new marketing campaign that has been in your head for months
- Attack a new target audience
- Arrange a couple of testimonials or case studies
- Send out a weekly communication through your social media channels
- Tell all your Linked In contacts what you are doing
These, as we know are vital activities to lead us down the path of future customers. But many of us are guilty of being a bit hit and miss with them, rather than finding time to fit them into our weekly routine. It may be that these activities are on the ‘difficult’ pile because you don’t know where to start, are not really a writer or just don’t enjoy doing this type of work.
So how do we ensure that they ARE done and on a regular basis? Here are a few tips to try:
Get some help Give the work to a specialist to ‘make it happen’. Even if you just ask someone to write you a short blog and publish it on your website, social media sites and relevant groups on Linked In once per month. This will take someone experienced no more than 2-3 hours, so will not cost you very much at all. Your business is being promoted in the background without you having to find any time to do it!
Make a plan Spend half a day with colleagues to brainstorm some ideas and get a forward plan of topics to write a news story on. Half the battle is then won because you know what to write about and when. You can then schedule it in and do not suffer from ‘blank page’ syndrome.
Be more focused We can all sit in front of our computers ‘looking at things’ and ‘researching’, but before you know it an hour has passed and we are no further forward. In that hour, if we set our minds to it, we could have updated the content on one or two pages of our website or made 20 useful calls to prospects. Don’t idle time away un-necessarily, be determined and aim to achieve something useful each hour.
Don’t try to hit everything hard Always remember the rule of 1% improvement across everything, rather than trying to make huge impacts and changes. So if you have a new target audience you want to try…just start by spending an hour capturing just 10 new contacts for the database. You should be able to grab their company name and phone number quickly and then call them to get a contact name. Don’t try to spend a day getting 50 or 100 and then never moving onto the next stage of sending a letter out or contacting them because you don’t have the time to tackle so many.
Lean on whom you know Starting from scratch on new campaigns or trying to find new contacts when you don’t even have a name, can be time consuming and draining. Most of us have 100’s of contacts on Linked In or through Facebook that we do not do anything with. It is far quicker to send them a relevant message, get a survey completed or ask for referrals than it is to start from a blank address book. So use them to get messages out quickly and easily.
Get rid of distractions If you have gone to the trouble of setting aside an allocated slot in the day to get something done and then got yourself geared up mentally to do it. Why do we then allow ourselves to be stopped in our tracks and loose momentum by incoming emails or the phone ringing? Turn them off for short periods of time and you may find you get more done in less time and can soon turn them back on again. Most things and people can wait an hour or two for a response…so set you out of office on and get going.
Seriously, we all have as much time as we need or as much time as we make for ourselves. And if you were still struggling even then, I would think about sub-contracting small but important tasks out to make them happen.
You will see the longer terms benefits by investing in the short term…but that investment is either spending money to get help or REALLY making the time to fit in what is important to your business. The choice is yours to make!
Do you need help to get some small but important marketing activities done? Email me at email@example.com or call me for a helpful starting point chat on 07895 389919.