1. Plan, plan, plan… You are probably sick of hearing that one, but having a detailed plan of daily tasks is one of the most effective ways to remain on track. For large projects, try splitting them into smaller sub-tasks, each with a specific deadline attached to it. Recent studies have shown that imposing deadlines effectively fights procrastination by changing people’s mind-set and putting them in an implemental role.
2. Be realistic with timing. Having 20 different tasks on your daily schedule is probably not the best idea as you will end up transferring half of them on to the next day’s schedule which beats the whole idea of planning. Do not overestimate your capabilities. Usually 3 lengthy tasks a day are more than enough so aim for that and if you see that you still have time at the end of the day feel free to use that time to create some meaningful connections and get some new business in.
3. Look after yourself. If you are a workaholic, this one’s for you. I know that a lot of business owners live and breathe their work which is great, but don’t expect to produce results by working eight hours straight with no rest. Taking a few minutes off every hour to rest your mind and eyes from the screen is vital for continued productivity throughout the day. You may even find that some of the best ideas occur during breaks. For even better performance, make sure to remain hydrated and have an active lifestyle. Proper hydration keeps the mind flowing and exercise improves alertness and clarity. Not to mention reduced sickness absence levels.
4. Believe it to achieve it. A positive attitude significantly contributes towards faster and more successful task completion. It is hard to achieve great results without actually believing you can make it. If you are a naturally positive person, then try embracing the role of the influential leader to motivate your team and accelerate efficiency. Otherwise, try having positively predisposed people around who can help spread that mentality.
5. Do not be afraid to innovate. It is important to note down any spotted mistakes or processes that delayed performance. These can be reviewed when you prepare to plan for the next project. This lets you shape each process in the way that best suits your needs, instead of following pre-set examples which might not work for you.
6. Cut out distraction. Try keeping your phone on silent and avoid checking your social media every other minute. If you work with other people in the same office, try wearing headphones to minimise the noise coming from their discussions.
7. Do one thing at a time. Do you ever find that attempting to do more than one tasks at once actually slows you down? Switching focus between different activities causes an unnecessary waste of time. Recent research has proven that multitasking is not as efficient as we once believed.
8. Keep your work space uncluttered. Whether you work at an office or from home, make sure your space is clean and uncluttered. Messy work spaces distract your brain from focusing on what’s important, whereas a clean environment gives you a sense of calmness and allows room for productive work.
I would love to hear your tips on increasing productivity at work. Please comment below and share your ideas.
"Sorry Grant, but I've been too busy, so there wasn't enough time to do that task you set me." grrrrrrr!
Anyone that's been mentored by me or attended one of our BLAM courses will know how annoyed I get when I'm told that someone didn't have enough time to complete an important task. "Being too busy" is a bloody epidemic that is infecting a huge amount of people and in most cases it's just an excuse.
Don't get me wrong, a lot of us have very busy lives and it can be challenging getting all of our tasks completed. The order in which we undertake those tasks though, is completely under our control, we decide which tasks we prioritise.
In nearly all cases, when we hear these kind of "too busy" excuses, there definitely was enough time, it's just that we chose to do something else instead.
If you fall into this trap, you may have been prioritising family time, relaxing in front of the tv or having a night out with friends. It's not that you were too busy or didn't have enough time, it's just you chose to do something else instead, which is fine. What's not fine is kidding yourself that you didn't have enough time, because I'll bet you did!
Acknowledging that there was enough time and that in fact you weren't "too" busy but you decided to prioritise something else instead is a huge step change in your thinking that can help you make decisions about how you spend your time most productively.
So next time you catch yourself saying, "I've been too busy" or "I didn't have the time to do that", remember you weren't too busy and there was enough time, it's just you chose to do something else instead.
Have a great week.
Running BLAM Partners gives me the privilege of meeting lots of people starting a business for the first time. This can be a daunting prospect for them and, let's face it, it's not for the faint hearted!
We provide plenty of resources to help these first timers, but with this article I wanted to reveal some of the less conventional tips that I've seen used to great effect for start ups. They may not be for you, but that's what makes life interesting, it takes all sorts!
1. Develop morning routines - This may seem a fairly ordinary tip, but that does very much depend on the routine! Having a sequence of practices that are geared around your businesses performance from the moment you wake up, puts you in the right mindset as the day begins. I know of some entrepreneurs that get up at 4am to get their work done whilst there are no distractions at all, so after their first stint of work they can fit in a gym session at 6.30am then a family fix around 8am, then they finally go into work.
2. Affirmations - Writing down a statement of intent and then repeating it out loud several times a day may sound a bit crazy, but thousands of successful millionaires do this, as described by Napoleon Hill in "Think and Grow Rich". There are numerous variations on this practice and it’s not for those that feel self conscious when caught doing it. I’ve had many a weird stare from other drivers when they catch me talking to myself on my morning commute in the car!
3. Meditation - Meditation can help you focus on your goals, define your purpose and relax your mind when the stress of running a business gets to you. It is becoming a more conventional tool these days and there are plenty of apps that will help you begin your journey to reaching mindfulness nirvana. How much meditation you undertake though is down to you, but it's all too easy to say "I'm too busy to meditate”. I’ve even gone as far as getting a meditation teacher in to the office to educate the my team on how to get the most out of their meditation.
4. Talk to your pet - I recently read an interesting article from a fantastically wealthy entrepreneur who gauged his motivational talks by how long he could keep his pet Great Dane sat paying attention to him. If the dog lay down whilst he was practising he would assume it wasn’t good enough and adjust it until he held his attention for the full speech. So, I am now suggesting that we all practice our pitches on our pets, if we can’t hold their attention, what chance do we have with prospects?
5. Dress to impress - Think about what you wear and the way you look every single day because like it or not you are judged by the way you look. Unless you are a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg (who are on another level entirely) looking as good as you can, appropriate to the business you are in, can give you the edge. If you are the best dressed person in the business meeting you are already making a good impression and for the right reasons.
If you find these tips interesting and want to find out more about how we help our BLAM Partners achieve success check out one of our webinars that we run every week, available to all here .
Have a great week!
One of the hardest parts of growing a small business is managing staff. Dealing with the day to day issues that come up preventing you getting on with growing your business is one of the most frustrating parts of running your own company.
I've listed five tips here that have helped me manage my staff over the years that you may find useful.
1. Build systems: If your internal business systems are designed around the roles of your staff it can save a lot of problems along the way. If each time you have a staff issue you amend your system to accommodate the situation, your systems should evolve and avoid similar problems in the future. An example of this would be a member of staff consistently forgetting to undertake a particular task. By applying a flagging system, a reminder, alert or trigger, you will then either solve the problem or have the evidence to discipline accordingly. My motto is, always be improving the systems, always keep learning from mistakes.
2. Communication: One of my personal weaknesses this one! Quite often I have found that I have neglected to communicate new initiatives in my businesses appropriately to all of the organisation. This sometimes causes me to verge on paranoia and end up repeating myself a lot to my team! By keeping all of the staff informed on the business goals, objectives and general on-going issues, you can build a fantastic team atmosphere. Regular team meetings, social events and a communication system that fits appropriately with your business are key. In my various businesses I have used a variety of different tools for doing this and they change depending on the level of staff I'm communicating with. For example, I often use a What's App group for management teams and then email communication, triggered from our CRM for more general staff matters.
3. Set goals with rewards: I use a staff review system that includes goals and targets set on a quarterly and annual basis. Each quarter the previous goals are reviewed and marked by achievement. My managers also use this system with their staff and it works consistently down the managerial line. When goals are achieved rewards are based on the achievement. There are several rewards systems available to employers now such as Perk Box but I've used a variety, from a good old fashioned bonus through to a holiday.
4. Work with strengths: I few years ago an extremely successful entrepreneur showed me how he managed his staff from the very beginning of their employment by assessing their strengths. I found this to be completely in line with my core values and love the positive approach of focussing on strengths rather than weaknesses. There are various strength finder tests that are available along with books that help you best understand the way to utilise the strengths and manage accordingly. Each member of staff takes the test and then you can see what their strengths are and what job roles will suit them best. I have now taken this to the next level by employing team members based primarily on their core values fitting with the business and then fitting their strengths with the appropriate role there after.
5. Know the law: On more than one occasion I have found myself in need of an employment solicitor when dealing with a tricky staffing situation. Employment law can be a minefield and when faced with a situation you need to know you’re getting the right advice. For many years I have been a member of the Chamber of Commerce who offer a free employment support line. They gave me invaluable advice and support and I highly recommend their membership for that service on its own. There are other organisations that provide similar services and for the business owner with only a small team this is a great first step in resolving issues or making sure you are operating correctly and in accordance with employment law. Of course, for more serious instances, a employment law solicitor may not be avoided!
Despite this article having elements relating to staffing problems, I would like to end it by saying that despite having my fair share of issues over the years, my team have been awesome. When you find the right people, they are the greatest asset your business has and are the foundation of the organisation.
From a young age my parents drummed into me that honesty is the best policy. When I was at junior school I recall accidentally throwing a hardball through a high window, showering the entire assembly hall with glass. To my mates amazement I went and told the teacher immediately and was sent to the head master. He actually praised me for my honesty and then when in the next assembly (after the glass had been cleared) he made me stand up and used me as an example for my honesty, pointing out that it was because of my confession that I wasn’t punished.
What a great head he was, as this had a lasting effect on my attitude, which I've carried through to my business career too.
When it comes to selling in business there is a temptation to tell lies to further enhance your product or service. You may prefer to use the term exaggeration or stretching the truth but the principle is the same, it's lying.
Historically this is one of the main reasons why sales people have got a bad reputation. Whether it's the stereotypical slimy car sales person or the boiler room commission based telesales executive, we often have a perception that their morals are less than saintly and sometimes for good reason.
"But where do we draw the line, and how do we know
when we're stretching the truth too far?"
Lying is a fact of life, we all do it to a certain extent. Whether it's making an excuse for why we're running late or telling our partner that their bum doesn't look big in that outfit, it's a fact of life that we are all aware of. But where do we draw the line, and how do we know when we're stretching the truth too far?
I often find with business owners I coach who are new to selling or are less experienced in their product range (e.g. some of our BLAM Partners), they are tempted to appear more expert or experienced in their subject than they truly are. In this instance my advice is always honesty is the best policy. If you are found out to be less experienced than you have said, your credibility is completely blown and the chances of a sale are less than zero!
"Disarming honesty" is contrary to how traditional sales people are used to acting. Admitting that you don’t know the answer to a question can be a pleasant surprise to your prospect and can build trust and rapport. As long as the question is answered at some point (usually after the appointment) in an efficient and professional manner, it can actually help your pitch rather than damage it.
This has often worked for me and my sales people over the years. In the cases where the prospect has reacted badly to not being given the answer immediately, then they would never have been a good fit for our business anyway, if that’s the way they choose to behave.
So, I say to people who are new to selling, be truthful with your prospects and be disarmingly honest, after all it’s much more difficult to remember a lie than it is to recall the truth!
There seems to be an unlimited number of business gurus out there at the moment vying for the role of coaching entrepreneurs in all aspects of the business world.
“Coaching" seems to be the new buzz word that we keep hearing, and as ever there are a variety of different interpretations of what essentially is what we used to call consulting. Don’t get me wrong, I am of course a big fan of coaching, and have two that I use myself, I just tend to be wary when a new spin on an old idea starts taking hold!
Recently I attended an invigorating all day seminar where the familiar mantra of "be coachable" was pronounced at every opportunity (check out Les Brown for more being coachable inspiration). If you are being syndical, the reason for this seemed pretty transparent, as coaching is effectively what was being sold, at what on first appearance, seemed like extremely high prices.
The value of the coaching, we were told, was in the potential of what could be achieved once given the knowledge and then applying it. However, I found myself asking the question, "how valuable is this coaching and what is it really worth?"
During the seminar the speaker explained how he was charged hundreds of thousands of dollars by his own coach, based on how much he was likely to earn as a result of the learning. This seemed like a totally unreasonable amount of money on the surface, however the speaker was happy to pay it due to the high return on the investment he received. To him, it was actually amazingly good value.
So, the speaker took a decision to pay an extremely large amount of cash in exchange for the coaching sessions. He then went on to adjust his business in accordance with his coach's advice and went on to earn millions as a result.
“people don’t value what they don’t pay for”
The whole thing would have been a huge waste of money however, if the speaker had not applied what he had learnt and followed through with huge commitment and effort. It's a fascinating piece of phycology that having paid thousands for being coached, the incentive to make it work was enormous, and therefore more likely to work.
We often value that which we pay more for and in the world of coaching if we only pay a small amount of money, we're much less likely to take action with the learning.
An example of this principle in reverse occurs within our BLAM partnership programme. As part of the programme, all partners receive a full resource centre of all the knowledge that we have built up over years from selling hundreds of websites and apps. The value of this knowledge when added up, based on what it has earned all of our partners past and present is millions of pounds. Yet, what we find is that the resource centre is generally not exploited to the full despite it being freely available to all members. We have a record of how it is accessed and by whom and it's fascinating to see it's usage. A great saying from Oren Klaff springs to mind, “people don’t value what they don’t pay for”.
It's interesting to speculate what the usage would have been in our resource centre if we had made it an optional extra that partners had to pay for. How much more I wonder would it be used (we're not doing this btw!), and how much more successful would our network of partners be?
My point being that what ever product or service you are selling, be mindful of selling the value not the price. Often I see small business owners underselling themselves as they have an idea about their price being too expensive. We have some BLAM Partners that will sell a product for three times as much as another without any difficulty, and it’s essentially the same product. These are the partners that are selling the value not the price.
If you equate your product or service to its value rather than its price, it's an excellent opportunity to help the buyer take action and improve your businesses perception whilst doing so. So I urge you to take a long look at your business and think, what are my products and services really worth to my customers? And even if you don’t charge your prices, you need to let your customers know your real value.