The Key to Getting Back to the Business Basics

We are now over halfway through 2019 and headed into the fall, what better time to really look at your business processes and get back to the basics.

Think Like a Startup Again

Remember how you felt when you first started your business? Full of excitement, energy and, OK, maybe some fear too. Why not go back to that entrepreneur frame of mind? Enjoy looking at the fun things like growth, market trends and the high-level stuff that excited you about being a business owner in the first place. Problem-solve the big problems, not the hundreds of small ones.

Decide to Delegate, Then Actually Do It!

Are you working in your business or on it? According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, two-thirds of small business owners and entrepreneurs are personally responsible for three or more areas of their business, including marketing. So who is looking after the big picture?

A smart way to approach this is to consider how much you are worth an hour, then compare that with how much you would pay a professional to do jobs that eat up your time. What could you do with that extra time to strategize and grow your business?

Pinpoint Your Pain

Create a list of everything that’s stressing you out about your business even minor details like a door that always sticks because these irritations can all add up to bigger problems. Then create a column of solutions with your team and assign action items to get things done. The beauty of creating a pain list is that you get all of your worries down in one place and out of your head where they’ve been causing anxiety. Writing them down is the first step toward doing something about them.

Review Your Processes

Processes determine end results, but sometimes we can’t see our processes are broken until we are in crisis mode, so take the time to fix them before it gets urgent. For example, what is your process for onboarding new clients or employees? How are contracts handled?What about receipts for business expenses? Identify processes that aren’t working, then create workflows for key tasks. Watch productivity soar.

Fix What’s Broken

From squeaky doors to wobbly tables to slow computers, things that don’t work right will bog your business down and lead to a sense of entropy and malaise. So send in the painters and repair people and watch how fast your people (and your clients) will feel better about their workspace.

Craft Your Time

Time moves forward whether you want it to or not, but there are ways to “craft” your calendar so you feel more in control, says productivity expert Mike Vardy of “One of the biggest things you can do [in September] is set clear monthly objectives leading up to the end of year, because the holiday season will arrive faster than you think,” he says.

One of the time-crafting strategies Vardy suggests is theming, where you create themes for certain blocks of time, from hours, days and weeks to months, quarters or even years. Theming helps create focus on priorities. Vardy says one group he worked with wanted to set high-level monthly themes, like ‘outreach month,’ and have weekly themes that are more specific like ‘media outreach.’

Commit to Micro-Commitments

Crowd Content, says one strategy sales people can be used to keep client lists energized and sales pipelines moving is micro-commitments. These are a series of mini-sales, where you are constantly moving a client along the pipeline. So instead of ending a meeting with, “Let’s talk in two weeks,” use an approach that leaves no doubt about your intentions: “Let’s talk in two weeks on the 30th. I’ll put it in my calendar and send you an invitation.” When the client agrees, you have a micro-commitment that may lead to bigger things.

This article is from the August/September 2019 issue of Douglas.