Business Productivity: Am I Being Efficient Enough?
When it comes to being productive and staying on task, there’re a lot of things that can get you off track. Whether it’s dealing with a needy team of freelancers and admins or getting overwhelmed by a major project, there’s always something that can get in the way. In this post, we’re going to show you how you can stay productive while dealing with teams and methods of breaking up big projects into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Let’s start by taking a big-picture view of your most current project. Think about the ultimate goal you’d like to achieve and the steps you’d need to take to get there. Breaking things up into steps gives you a roadmap to follow making the overall execution of the task a lot more likely. When things are broken up, you’re able to assign tasks to people on your team who are best suited for them.
Often times, business owners don’t get as much done due to paralysis by analysis. Spending too much time thinking about the project rather than doing the project is a common pitfall. A good way to overcome this and make sure the work actually gets done is by breaking the big project up into smaller pieces.
Break big projects into small steps. It’s much easier to hold members of your team accountable for getting certain things done. A common example business owners have to consider is branding. If you’re not a brand expert, redesigning the brand of your business could be overwhelming. The best approach is to consider all parts of your branding project as individual tasks and delegate them to the right person.
Your role is to be a visionary and project manager, not a full-on executor. Leave that to your professionals and focus on what you’re good at.
Delegate tasks to your team. This ensures that your team is able to communicate easily amongst itself. You shouldn’t have to be contacted each and every time the graphic designer needs to discuss something with the copywriter. Having to take part in all of your team’s internal communication will lower your productivity. Utilize tools like Slack to keep team communication quick and succinct.
Manage distractions. Distractions are a part of life and the sooner you learn to deal with them, the more productive you’ll be able to be in your business. Schedule time to answer emails, surf the web and take phone calls. When running a business there will always be someone or something requiring your attention. You cannot avoid these distractions. Learning how to plan for and embrace them will allow you to make the most of your time.
Business productivity doesn’t have to be hard. Consider adding some professional project management to your business along with a skilled team to delegate those tasks to. My Clone Solution is equipped with a full team of VAs and professionals ready to free up your time.
The hard and fast rule when it comes to business automation: You can automate almost anything.
There are a lot of things that we do in our day that we’re just not wired to do. For example, you can look go out to eat and automate the cooking process. Your business works the same way!
There are some essential functions that every small business owner needs to do. They can sell their product service or idea, assess the current market, and plan for the future. But most other things can be automated such as following up with customers, sending emails, and nurturing new leads.
Because sales are the most vital part of your business this process needs to be executed on a high level. Automation can help make that happen. The first thing to consider automating is the sales funnel follow-up.
The Sales Funnel
For example: After a customer purchases your product or service, thanking them and priming them for another sale is essential. If you have a huge list in your CRM, you may not remember to send everyone the proper follow up email at the right time, consistently. Automate your sales and follow up process by setting up an email sequence within your CRM.
So what happens after you get the sale? The onboarding process begins.
The Onboarding Process
When someone becomes a new customer, they’ll need hand-holding. They’ll need to be shown how to use the product or service effectively. Your customer wants to know that you still care about them even after you’ve received their money. Creating an effective onboarding process to nurture your new customer helps build the know, like trust factor. This opens the door for you to work with them in the future, providing more value for them later.
There are many ways to stay in touch with your new customer and provide them value after the sale. You can send them emails with tips on how to get better at their niche, videos to help guide them through their rough times or even directing them to others in your sphere of influence who can provide value. Get creative for your business as there isn’t one formula that works for everyone, just make sure that you automate your campaign.
Even scheduling can be automated. If you run a podcast and you are trying to coordinate multiple meetings with speakers, things could get complicated. Use an online calendar where people can pick the time they want so you can skip playing phone and email tag. From there, you could use your CRM to automate what happens after the appointment is set. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to automation.
If you can build it, you can automate it
Business automation can be used with e-commerce customer follow up, prospect segmentation, sending proposals or even getting leads. If you can think it, you can automate it. My Clone Solution specializes in helping businesses automate to save time and increase their reach. Need help? We specialize in automation.
How Do I Know If I’m Ready to Hire an Assistant or Outsource?
A difficult decision many business owners have to make as they start to experience growth is whether or not they’re going to hire an assistant or just outsource the work as needed. There are many factors that go into this decision such as what is the nature of the work, how consistently will you have projects for your assistant to do, and does the overall ROI change if you bring in an assistant versus outsourcing it to VA.
Using an in-house assistant can be great but if the amount of work coming in slows up, you may be stuck paying an assistant who is no longer being productive for you.
Here a few signs that you’re ready to outsource some of your work:
You’re stuck doing work that is not in your zone of genius
When you’re doing work that’s meant for you, the time is flying by as you’re doing it. You’re feeling relaxed and you’re able to get a lot done while maintaining your sanity. You shouldn’t feel like you’re working. If you can do this all day, every day and just be happy – you’re in your zone. Stay there.
Conversely, if you’re losing your sanity and struggling to complete a task, you may want to consider outsourcing it. If you’re losing will power and it feels like the time is going backward, you’re more than likely working outside of sweet spot. You’re being inefficient.
When you are doing something that takes you away from what you’re most skilled at, you’re losing your company money by paying a non-expert (you), to perform tasks for your business. You wouldn’t hire an accountant to run your social media. Don’t hire yourself to do your company’s web design if you’re not a web designer. See where we’re going with this?
Part of being a savvy business owner is having the awareness to know what you should and should not be doing. There’s a strong chance that you’re not as effective as the expert VA you’d hire and that you’re actually providing your business a negative ROI.
Can Anyone Do This Task Instead of Me?
Another thing you should consider when making the choice to outsource is whether the task can only be done by you. If someone else can do the task, allow them to do it so that you’re able to free up your time to do things that are more profitable for your business.
Which tasks can only you perform in your business?
Take some time to consider what can be outsourced in your business and make a list of what you plan to do and what you plan on others doing. Follow your list, find good help and watch your business grow.
Financially Ready to Hire an Assistant?
Understanding which tasks to outsource is half the battle. Knowing whether or not you’re financially ready to outsource is another discussion. When considering the financials of outsourcing, the biggest question to ask yourself is how much would you be willing to pay for someone else to complete work for you? Consider your expected income, your profit margins, the return on your investment, then scale backward.
Is it worth paying someone to have more time? Outsourcing is the trade-off between time and money. If your business is more profitable with you completing all tasks yourself, then continue to do so.If your business is more profitable by outsourcing certain tasks, then we suggest you do that instead.
When it comes to the financials of outsourcing, there are multiple schools of thought. We provided a glimpse into the first one earlier – the returned model. Are your returns greater than your investments? If so, free up your time by outsourcing and let the profits flow.
There’s another school of thought when it comes to outsourcing and that’s the Profit First philosophy by Mike Michalowicz. Michalowicz looks at all business income and splits it into different accounts such as paying yourself, paying employees and contractors, general business expenses, recurring expenses, taxes and profits for your company. Michalowicz estimates that business expenses such account for approximately 30% of all general business revenue. It’s time to ask yourself, can you fit the salary of a virtual assistant for a few hours a week into your budget?
Conclusion: Trust Your Gut
Virtual assistants are not always pricey. It truly depends on the scope of work needed and the quality you’re expecting. Fortunately or unfortunately, you truly do get what you pay for when it comes to VAs. When you add a VA to your team, you can start small with just a few hours of work a week, then scale up based on what your business needs.
We promise, once you start delegating, you just won’t stop. It is addictive.
Welcome to the world of virtual assistant services. When it comes to your business, we all know how far a helping hand can go. What about an army of helping hands? Imagine having a team at your disposal to execute all the things that you’re either not good at or don’t want to do? And imagine having staff when you need them and when you don’t, they’re not on the payroll.
What Do Virtual Assistant Services Cover?
Virtual assistants can help with any kind of task you’re doing. If you’re a coach, you should only be coaching. Virtual assistants, known as VAs, should be doing everything else. Especially if there are administrative tasks or things that are just typically outside of your expertise such as, making changes to websites, updating documents, or revising content.
Proofreading and Editing
The first thing you should consider outsourcing is anything to do with your content, proofreading, or editing. If you’re writing, it’s good to have someone else editing. If you plan to write and edit your own content, there’s a good chance you’re going to miss key things because of the biased view of your writing. It’s way more efficient to pay virtual assistant services to edit your writing so that you can spend time focusing on the things that only you can do in your business.
The next thing most business owners should consider outsourcing with virtual assistant services is anything that has to do with technology. This includes building your website, setting up automation, and figuring out which integrations of software work best together. It’s literally a waste of your time figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Pay yourself by leaving it to the experts. Focus on the things that only you can do in your business.
Another common thing business owners think they should be spending time on is their graphics. Hard and fast rule: don’t make your own graphics, get a pro. If you’re not a graphic designer, you should not be designing graphics. It seems like a no-brainer, right? Outsource this to a true graphic designer and work with them to create a quality experience for your customers. Design is hard and time-consuming. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re not an expert. Hire an expert VA graphic designer with experience so that you can focus on your actual business.
In addition to designing your graphics and setting up your technology, bookkeeping is another tedious, highly detailed activity that business owners often get stuck with. Bookkeeping is a skill set and many VAs actually enjoy doing this (hard to imagine, right)? Many business owners just don’t know what to do when it comes to bookkeeping. If I were to ask you to perform open-heart surgery without having the training, you’d think I was crazy. Well, the same concept applies. If you’re a business owner and you’re still doing all your own bookkeeping, you’re crazy. Don’t be crazy. Bookkeeping takes up valuable time that you could spend prospecting and closing new leads for your business. Save yourself the headache and hire a pro.
Another thing you could hire virtual assistant services to do is to check your inbox. Some people are iffy about having someone else checking their inbox and we can understand that. Our school of thought is that having a VA check your inbox stops you from wasting time in your day getting distracted by emails that don’t directly require your attention or action. We recommend having your VA file your messages into different folders for you to sift through on your free time, then forwarding only urgent matters to a separate email address that you and your VA communicate through.
Long story short? Virtual assistant services will save you time and money
Summing this up, virtual assistant services are good for tasks that don’t take your brain or are just over your head. You should focus on selling your products and servicing your clients (until you have a sales and customer service team capable of doing that for you). Need to find your perfect match? Contact us today.
“How do I make more money in my business?” is an age-old question that has been asked since the beginning of commerce.
We may have altruistic purposes or a strong internal “why” for why we’re in business, but at the end of the day, we are all in business to make money. How much money depends on what you need to be comfortable. That revenue number is different for all of us. Regardless of where we want to end up with our business financially, we all start in the same place, at least we should.
Anything that can be measured can be improved. The profits from your business are no different.
Making More Money: Have a Scaling Plan
If you have any hopes on growing and eventually scaling, you have to measure your business. Many times, owners notice issues with their business (especially when it comes to their cash flow) but don’t know where the issues are stemming from. If you don’t know where the issues in your business are coming from, you’ll never be able to solve it.
Tell me, how fun is it to find a solution when you don’t even know the problem? About as fun as trying to count the hair on your own head. Translation: not fun at all.
The bad news is that this happens more often than most business owners care to imagine.
The good news? There’s a solution for it.
The Importance of Measuring Your Growth
We kind of already spoiled the secret earlier in this post but the secret really isn’t a secret at all. If you want to know how much your kid grew during his first year of high school, what would you do? You’d measure your kid before they entered their freshman year then you’d measure kid on the last day of school (or the end of summer, depending what kind of parent you are).
Your business is the same way. You measure it at the beginning then periodically along the way. Figuring out how much your kid grew over the course of a year is pretty simple. You measure their height. Figuring out how much your business grew (or shrank) over the year isn’t as straightforward.
Measuring your kid’s height is figurately and literally and a linear process. Height is your only variable. Your business is a bit more complicated. In our businesses, we are often trying new things. A new sales process. A new marketing campaign. New employees. Sometimes even a new business model. With you imputing a bunch of different variables at the same time, it’s hard to measure the impact (good or bad) that certain changes had. You can’t grow your business without understanding the resulting of the actions you’ve taken.
So, what should you do?
Use KPIs to Make More Money
Establish KPI – your Key Performance Indicators. These will be non-financial measures of the quality of your output and the efficiency of the underlying processes in your business.
This means you should focus on the process. Trust the process. Allocate resources to move the needle to get the results you are looking for. Take for example your sales process.
When most business owners think of their sales, they’re only focused on their bottom line. The bottom line is obviously important, but focusing on it alone will not bring you any closer to growing it.
Instead, consider measuring your conversion rates. Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your page that complete the desired goal. Your conversion rate tells a much deeper, complicated story then your bottom line.
After measuring your conversion rate, measure your average dollar sale per order. This will tell you how large or small your orders are on average. If your conversion rates are high but your average dollar per sale is declining, your sales agent might be giving things away or heavily discounting orders to make the sale happen.
Understanding those key performance indicators will allow you to either revamp your sales process or confront your sales team. Regardless of the course of action you choose, you’re now equipped with the data to make sensible choices regarding your process.
Conclusion: There is Strength in Data
Cleaning up the issues in your sales process will inevitably lead your business to make more money. Knowing your KPI’s then taking the correct action on them helps patch the holes that truly exists instead of your creating new holes just to patch them. Business owners often create issues for themselves that don’t truly exists in real life, but that’s a story for another day.
Indicators that track the health of your business. Don’t you want a healthy, profitable business?
Know your numbers. Know your cost. Know your margins. Know your profitability.
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When it comes to getting more done, we’re going to approach this from a different angle. Experts tell you to get a calendar, write everything down, account for every day, hour and second. Those things are important, yes, but nothing is more important than focusing on just one thing.
It seems counterintuitive to get more done by focusing on one thing. One is less than many, but this math is far from simple. We have a comparative advantage over our peers when we are able to practice singularity of focus. While others are running around in circles, hopping from task to task, they miss the opportunity of going deep by going wide. Going deep on a task or goal generally bodes better and more tangible results than going wide. Whether you’re an established business owner or a budding entrepreneur, you’ll always have a mountain of tasks calling your name. The secret is to decipher what’s important to your immediate goals then dive wholeheartedly into it.
Developing Strategic Focus to Manage Time
Having a singularity of focus allows you to incrementally build on that one task, propelling you closer to that one goal. Attempting to do otherwise, typically through multi-tasking, will leave you short of tangible progress, opening you to a higher probability of unfinished projects.
Developing a strategic focus allows us to understand our long term goals. Having a well-defined strategy, focused on that one thing, gives us a stable target to consistently aim towards until we hit it. Once the target is hit, redevelop a new strategic focus, reset your goals and begin working towards your next stable target.
From experience, our most successful clients do this. They follow this process repeatedly and get more done than their peers each time. Make sure your small goals are always geared towards your big-picture goals so you’re never losing focus or wasting time doing things that just don’t matter
Set a common goal for your team and make sure your crew is working in the areas they are best at. Working outside of your strengths is a sure-fire way to make sure you get less done.
Do what you’re great at, then delegate the rest. That is the key to time management.
If you want to talk to a project manager schedule here or send us a message via email and we will get back to you within 1 business day. Contact us link and the general schedule link below: