Category: Education

Protect Your Brand and Preserve Your Reputation or Else!

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, small businesses must be quicker, more agile, and far more creative to adapt, respond, and effectively meet customers’ ever-changing preferences and demands. Customers and prospects of the Digital Information Age are more knowledgeable than ever before. Unfortunately, customers are also more fickle, too. 

Did you know that an unsatisfied customer will tell 9 to 15 people about her bad, frustrating experience?  

One can only imagine how that number has increased exponentially as a result of the world’s newfound addiction to the social networking phenomenon…As you’re reading this blog, you better not have any of your social media sites also open! 

On a more serious note, be sure to turn off all your social media notifications if you haven’t already – they can be a huge distraction and time-suck!  You’re better than that and it’s time to focus (by the way, you only have 158 words left to read here)! 

As I was saying, the rampant sharing of a horrendous shopping experience or an unpleasant customer service encounter on social networking sites can instantly tarnish a firm’s reputation. Repeat offenders that constantly receive negative survey results or have angry, colorful diatribes hurled in their direction in chat rooms will certainly lose customers and market share.

By constantly updating and tracking customer interactions in a centralized CRM throughout all of its locations, small businesses should be able to better serve customers and respond more quickly to their questions, concerns, and suggestions. Thus, companies can mitigate the risk and likelihood of a viral smear campaign and maintain and even improve their reputation that they have worked so hard to uphold in the marketplace.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett said it best:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Will you start to do things differently?

How to Master Your Morning Routine

The other day I read “6 Things You Should Never Do First Thing in the Morning” by Jeff Haden in Inc., who is one of my favorite authors in that magazine.

Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash

Here are the highlights of recommended key things not to do as part of your morning routine:

1. Don’t plan out your day.

Trying to plan your work first thing in the morning or when you get to work can have unintended consequences resulting in a complete waste of time.  The mere act of doing this results in stress and anxiety as your list piles up.  As you rush to finish the list so you can actually work, you might even wind up prioritizing easy, administrative tasks over more important yet complex items (e.g. cash-flow generating activities).  Going through the motions and being unprepared is never a good thing.

Instead, come ready to play and commit to the following:

  • Prepare and prioritize your to-do list at the end of your prior workday.
  • Determine the single most important thing you need to accomplish tomorrow.
  • Get your workspace and all needed materials ready for tomorrow the night before.

Doing so will create massive momentum in the mornings and tee you up for maximum focus and goal attainment.

2. Don’t make unimportant decisions.

Why spend time agonizing over trivial decisions?  Every extra choice you consider or decision that you have to make overwhelms your brain and takes up time.

A better approach to free up your brain power and ensure you’re at peak mental focus at all times is to:

  • Eliminate non-important decision points (e.g. – if it doesn’t make you more profitable, increase your productivity, or improve the quality of your life or one of your business outputs, then stop fixating on it and move on).
  • Automate and expedite simple, recurring decisions (e.g. – get into a routine for what you eat and what you wear).

3. Don’t forget to exercise.

The reason it’s ideal for exercise to occur in the early morning is because:

  • It puts you in a better mood for the next 12 hours.
  • It increases your energy levels.

Being happier and having more stamina throughout the day empowers you to get more done.

4. Don’t forget to include protein in your first meal.

Consuming 30 grams of protein with breakfast is recommended since it:

  • Maintains blood-sugar levels.
  • Curbs your appetite and prevents hunger attacks.

You’ll be energized, healthier, and less distracted.

5. Don’t forget to take the right breaks.

Regardless of how intelligent or mentally focused you are, you can only operate at a high level for so long.  The sooner you understand and abide by that principle, the more productive you will become.  Even if you are a “morning person” as opposed to a “night owl,” you have to factor this into your morning routing prep and execution.

Try taking opportune breaks as outlined below:

  • Recognize that after 90 to 120 minutes, you lose focus…you’re not alone.
  • Strategically take 15-20 minute breaks to recharge for your next big task.
  • Instead of planning and plotting your workday as a typical 8 or 10 hour day, break it down into five 90-minute windows with occasional short breaks sprinkled in so you can refuel and/or knock out some quick, mindless tasks.

6. Don’t stick blindly to the same morning routine.

Now, this advice may seem counter-intuitive…The point is if your routine is working, stick with it.  If it’s not, adjust.  Life happens and new family duties and business commitments will arise.  Though sticking to a routine that works is the goal, you’ll have to constantly test and adapt as your business grows.

Lastly, not everyone will have the same morning routine.  Nevertheless, most prefer to have a better one, and I hope you can incorporate some of these “not to do list” recommendations into your morning routine and get your day going on the right foot.

What aspect of your morning routine would you like to improve?  

What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve ever received to kickstart your mornings, attack the day, and maintain momentum throughout?

Feel free to leave a comment below and thanks for the continued readership of our Blog!

If you haven’t already, be sure to connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook to receive additional, unique insights and tips on time management, productivity hacks, business growth strategies, leadership development, and motivation.

Your Brand’s Extinction May Be Closer Than You Think

You may have seen recently that Elon Musk’s Tesla will be joining the S&P 500 by the end of the year.  This announcement reminded me of a pivotal Executive Briefing that I had read entitled Creative Destruction Whips Through Corporate America by Innosight, a leading consulting firm focused on global strategy and innovation. 

This report came to mind because it reveals that the average lifespan of companies in the large-cap S&P 500 Index is significantly shrinking:

As far back as 1964, the average tenure of firms in the S&P was 33 years. Recently in 2016, that number shortened to just 24 years and it is predicted to shrink to just 12 years by 2027. Furthermore, Innosight’s research goes on to assert that 50% of the current companies traded in the S&P will be supplanted by 2027 if this current churn rate and turnover continue to accelerate. 

Evidently, large firms (really, firms of all sizes) need to take action and avoid the corporate hubris trap or they face the risk of severely underperforming, falling behind, and having their brand no longer be relevant.  

𝘎𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘺 𝘐𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘴

Where to Aim First if Your Market Share is Declining

No one wants to see their brand lose ground quickly or even get completely swept away by younger, hipper, and hungrier upstart competitors.

To prevent their demise and loss of market share, organizations need to become more in tune with their customers’ needs and more agile to improve the customer experience and enhance service levels.

Investing in a leading-edge CRM platform, that is scalable, flexible, and highly intuitive, is a great place to kick start this transformation and strategic initiative.

How CRM Can Help

Armed with a centralized CRM solution will improve the firm’s knowledge of its clients, prospects, and partners, thereby allowing deeper bonds to be forged. Having such a comprehensive 360-degree understanding of all existing and potential customers plus key strategic stakeholders will empower employees across the enterprise to make quicker, more informed decisions. The result will be a more collaborative environment in which marketing, sales, and service associates communicate more effectively and efficiently. Finding it easier to connect with clients and co-workers, employees will become more united, more engaged, more accountable, and more willing to go the extra mile to provide a unique, differentiated level of service that will lead to more satisfied and loyal customers, which in turn will generate more referrals.

With CRM, the company will spend less time struggling to find info to resolve client issues and complaints and more time segmenting, targeting, and closing higher-margin customers with much higher lifetime values to the firm. Moreover, CRM’s robust pipeline forecasting capabilities will help identify top-selling products/services and trending customer demands/requests. These real-time sales analytics tools will provide the insights and actionable intelligence necessary to not only shorten sales cycles and increase revenue but also enable the firm to make the necessary adjustments to overcome apparent product gaps or upcoming sales downturns.

All in all, CRM will serve as the framework and foundation for your client intelligence. With better organizational coordination and more command of customer info, CRM will become the growth driver of the firm. Plus, it will become much easier to thwart off rising stalwarts, maintain brand relevance, sustain one’s leadership and market share positions, and even avoid extinction.

Are you losing ground to competitors and experiencing a surge in client defections?

Are your sales and service teams handcuffed by lack of client intel, operational bottlenecks, and manual, inefficient processes?

Do you have a brand obscurity problem?

Don’t risk becoming further irrelevant or even extinct…CONTACT US to speak with one of our tenured turnaround specialists or seasoned strategic marketing consultants.

High-Quality Customer Experiences Equals Higher Stock Returns!

The CFI Group, an Ann Arbor, MI think tank focused on customer satisfaction and feedback analytics, occasionally releases research findings showing that the level of a publicly-traded company’s customer satisfaction directly correlates to the firm’s stock price. For one of its studies, the CFI Group managed and tracked a portfolio of stocks based on their performance in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and the National Customer Satisfaction Index UK (NCSI-UK). The portfolio results were then compared to the benchmark S&P 500 in the case of U.S. companies and the FTSE 100 for firms in the United Kingdom.   

Overall, their research found that the top companies on the ACSI and NCSI-UK, which represented the ones with the highest customer satisfaction scores, significantly outperformed their competitors and the overall stock market.

Key conclusions from the report are highlighted below:

  • The ACSI portfolio of U.S. companies returned 390% vs. the S&P 500 return of -7% (from April 2000 to April 2012)
  • The NSCI portfolio of UK companies returned 59% vs. the FTSE 100 return of -6% (from April 2007 to June 2011)

As Claes Fornell, the CFI Group and ACSI founder and University of Michigan professor, states:

“Companies with highly satisfied customers generate superior returns because customer satisfaction is critical for repeat business, and that type of business is usually very profitable. That is, loyal customers tend to be highly profitable as long as their loyalty comes from their satisfaction and not because prices are low.”

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

On a related and more recent note, Watermark Consulting, a customer experience consultancy, analyzed the stock market performance of the Top 10 Leaders and Top 10 Laggards in Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Index compared to the broader S&P 500 Index from 2007 to 2017.  

Their significant findings include:

  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Leaders portfolio was nearly three times higher than the Laggards (183.8% vs. 63.1%).
  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Leaders portfolio was 45 points higher than the S&P 500 (183.8% vs. 138.7%).
  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Laggards portfolio was almost 76 points lower than the S&P 500 (63.1% vs. 138.7%).

It’s indisputable that companies investing in improving their overall customer experience are being rewarded by not just their customers, but also their shareholders.

Not to be outdone, another study over an even longer time frame came to the same conclusion.  In this case, Fortune with the help of FTSE Russell, a global money manager and institutional consultant, discovered that companies named to the Fortune annual “Best Companies to Work For” list, typically “demonstrate stronger financial performance, reduced turnover, and better customer and patient satisfaction than their peers.”  

In fact, the outperformance is quite substantial when comparing the annual returns from 1998 to 2016:  

  • An equal weighted index of the top 100 companies to work for on the Fortune list returned 11.66% annually which was almost 5% higher than two other key benchmarks over the same stretch:
    • The Russell 3000 Index, a U.S. all cap benchmark, returned just 6.72%.  
    • The Russell 1000 Index, a U.S. large cap benchmark, returned only 6.68%.

It’s clear that companies with more satisfied customers tend to outperform the stock market, while companies with disloyal and frustrated customers typically underperform the broader stock market.

The first step to enhancing customer experience quality in order to boost customer satisfaction is to better understand the needs of one’s customers. 

It is safe to assume that the companies with high customer experience scores currently leverage a leading flexible and scalable CRM platform to track customer preferences, patterns, and purchasing history in order to:

  • Deliver more targeted messaging
  • Respond quicker to customer requests
  • Streamline customer interaction touchpoints
  • Improve client satisfaction levels
  • Consistently provide a better and unique customer experience

Customer experience leaders and pioneers have happier, trusting clients that are less sensitive to price and far easier to service. Their greater loyalty leads to more referrals, higher retention rates, and expansion of client wallet share. All of these benefits result in higher revenues, lower acquisition costs, increased earnings, and ultimately a boost in company stock prices.

To sum up, having a clear, effective customer experience strategy driven by highly engaged employees and a robust, centralized CRM system can transform your firm from a product-centric to a client-centric culture in route to elevating your customer service and outperforming not only your competition, but also the stock market overall.

Ready to innovate your employee and customer experience and improve your financial performance?   

CONTACT US today to speak with one of our customer experience strategists and profit acceleration advisors about how we can take your business or practice to the next level.

Accelerate New Hire Onboarding and Ramp Up with RevSherpas

As small to mid-sized businesses look to grow market share or enter new markets, they often hire new staff.  Many times, though, the addition of more personnel does not always lead to more work getting done overall, less workload for others, enhanced client service, or better territory coverage.  The reason for these unanticipated, unintended, and unfortunate consequences is that firms’ technology infrastructure, or lack thereof, impedes employee productivity and progress as the organization grows.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

In particular, companies without a leading-edge CRM system in place experience significant challenges when onboarding new employees.  After all, learning a new role and a new organizational hierarchy and culture can be hard enough in itself. Complicating matters, a new hire without CRM is going to struggle to get up to speed quickly, regardless if she was brought on due to a new role or division being created, a firm experiencing enormous growth, or a department undergoing high turnover.

Below, I have summarized some of the negatives a new hire will face without CRM and contrasted them with some of the pluses she will have if a robust, intuitive CRM platform is available.

As the new employee comes onboard without CRM, he probably will not be the only one struggling to locate data on clients, prospects, sales opportunities, and service cases due to the abundance of legacy, disparate systems and delayed or non-existent information flow between various departments and channels. Lack of visibility into all client and stakeholder relationships results in too much administrative work done in a vacuum and excessive duplication. Client trust diminishes, especially if ongoing staff turnover compounds these operational bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

On the other hand, CRM streamlines and automates common sales, marketing, and service processes and gives employees, particularly new hires, the information that they need to succeed. New employees can find key background info on customers and partners and come across as if they have been with the firm managing their sales territory for over a decade. The resulting productivity and performance gains from CRM thereby quickly justify the hiring of the new staff.

Are your sales units and new hires still struggling to get by without a solid CRM system and strategy? 

Are you still not sure if you need a CRM or how it can help your firm operate more efficiently, serve your clients more effectively, and scale faster?

Are you overwhelmed by the plethora of options in the CRM software marketplace?

Have you recently experienced a choppy software implementation with your IT consulting partner or feel you overpaid for the junior, overhyped resources who worked on your project?

Do you wish you could deliver results faster to your customers and employees/CRM users?

Do you desire to transform your digital customer experience, but lack the in-house expertise and just not sure where to start?

As a leading boutique CRM and Customer Experience Strategy Consulting firm, RevSherpas can help point you in the right direction and grow your business!

CONTACT US to explore a potential partnership and to schedule a complimentary discovery and strategy consultation session.

Stellar Service Is Vital To Your Success (“Same As It Ever Was”)

Recently, we came across an excellent inventory of Customer Service Quotes from legendary business leaders, past and present.  Thank you to Salesforce for capturing and compiling these quotes.  It’s rare to find so many solid quotes consolidated together on a business strategy so near and dear to our hearts.

As CRM strategists and customer experience improvement and innovation experts, the RevSherpas consulting practice is passionate about delivering optimal service to our clients.  Moreover, during our client engagements, we always underscore the importance of providing unrivaled customer service to reduce churn, increase satisfaction and loyalty, and ultimately grow revenues.

While other consultants and coaches typically try to convince you to utilize the latest social media shiny object tactic of the day, we’re far more into cultivating deeper relationships with your prospects, clients, and referral sources. 

It’s much more effective and just makes more business sense.  After all, our motto in our logo does say, “Client Focused.  Elevated Results.”

What’s interesting is that many of the quotes and points of view that were established in the 1800s are still valid today.  In fact, they are so legit that they serve as the fundamentals of how to effectively grow and scale a business even now.

To begin, let’s take a look at some of our favorite quotes from the pioneers of Retail.

“THE OLD SCHOOL”

Marshal Field, founder of Marshall Field and Company, the Chicago-based department stores:

“The customer is always right.”

“Assume that the customer is right until it is plain beyond all question he is not.”

“Give the lady what she wants.”

“Goodwill is the one and only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.”

Harry Gordon Selfridge, American-British retail magnate who founded the London-based department store Selfridges:

“Honesty always pays.”

“People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”

“Get the confidence of the public and you will have no difficulty in getting their patronage.”

“Treat [the customer] as guests when they come and when they go, whether or not they buy.”

John Wanamaker, founder of department stores, including Philadelphia-based Wanamaker’s; Also, invented the price tag and was the first merchant to utilize advertising agencies:

“When a customer enters my store, forget me. He is king.”

“Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.”

“Courtesies cannot be borrowed like snow shovels; you must have some of your own.”

Again, many of the above quotes were declared by individuals born in the 1830s and 1850s!  Yet, their philosophies still hold up and are applicable in the present environment…they’re really the “SAME AS IT EVER WAS!”

https://www.amazon.com/Same-Ever-Was-Talking-Heads/dp/B0028G1OU4

To balance out the “old school” perspectives, we also wanted to share some fascinating quotes on the importance of customer service from current CEOs and business leaders representing the “new school” as seen below.

“THE NEW SCHOOL”

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and philanthropist:

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Dr. Gary P. Hamel, founder of Strategos, a management consulting firm:

“Most of us understand that innovation is enormously important. It’s the only insurance against irrelevance. It’s the only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty…It doesn’t matter much where your company sits in its industry ecosystem, nor how vertically or horizontally integrated it is—what matters is its relative ‘share of customer value’ in the final product or solution, and its cost of producing that value.”

Elon Musk, founder/CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, among many other companies (does he ever sleep?):

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

Jeff Bezos, founder/CEO of Amazon:

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos; Previously was co-founder of LinkExchange:

“We take most of the money that we could have spent on paid advertising and instead put it back into the customer experience. Then we let the customers be our marketing.”

Joseph Jaffe, consultant and thought leader on growth, marketing, and innovation:

“Customer Service is everything and anything that touches a customer – directly or indirectly. Customer service means servicing customers, and it’s so much more than just solving problems or addressing complaints. Customer service is part of a holistic customer experience that is capable of providing a critical competitive advantage in today’s increasingly cluttered and commoditized marketplace.”

Larry Page, co-founder of Google:

“We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone.”

Marc Benioff, founder/Chairman/CEO of Salesforce:

“The future of communicating with customers rests in engaging with them through every possible channel: phone, e-mail, chat, Web, and social networks. Customers are discussing a company’s products and brand in real time. Companies need to join the conversation.”

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group:

“Setting customer expectations at a level that is aligned with consistently deliverable levels of customer service requires that your whole staff, from product development to marketing, works in harmony with your brand image.”

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club:

“There is only one boss – the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Seymour Fine, marketing expert:

“When a customer complains, he is doing you a special favor; he is giving you another chance to serve him to his satisfaction. You will appreciate the importance of this opportunity when you consider that the customer’s alternative option was to desert you for a competitor.”

Shep Hyken, customer service expert:

“True loyalty doesn’t come because of an app. It doesn’t come because you have a punch card where after ten punches you get a free sandwich. It is about the relationship. Take away those “perks” and would the customer still be loyal?”

Steve Jobs, co-founder/Chairman/CEO of Apple:

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

Walt Disney, founder of The Disney Company, animation pioneer, and film producer:

“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”

Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker and sales trainer:

“Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.”

These customer service philosophies are truly time-tested and they should be at the cornerstone of your digital customer experience transformation strategic initiatives. Any company in the midst of becoming more client-focused and shifting from a product-centric to a client-centric mindset to better serve its customer base can likely utilize many of these famous quotes as the guiding principles for the changing of their company culture.

As for your company, are you in need of assistance in designing and revamping your customer experience and CRM strategy?

Have your service levels been declining and running into frequent bottlenecks and backlogs lately?

Have you been experiencing high customer turnover of late?

If so, it’s probably time to simplify, standardize, and improve your client service operations!  Please email Hello@RevSherpas.com to request an initial discovery and strategy consultation.

Lastly, we encourage you to leave a comment below to let us know what your most-liked quote in this article is or if you have another favorite customer service, CRM, or customer experience management quote not listed here. 

Thanks!

If Time Were Money, How Would You Manage Yours?

Business owners often equate being busy with being successful. 

Newsflash:  they’re not the same thing!

Time is more precious and has a more limited supply than money. There are only a finite number of days that you will spend on this earth.  Therefore, time is gone forever, if you waste it.  On the other hand, money is something you can usually get more of.  That is, you have the ability to make money back after losing it.  

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

The fact is that many business owners, such as yourself, actually manage their money as though it is more precious than their time. They started the business to choose their own hours, spend more time with their family, and be their own boss. Somewhere along the way, though, the only goals that mattered became the financial ones. Over time, the only item worth measuring and managing was money.

Your time will never be managed for you – you have to make a decision to commit to spending your time wisely, taking ownership of your own schedule, and using the power you have to change what isn’t working. 

When you focus more on time management, the goal is to get more done in less time, and thus increase your hourly worth (among other benefits, of course!).

There are five major things that drain your time. But don’t worry, it’s really easy to fix the leaks.

  1. Email – Your email is a constant distraction!  With you email program(s) running all the time, emails can distract you as they arrive. Or, you’ll find yourself checking for new messages every five, 10, or 15 minutes. Writing, reading, and responding to emails can easily monopolize your time because they seem like an ever urgent and important task.
  2. Smart Phone – Your iPhone or Android device has likely given you increased freedom from your workplace, but they seem to have also taken away your freedom to choose when you work. You can work outside of the office, but this often means you also work evenings and weekends when spending time with your family and friends.
  3. Open Door Policies – While you want to be open and accessible to your staff, sometimes you can make yourself too accessible. Open door policies have the potential to create a daily mass of employees lined up at your door seeking immediate answers for non-emergency issues.
  4. Meetings – Unstructured, unnecessary, run-on meetings can gobble up hours for no reason at all. Especially as a business owner, your presence may be requested at a variety of meetings, but it’s not always required. Days spent in back-to-back meetings often mean that your workday starts at 5 pm instead of 7 or 8 am.
  5. You (yes, You!) Since effective time management is a choice, everyone is guilty of letting themselves sabotage their ability to work productively and efficiently at all times. It’s easy for business owners to avoid separating business hours from leisure time and let the two run together. We all have distractions that we fall into from time to time.

Now you need to take some time to figure out where your time actually goes, so you can see what leaks need to be repaired.

You’re going to take a good long look at how you spend your time so you can paint a clear picture of your current situation. Once you understand your own personal habits and patterns, you can start making changes that will have the greatest impact on your own schedule. You’ll learn how to be a better time manager.

Complete a Time Audit for three working days in a row.

First, record how you spend your time in detail for three working days.  Be honest with yourself, and be as specific as possible. If you notice something about what you’re doing, or which distractions have the greatest negative impact, log these notes as well. The more information you can record, the better.  This is not the easiest or most exciting exercise in the world, but the data captured will be eye-opening and transformational!

Take a look at your time records, and categorize the different ways you spend your time.

Next, use different colored markers or highlighters to shade the blocks of time you spent on various activities. You can create your own categories, or use the ones below:

  • Client work and follow-up
  • Prospecting/Business Development
  • Networking
  • Business Strategy Planning
  • Branding/Advertising
  • Training
  • Compliance
  • Emailing (checking, reading, returning messages)
  • Telephone(checking and returning messages)
  • Administrative work
  • Internal meetings
  • External meetings
  • Being with Family and Friends
  • Eating, including preparation
  • Personal Errands
  • Exercise
  • Watching TV/Netflix
  • Internet browsing
  • Social Media
  • Sleeping, including naps
  • Travel

Based on the categories you created, go through each of your days and decide if you have spent enough, too much, or too little time on each main task.

Based on your observations, answer the following questions:

  1. What patterns do you notice about how you spend your time during the day? When are you most productive? Least productive? Most or least interrupted?
  2. Write down the three highest priorities in your life right now. Does your timesheet reflect these priorities? (Show me your schedule and I will show you your priorities!)
  3. If you have more time, what would you do?
  4. If you had less time, what wouldn’t you do?
  5. Could you remove the items in question four and add the items in question three? Why or why not?
  6. Is procrastination a problem for you? How much?

Here are a series of effective strategies for improving your time management skills, and for doing more in less time.

The strategies described below will help you take charge of your schedule and use your time in a more effective manner. Grab your pad of paper and start by choosing five or six strategies to try.  Take some notes as you read through this list and decide which you will try first.

Remember, this is an individual process – everyone works differently – so if you have to try a few different things to get some meaningful results, that’s okay and it’s completely normal!

Prioritize Your Tasks > You can’t do everything, so you need to decide what is most deserving of your time investment.
> Choose what needs to be completed now, what can be completed later, and what can be delegated to someone else.
> Focus on your top three priorities at any one time, and consistently revise your list so that the highest priority items are on the top, and the lowest priority items are at the bottom.
Delegate > You can’t do everything, so you need to decide what you absolutely need to do, and what others can finish.
> You also need to accept that while it may seem “faster” for you to complete a task initially, spending the time to teach someone to complete the task will save you hours later on.
> Delegation is a vital skill that you need to refine, practice, and master as a manager.
Focus On Your Skills > If you have a good understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, you can use this to your advantage.
> An effective way to manage your time is to only do the things that you know you are good at, or required for, and delegate or outsource the areas where you are not as strong.
Just Say No > Learn how to say “no,” and you will reclaim dozens of hours every week.
> It’s so easy to say “yes” to something in the moment, and later feel overwhelmed when that task is added to your to-do list. You may feel pressure to say “yes” to everything as a business owner, but you do have a choice.
Keep A Strict Schedule > Create and keep a strict schedule for yourself that supports your productivity, and minimizes distractions.
> Include personal and work time in your schedule.
> Schedule time for things like closed-door work, work planning, email and phone responses, internal and external meetings, “me time”, family, and exercise.
Make Decisions > As a successful business owner, you will need to learn to make good decisions quickly and efficiently, without wasting time with deliberations.
> You can only make the best decisions with the information you have, in the time frame you have to make it. No one expects you to be able to see the future – be decisive, make some mistakes, and learn from them.
Manage Interruptions > Establish which hours of the day you are most productive, and set those hours aside for yourself to finish important tasks, uninterrupted.
> Schedule open door hours, and closed-door hours.
> Schedule windows of time for reading and replying to emails, and for answering and replying to phone calls.
Avoid Duplicating Efforts > Take note of how many tasks are completed more than once, or by more people than necessary.
> Establish clear communication systems and procedures to minimize this, and make sure all your employees have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
> Use tools like checklists, meeting minutes, and individual task assignments to minimize miscommunication and duplication in tasks.
Stop Procrastinating > If you are a seasoned procrastinator, the idea of “just stopping” is usually much easier in principle than in practice.
> The best way to overcome procrastination is to use your willpower to stop. Refining this skill will help to prevent you from procrastinating in the future.
> Try working in blocks of focused time, with breaks or rewards at the end, and break down big tasks into small manageable ones.

Effective time management is just a formal way of saying that you make good choices about how you spend your valuable time.

Remember that time management is a personal investigation that will look different for everyone. Some people can work in the middle of a loud, crowded room, and others need absolute silence to function at a high level. Respect your own needs.

It really just boils down to making choices and setting up a structure that enables you to succeed. You have to try a few different strategies and structures to see what works best for you.

Let us know your favorite time management tips in the comments below.

CONTACT US to learn more about how our “Profitable Time Management for Top Producers” training can help your business be more efficient, get more done, and spend more time on cash-flow generating activities.

Good luck!

 

Focus First On Your Current Customers

Though many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. After all, these are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and junk out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, our FREE test drive can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay off many-fold.