Whether you have just launched your new start-up, or are the owner of an existing business, to be successful you need to make the best use of your valuable time.
With so many different aspects of the business to think about, and a host of demands on their time, it’s easy for small business owners to become too busy to get the really important things done.
To make sure you don’t get sucked into this trap, author Martin Gladdish, reveals some simple tips and tricks to show how you can build your business in 90 minutes a day.
What is the most important thing a business owner must do each day?
What a provocative question? Imagine being sat in a room full of your peers, other small business owners, and being asked just that.
For most of us it would probably take us right back to similar scenarios in the school classroom where all eyes are turned on you and, under immense emotional pressure, you make your most educated guess in the hope that it is not too far from sensible.
Right now though you have an advantage, because there is no pressure, no one is watching and there is no grade to be awarded once you have answered. But I would like you to stop reading and take a moment to consider what the best answer might be.
Now, we could debate the answer and I agree that what I’m about to present is just my opinion, but to me this is by far and away the single most important thing that a business owner must do each day. To get and keep customers.
If you think about it, no business can run without customers. There are other things that need to be done and a multitude of elements to keeping the boat afloat, but nothing happens until a customer spends some money. All businesses need fuel.
And another uncomfortable question…
So, if you agree with the principle above (or even if you had another answer that you are stubbornly sticking to) my next question is:
How much quality time have you spent on that task today?
I apologise for teasing you into that little guilt-trap but it is an interesting thought isn’t it?
That you can identify that something is the single most important activity in determining what is probably one of the most important goals in your life right now… And yet you haven’t done anything about it.
The reasons you haven’t taken any action around the most important thing that you ‘should’ be doing today include:
- You are too busy
- Someone else is demanding your time
- You are easily distracted
- You don’t like sales
- You are frightened of the enormity of the idea
- You need a holiday, or
- You simply hadn’t even realised it was so important – until now!
So what is the answer to all these tricky questions?
Well, have you heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as The Pareto Principle, which states that 20% of effort or activity gives 80% of the benefit or return?
It is not a scientific fact, but simply a ubiquitous observation which can be observed in many areas of life. For example: 20% of the tools in a toolbox are used for 80% of the jobs; 80% of your turnover is likely to be generated by the top 20% of your customers; and you wear 20% of the contents in your wardrobe 80% of the time.
20% of an average eight hour working day is 90 minutes and there is a growing body of science that suggests there is something magical about that specific time period – particularly when it comes to concentration, performance and productivity.
Key periods in our sleep patterns, ultradian rhythms within our body, school lessons and sports events are amongst the many examples of how effective 90 minutes can be.
Going back to identifying and achieving your goals within your business. If you can genuinely see that there are more important things to do in your business than to get involved in all the busyness that circumstance, emotion or other people will present you with.
If you agree that there is a massive difference between being busy and being productive. And if you are up for taking a little challenge that might just change your working life (and personal life) forever… Read on:
Build your business and get a whole lot more done in just 90 minutes a day…
Tomorrow morning, before you do anything else (you can wash, get dressed, eat and travel to work or the converted spare bedroom), arrange your work station in a way that you will not be disturbed – then focus.
Do not turn on your email. This will invite other people’s agendas into the most effective part of your day. Turn off your phone and anything else which might go beep or flash its LED lights at you, set your timer for 90 minutes and you are ready to begin. You are about to get 80% return on 20% of your effort.
There is a fabulously long list of things you could do here, but for now choose one of the following:
- Write an email/letter to your lapsed customers list
- Write an email/letter to all the people that never replied to your last quote
- Compose a great offer which will attract new customers
- Create a description of your ideal client and what motivates them to buy
- Make a list of other things that you could do to get and keep customers
After you have spent 90 minutes doing any of the above, and believe me there will be many more incredibly valuable things you can use this time for, then put the result into action. Press the ‘go’ button.
Too many small business owners are world class at getting ready and never actually make anything happen – so you must send what you have written. The average piece of marketing which gets sent will always outperform the almost perfect piece which sits in a drawer or is lost in a forgotten file.
Daily Disciplines are the most powerful actions in the world
One more quick thought on the theme of using your time to do the things which matter the most is that doing the right thing once is rarely good enough.
To be really effective at anything in life, whether it is learning a new skill, forming a good habit or trying to overcome a bad one, you have to make the positive action into a daily discipline.
I could tell you countless stories of 90 minute periods of time which have, quite literally, changed the world. Closer to home I know of many business people who have changed their fortunes by applying this principle.
And I can also testify of the life-changing and success-bringing influence it has provided for me and my family – but ultimately it is your story which matters to you, so what will you do with this information?
About the author
This article has been written for ByteStart by Martin Gladdish co-author, with Nigel Botterill, of Build Your Business in 90 Minutes A Day, published by Capstone, May 2015, Paperback and e-book, £12.99. Martin is a freelance writer, business storyteller and author of The Lazy Optimist. He is also an amateur magician, often sharing business lessons through magic tricks at business and networking events.
More help to grow your business
For more advice on growing your business, read some of our most popular growth guides;
- The 3 issues you’ll need to overcome if you want your start-up to reach £1m turnover
- How finding a great mentor could help you to grow, and your business to flourish
- Barriers to growth – how to identify them and how to overcome them
- 5 simple steps to overcoming procrastination
- Increasing your personal efficiency – how to get more done in less time
- The start-up survival guide – 6 practical tips to help you get through the early years
ByteStart brings you help and tips on all aspects of starting and running a business. For lots more on successfully starting a new business make sure you read these ByteStart guides;
- 10 advantages running your business as a limited company has over being a sole trader
- How peer-to-peer lending offers start-ups and small businesses a new funding option
- 10 ways small business owners can pay less tax
- Taking your business online – A Digital marketing guide for small business owners
- 21 killer ideas to get free publicity for your small business
- Which business insurance policies are your business legally required to have?