It’s up to me to organize the workflow – which is all about being in the office to oversee what’s going on. But I also have to arrange time when I don’t have to be in the office so I can be out selling. Those are my top two goals as the owner and leader of my company. How can you help me do a good job at both?
Thoughts of the Day: All business owners have lots of demands on their time and knowing the priorities helps them stay on point. No business owner can do it alone, it takes a team to pull the business into the future. Knowing what to do now and what to put down for later makes it possible to accomplish more of the right things over longer timeframes.
Congrats on focusing on two of the top priorities for any well-run business: making things run smoothly in operations and doing what needs to be done to ensure sales growth year in and year out.
Milestones can help you communicate direction and measure progress. Make a list of milestones to point towards, things that you and your team should focus on achieving to get the business where you want it to go.
Let’s start with sales. You can control the inputs that lead to sales. Number of repeat customers, number of new contacts and qualified prospects, probable value of a sales pipeline – these are all inputs you can work to accomplish.
Break down the number of activities that go into pulling off one sale: 2 old customers = 1 repeat customer; 15 new contacts = 5 qualified prospects = 1 sale. Decide how many sales you want from repeat customers vs. new customers. Multiply each activity by the number of sales needed for the year. Put those numbers up on the wall, where everyone can see what you’re working towards. Post updates each week or month. Celebrate the wins as they come about. Identify where you’re falling short and ask for help.
Assess the team. Are all of your team members pulling their weight and are they all headed in the same direction? Take a close look at who’s on your team and how well do they do. What gaps exist in getting the team well organized and producing results? Are all team members on board? Does everyone know where the team is headed, and how they can help?
Especially in operations, it’s critical to know the difference between high payoff outcomes and busy work. Ask team members to assess the workload and work flow. What can be streamlined? How can output increase? What technological improvements will add to quality and profits?
Most entrepreneurs are high-intensity people, who love to tell others what to do. Control the urge to be in control. Build a team of people who can think for themselves, making appropriate corrections and improvements. That will free you up to put more time into sales.
For most of us, our days are full of lots of things to accomplish and not necessarily enough time to get it all done. Make sure you’re clear about the priorities you set for yourself and for the team. Take time to think about what is the purpose of each task and every priority you set before the team. Live by example, organizing your time around the company’s top priorities so that you can accomplish more of your milestones, and help others to do the same.
Looking for a good book? Try “Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons From An Unlikely Entrepreneur” by Clifton Taulbert and Gary G. Schoeniger.