Running a business can be a daunting task. All those things you need to consider such as marketing, keeping up with client work, book keeping, etc. In the midst of this it is quite easy to forget things so how about putting some habits in place that will make life a lot easier and more productive in the long run. Here are 3 strategies you can implement so you don't get into a muddle:
1. Have a physical Inbox and empty it every day
Having an inbox means that everything coming in has a place to go. That can be post (physical snail mail), notes for ideas, business cards from networking events, anything that you can't deal with right at this moment.
Make sure that at the end of the day you have gone through everything and decided what you're going to do about it. This could be action straight away or at a later date, delegated to someone else, filed for reference or discarded. Set up suitable containers (folders, trays, etc.) for the different categories.
At the end of the day your inbox should be empty. This way you know nothing is slipping through the cracks and everything gets dealt with. (Btw. this also goes for your email inbox. Make sure it's close to zero when you sign off for the day.)
2. Set up a timetable for key activities
At the beginning of your business life you will spend a fair amount of time on marketing activities to find clients. Once you have clients and they take up a lot of your time you will find that it gets more and more difficult to find time to work on your business. Create a timetable where you plan in regular times for marketing, admin, research, social media, etc. - whatever applies to your situation. This is also ‘called a default diary’.
One of my strategies is to blog regularly and do regular social media updates. As I got busier all of those fell completely by the wayside until I set aside a certain time every week when all the writing gets done. Thanks to online tools that schedule when updates are posted I can do all the writing for the whole week in one morning.
3. Use a diary
When you first start your business you won't have many appointments so it seems quite natural to try and keep them in your head. Don’t be tempted to do that. It is so easy to get caught out and double book. Always rely on a diary. Whether you decide to use paper or electronic is a personal choice, but don't rely on your memory alone. You can also use a diary to block out time for your key activities (see tip no 2) so that you don't book appointments when you planned to do strategic business activities.
One of my clients thought that he'd start using a diary once he got busier. So when his first client booked an appointment with him he scheduled it at the same time as an existing appointment with his accountant. And since he completely overlooked the accountant's appointment in his excitement to deal with his first client, he never cancelled with the accountant, resulting in him having to pay for the missed appointment.
Following these 3 strategies right from the beginning of your business life will make things much easier in the long run. If you implement good habits like these right from the start you can avoid losing track of important things.
If you want to know more about getting more done and improving your productivity, why not check out my eBook "Get Twice as Much Done in Half the Time - 10 Productivity Strategies for Your Office" which is available on Amazon.