People want to be treated as individuals catering to their thoughts, beliefs, likes, dislikes and so on. Using mindset segmentation can help you create a stronger bond to your customers. You’ll get some great ideas to help you implement a strategy of your own from a recent post at MarketingProfs.com.
When running a small business you wear many hats. It can be a struggle to maintain and follow through on everything you need to do to grow your business. Here’s an infographic that provides you with some great information to increase your “business intelligence.”
Running a small business has so many things to consider to be profitable. Keeping expenses down is just one of them. By using The Cloud rather than expensive hardware, you can save money by keeping your data in The Cloud which also allows you and your team to work together seamlessly on projects. These are just a couple things utilizing The Cloud can help you with, to learn more read How the Cloud is Reshaping Small Business Productivity.
Why is it when you sit down at your desk to do a few minutes of work and hours later it’s still not done? Is it overwhelm? Distraction? Could be. Another reason could be you’re operating outside of your productivity zone.
Not many of us are conscious where our productivity zone lies. Even long after we have left the corporate world, we continue to wake up and go to work during the same times as we did before. Depending on your business, sure we do have to operate a certain number of hours within the socially accepted business hours. However, your best work should be scheduled for times when you are at your peak.
What is Peak Productivity Zone?
Some people call these their power hours. It is the time of day when you feel you are most alert, creative and energized. Most people identify with being a morning person or a night owl and these are clues to where your zone lies. It’s not always a hard and fast rule. Some self-proclaimed morning people can also be highly productive at night. To better identify your zones, try these steps.
Step #1 Re-assessing What “Type” You Are
If you confess you are a morning person. Think again. Do you jump out of bed each morning and are able to hit the ground running really quickly? Or are you a slow starter. Though you wake up early, in actuality, you can’t think of work or anything until you’ve taken time for quiet reflection, and to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Maybe you are able to get to work after some time to complete your ritual but you need more mundane starter tasks before you feel ready to tackle the harder tasks.
Step #2 Map Your Energy Levels
Using a simple a spreadsheet or paper, record your energy level during different hours of the day. A simple scale of 1-10 works, 1 being low and 10 being high.
Track this over a period of time. 3-4 weeks will give you a good indicator. You may see a pattern emerging that you’ve never noticed before. Don’t be surprised if you find your energy levels waning and returning through the day.
Step #3 Work It
By now, you would have identified a time or times of day when you are fully engaged. This is where you should schedule the big tasks that require your focus, concentration and creativity. These are the times when you should hang a do not disturb sign on your door, make sure everyone respects it, and protect dearly.
If you have meetings, administrative tasks, time for others, and chores should be scheduled them outside of your peak productivity zone.
Sounds simple? It is, but don’t mistake simplicity for inefficiency. Often, it’s the simplest things, and smallest change that can make a big difference.
One great book that talks about a similar concept of managing your energy is The Power of Full Engagement. Put it on your reading list.
Apart from financial gain, the desire to have more time for themselves and/or family is among the top reasons many give for starting their own business. Yet, those of us who have ventured out know – family time is the first to get sacrificed. We want to fulfill a lifelong goal, but we don’t get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We want to make our family happy. Instead, they think our business is a poisonous fruit. Ironic isn’t it?
Will you finally have time to live your life this year? The answer is (and should be) Yes! Like everything else, it takes some work but your family is worth it. Here are five strategies you can put into action without sacrificing either your business or life goals.
Releasing control of your work, and spending your hard earned money to hire someone is a challenging. It’s very hard to see, particularly in the beginning, how spending can result in more returns and profits. After all, it’s been drilled into us since we were kids. Save your money. As a kid, I remember saving quite a bit of money, then my mom would take me to the bank to deposit it into my own account, and that’s it. I’m not discouraging saving money. It’s a good habit, but at the end of the day, I still left home with $0 in the account. It’s a long story, but if only I’d been taught to invest that money into something that will bring in more money, I’d have started life off on a better foot.
If your business is not in a position to hire yet, it’s OK. Keep working at it. Do save your profits, but as soon as you are able to afford assistance without sacrificing too much profits, then it is time to invest. In help, in people. Extra help frees you up for bigger tasks and you’ll also be able to knock off of work early.
Realize It Takes Time
You’ve heard of the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day. Few things are. Even a seed takes time to germinate and grow into a plant. It takes even more time for that plant to grow into a strong, formidable tree. There will always be something you have to do. Even if you completed everything on your list today, tomorrow, you’ll find new things that need attention. Create work hours. You may find yourself getting more productive when you only have a few limited hours to get down to business.
Communicate Each Others’ Plans
Your family knows that what you do is important to you and for their sake. If you have a project that is of particular importance e.g. Winning a high profile client, let them know that you will be working more for a while. Be sure to schedule in extra time for them after.
Similarly, ask them to keep you informed ahead of time as much as possible of the events going on in your life that they want you to be present. If there are conflicts – it’s up to you to decide which is more important. Sometimes, a big contract negotiation with a client does take precedence over being taxi driver for music class. However, if it is a concert your child has been working hard for, it would probably be worth a shot to re-schedule the meeting time with your client.
While everyone’s schedule is different, it makes a lot of sense to keep weekends off-limits to work, or at least to client work and demands. This is especially true when you have school age children. Most schools have their year planned out way ahead of time. Grab the school calendar and plan out your holidays and long weekends to coincide with theirs. Block them off early in the year so you’re not scrambling to find time later.
Treat family activities like an appointment to be kept. Put them on your calendar. In your task list. Schedule it or you’ll forget it.
Make It A Point To Enjoy Life
If you’re unhappy, you’re not going to be happy at work or at home no matter how hard you try. If your business is no longer a source of joy for you. It’s time for some serious re-thinking. If the situation at home is driving you to stay longer at work, then that needs taking care of too. Sometimes the decisions are painful, but life is too short to stay unhappy and you only have one chance. Be intentional about making changes that lead to fulfillment and success.
Perhaps you are looking into setting up offices in a different country – or hope to. Or, maybe you’re hoping to connect better with staff or customers from a particular region.
Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/Mishchenko
Whatever your reasons may be, learning a different language has many benefits for entrepreneurs. Besides business benefits, bilingualism is also good for your mental health.
Studies have shown that bilingualism delays the onset of dementia. People who speak more than one language also process information more easily. Convinced and want to get started? Here are 5 places you can learn a new language for free, or brush up on a language you learned in your youth.
DuoLingo – uses game strategy to help you learn and challenge yourself.
Livemocha – community based learning with native speakers, teachers, language experts and fellow language learners.
Word2Word – this site has an amazing number of links to different language resources. The variety of languages is also quite large.
Busuu – also community based learning. They also have mobile apps you can install to learn on the go.
LearnALanguage – Offers a several language options with interactive lessons.