5 Reasons Why You Don’t Reach Your Goals (Part 2)

5 Reasons Why You Don’t Reach Your Goals (Part 2)

[5 Reasons Why You Don’t Reach Your Goals – Part 2]

5-reasons-why-you-dont-reach-your-goals-part-2

After years of helping leaders and small business owners be more productive and profitable, and after seeing the same challenges tripping them up, I’ve put together the top 5 reasons why business owners don’t reach their goals and surefire ways to fix it.
.

5 REASONS WHY YOU DON’T REACH YOUR GOALS

The first 2 reasons why you sometimes don’t reach your goals have been covered in Part 1 of this blog post, and they are:

1. You don’t know where you’re going, and

2. You don’t have a clear plan.

Let’s explore the last 3 reasons why you don’t reach your goals.

 

alicia-menkveld-point-3a

YOU DON’T ALIGN VISION WITH ACTION

.

Once you have a clear vision and plan, the next potential obstacle that can trip you up is knowing what to do but still not doing it. So you’re not taking the steps to make that goal a reality.

In our mountain climbing analogy, this will be choosing a peak to climb and seeing yourself on top of the mountain but not taking the steps to climb the mountain!

This happens because fear gets in the way of us taking action. Goals are defined as “an aim or hope to achieve something” which means that in order to achieve it, we’ll have to do things we haven’t done before which makes us feel uncomfortable or downright terrified.

Goals are meant to stretch us out of our comfort zone, so if you don’t feel uncomfortable or a little scared while chasing your goals, you simply created a to-do list for yourself. But going outside your comfort zone means dealing with your fears.
.

Does this sound familiar?

You think about the goals you want to achieve, your minds comes up with 20 good reasons why you can’t do it, you start to worry about “what if it doesn’t work, what if all my time and effort is wasted, what will so-and-so think or say, what if I succeed?”. These thoughts make you feel anxious, so you open Facebook or Instagram for a quick scroll and look up 30 minutes later…

When you’re feeling afraid, it’s easy to make excuses and put things off till later. And that’s how your vision and action become misaligned and you don’t reach your goals.
.

Fear will never go away. Don’t wait to feel ready – the only way to win, is to take action.

.

HOW TO DO THIS BETTER
.blog-image-key-ideas1

#1 KNOW EVERYONE FEELS FEAR

It’s how you choose to deal with fear that makes some people successful in reaching their goals while others don’t quite get there.
.

#2 THE ONLY WAY TO WIN IS TO TAKE ACTION

Use fear a sign post in your business – if you feel fearful doing something new, making a call or speaking at an event, it means you’re on the right track and you should definitely take the next step. (This obviously excludes high risk investments without doing due diligence or actions that endanger your life!)

This approach feels totally counter intuitive as you want to feel ready before you take action but it’s the act of DOING what you’re afraid of, that will help you overcome the fear and make you feel confident to push forward.

Reading or research is NOT doing. Talking about something is NOT doing it. The ONLY way to reach your goal is by taking the next step, possibly failing the first few times, learning from mistakes and giving it another go until you’ve reached your goal.

.

alicia-menkveld-point-4a

YOU DON’T TAKE CONSISTENT ACTION

.

Just like you can’t expect to get to the top of the mountain if you stop climbing halfway through, you can’t expect to reach your goals if you don’t take consistent daily action.

This is much easier said than done, as we’re only human! And that’s why it’s so important to have a strong vision of what you want to accomplish and why it matters so much to you.

Then it’s creating rituals and habits at work and in your life to ensure you take regular action, as we can’t rely on willpower only or wait to ‘feel like it’ before we take action.

There will definitely be breaks in the routines you created, as life throws us curve balls from time to time. These breaks will inevitably lead to a loss of momentum but HOW we deal with the loss of momentum is the key to whether we’ll reach our goals or not.

Research has shown that we tend to be super harsh with ourselves when we break a ‘winning streak’ and instead of forgiving ourselves and getting back on track, shockingly most people completely give up on the whole goal!
.

When you lose momentum, don’t quit! Get back on track.

.
Logically this doesn’t make sense, but it has been proven over and over. Studies have found that people trying to wake up earlier would stop altogether after missing ONE day, regardless of being successful for a week or more before that day.

giving-up-on-a-goal

.
Or they would give up on their diet because they had one unplanned cheat meal or stop hitting the gym because they went on a business trip and now the ‘winning streak’ has been broken.

Reaching your goals is tough, so let’s see how we can increase your chances of success.
.

HOW TO DO THIS BETTER
blog-image-key-ideas1 .

#1 CREATE HABITS AND RITUALS

Be clear on your big vision and remind yourself daily of the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing, with a vision board or vision statement.

Create habits at work that will help you reach your goal e.g. Theme Days in your business where you work on specific things in your business on specific days like Marketing Mondays.

Or dedicate blocks of time a couple of times per week to work on specific projects or goals. Schedule the blocks in your calendar and treat them as non-negotiable appointments with yourself. Your success and overall happiness depend on it.
.

#2 SETBACKS WILL HAPPEN

Be prepared for them as they are there to teach us and test us. Anyone who has ever achieved success had to face many setbacks.

The only difference between those who reach their goals and those who don’t, is that the successful people expected it, acknowledged the setback and got back on the horse while others slashed their car’s other 3 tires too. (image above)

Get up, forgive yourself and get back on track.

.

alicia-menkveld-point-5a

YOU DON’T GET THE RIGHT HELP

.

When you climb a mountain like Everest it’s essential to take the right action and get the right guides to help you summit. If you don’t get the right help, you could literally die on the mountain!

The consequences of not getting the right help at work might not be as severe, although you could end up losing your job or your business could close down.

Find a course, a mentor, a coach, colleague or peer to help you shorten the learning curve and help you take the right action to reach your goals quicker.
.blog-image-key-ideas1

HOW TO DO THIS BETTER
.

#1 SUCCESS IS A TEAM SPORT

Identify a few specific individuals who can help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

A mentor give valuable advice so you don’t have to learn all the hard lessons yourself. They have been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Asking questions and getting advice from someone who already walked the path you’re on, will save you countless hours, dollars and much frustration.

Just like Batman needs Robin, you need a sidekick or cheerleader to have your back and keep you motivated. Cheerleaders can be found in group settings like small group coaching, certain networking groups, accountability pods or membership communities.

If you like more of a one-to-one approach choose a respected peer for accountability and brainstorming.

And lastly, think about who the connector is your network. This is the person who can help to open doors for you, make introductions and get you quicker to your goals.

If you’re looking for a coach to kick some goals, let’s schedule a free call.

.

Read the 7 Planning Questions for 2019 blog post by clicking the link – here I cover the 7 essential areas to plan for if you want to reach your goals in 2019.
.

Download your own customisable 90-Day Action Plan around the 7 Essential Areas by clicking the link or image below and start planning your success today.

.

7-planning-questions-blog-opt-in-am.com

 

.

QUESTION:

Which if these 3 reasons have tripped you up in the past when trying to reach your goals? Leave your comment below.

.

#practicalproductivity
Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD Alicia is an award-winning consultant, trainer and speaker for the last 19 years. She’s an authority and trusted adviser to many leaders, teams and small business owners in the areas of leadership, team performance, productivity and bravery. Alicia has a simple but powerful message: Do Less, Better. She loves to travel, and lived and worked in South Africa, the UK and Australia.

5 Reasons Why You Don’t Reach Your Goals

5 Reasons Why You Don’t Reach Your Goals

[5 Reasons Why You Don’t Reach Your Goals – Part 1]

5-reasons-why-you-dont-reach-your-goals-part-1

Every quarter is a fresh start with new goals. You have good intentions to be more organised and smash your goals until…

  • an angry customer calls because she didn’t receive her order
  • a project is running late
  • a key supplier is off sick or
  • a family emergency pops up.

Then all the planned goals fly out the window and you’re back in the same old rut you were stuck in last year and last quarter.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Studies in both Australia and the US have found that on average close to 60% of people have given up on the goals they set 6 months earlier.

.

And only 8% of people achieve their goals in a year.

.

These statistics correlate with ASIC’s (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) findings that one of the main reasons 60% of small businesses close their doors within the first few years, is because business owners have no clear plan or they get stuck in the daily running of the business and don’t execute the plan.

After years of helping leaders and small business owners to be more productive and profitable, and after seeing the same challenges tripping people up, I’ve put together the top 5 reasons why you don’t reach your goals and surefire ways to fix it.

.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY

.

5 REASONS WHY YOU DON’T REACH YOUR GOALS

alicia-menkveld-point-1a

YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING

In 2017 I’ve decided to climb my first mountain ever – Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

Like any mountain, Table Mountain has many peaks with many different routes, but before starting out I had to choose one specific peak I wanted to reach which determined which route I had to climb.

If I didn’t choose a specific peak to climb who knows where I could’ve ended up?

It’s the same at work and in business. At the beginning of a year, you have to decide which peak(s) you’ll climb this year and that will determine the route(s) you’ll take to get there.

.

The peak you choose to climb determines the route you’ll take to get there.

.

You can have 2-3 Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) for the year but realistically you can’t achieve more than 1 BIG goal per quarter (especially without a team).

And that’s why you need to be super clear at the beginning of the year about where you want to end the year, to be able to choose the correct strategies or routes to get there every quarter.

Part of the problem is that we suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) – we’re afraid that we’ll miss out on other exciting things if we commit to only one BIG goal every 90 days, so we take on too many goals at once and set ourselves up for failure.

We also seriously underestimate the various everyday competing priorities we have to deal with and overestimate our available time, energy and willpower in a day.

We start enthusiastic but get overwhelmed, start procrastinating and panicking and that’s when things start falling through the cracks.

And instead of reviewing our results and changing strategies, we simply work harder and in the process we neglect our health, relationships and sanity. Then we end the quarter or a year, disappointed that despite all our effort and sacrifice, we haven’t reached our goals!

But we set ourselves up for failure from the start when we decided to climb more than one peak at a time.
.

HOW TO DO THIS BETTER
.blog-image-key-ideas1
.

#1 BE CLEAR ABOUT WHERE YOU’RE GOING

Look at all your family and work commitments and choose the 2-3 BHAGs that will make the biggest impact at work or in your business this year.

Then choose one life goal and one business goal to work on for the next 90 days that will move you closer to one of your annual BHAGs.
.

#2 STAY FOCUSED

Focus all your actions and resources on that area for a full quarter. Set specific milestones that will indicate progress and tweak the results as you go.

.

alicia-menkveld-point-2a

YOU DON’T HAVE A CLEAR PLAN

.

There is a huge difference between climbing Mount Everest (8,848m) or Table Mountain (1,085m) and climbing the Perth Hills where I live.

You’ll approach the preparation and climb for each mountain very differently. You’ll need different levels of fitness, different equipment and for Everest, you’ll even need guides to help you summit.

If you don’t have a clear plan of how you’ll train to climb the mountain, what you’ll need, who will help you and how you’ll approach the climb you might end up seriously injured or even dead!

So the second reason why we don’t reach our goals at work and life is because we don’t plan for success.

Just like mountains, different goals require different tools, skills, resources and investments – whether it be time, money or energy.
.

HOW TO DO THIS BETTER
.
blog-image-key-ideas1 .

#1 WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” as Antoine De Saint-Exupery said, so get your goals out of your head and write them down.

Then break them down into smaller steps to identify what needs to happen first, second, third. Track your progress and tweak as you go.
.

#2 KEEP YOUR GOALS VISIBLE

Put your quarterly goals where you can see them daily in your office. For personal goals put stick them on the fridge, bathroom mirror or use a vision statement or board.

Research has shown that those who keep their goals to themselves are 64% more likely to fail than people who share their goals. So share your goals with a work colleague, your team, partner, friends, family and even on social media for additional accountability.

.

In the next blog post – Part 2 – we’ll look at the last 3 reasons why people don’t reach their goals.

In the mean time, you can read about the 7 Essential Planning Questions for 2019 blog post by clicking the link. I cover the seven key areas you need to think about and plan for if you want to achieve your goals in 2019.

You can also download your own customisable 90-Day Action Plan around these seven areas and start planning for the next quarter.

.

7-planning-questions-blog-opt-in-am.com

 

.

QUESTION:

Share with me what one of the peaks are that you’re climbing this year. Leave your comment below.

.

#practicalproductivity
Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Alicia is an award-winning consultant, trainer and speaker for the last 19 years. She’s an authority and trusted adviser to many leaders, teams and small business owners in the areas of leadership, team performance, productivity and bravery.  Alicia has a simple but powerful message: Do Less, Better. She loves to travel and have lived and worked in South Africa, the UK and Australia.

7 Key Planning Questions for 2019

7 Key Planning Questions for 2019

7-key-planning-questions-2019

One of my coaching clients, Caroline, is not a happy camper. Twelve months ago she organised a stunning off-site planning get-away for her and her small team of 4 staff members. The goal was map out their operational plan for the next year.

One year later when she reviewed the planning document they produced, she was shocked to learn that the numbers were disappointing and several goals haven’t been reached.

In their book, The Balanced Scorecard, authors David Norton and Robert Kaplan found that a staggering 90% of companies fail to execute their strategies successfully. This includes large organisations and small businesses alike.

ASIC has found that one of the main reasons 60% of small businesses close their doors within the first few years, is because business owners have no clear plan or they get stuck in the daily running of the business and don’t execute their plan.

This is what happened to Caroline and her team. They created a plan but put it on the shelf as the daily operations consumed them. Putting your plan on the shelf is as bad as not writing a plan at all.

.

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. 
~ THOMAS EDISON

.

Just wanting something isn’t enough. Creating a plan and executing it, takes discipline as you’re bound to encounter challenges along the way.

After years of helping leaders and small businesses simplify their strategy and planning processes and hearing the same questions time and time again, I decided to put together 7 Essential Planning Questions around the seven areas of a high performing business for 2019.

.

7 ESSENTIAL PLANNING QUESTIONS FOR 2019

I cover each of the 7 Essential Planning Questions in depth in the download below AND you’ll also get your own customisable 90-Day Action Plan around these 7 areas.

.

7-planning-questions-blog-opt-in-am.com

 

.

QUESTION:

How often do you and your team have a planning meeting? Leave your comment below.

.

#practicalproductivity
Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD Alicia is an award-winning consultant, trainer and speaker for the last 19 years. She’s an authority and trusted adviser to many leaders, teams and small business owners in the areas of  leadership, team performance, productivity and bravery. Alicia has a simple but powerful message: Do Less, Better. She loves to travel with her husband and lived in South Africa, the UK and Australia to date.

5 Steps To Improve Your Quoting Process

5 Steps To Improve Your Quoting Process

5-steps-to-improve-your-quoting-process

If your business is constantly hitting bottlenecks or dead ends when it comes to quoting, it’s time to look at your processes as it will save you daily frustration and hours of wasted time.

In previous posts we spoke about the difference between systems and processes and how to create business systems for a new product launch.

Leads, sales and customers can easily fall through the cracks if we don’t have the right processes and systems in place and your business won’t thrive.

.

Business processes don’t happen by accident. It takes practice to get it right and they need constant tweaking. 

.

INEFFICIENT BUSINESS PROCESSES WILL CAUSE…

  • Bottlenecks
  • Delays
  • Loss of sales
  • Duplication of work
  • Communication breakdowns
  • Dissatisfied customers and staff, and
  • Potential legal issues.

.

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

~ W. EDWARDS DEMING

.

alicia-menkveld-point-1a

HOW QUOTING IS DONE IN MOST COMPANIES

Let’s say you have a web design, copywriting, photography, virtual assistant or any other services-based company.

You received a request in your inbox from a potential customer who are interested in your services. They want more information and a quote on a specific package.

You need to deal with the request and send out a quote to the customer.

This is an example of what the process flowchart for quoting can look like. Yours can be different as every business operates differently.

.

quoting-process-flowchart

OK let’s look at what happened here:

STEP #1 – WEBSITE

A customer browsed your website and a website form has been completed to start the request process.

There a 2 options:

  1. You have a generic “Contact Us” form on your website where you get a name, email, telephone number and a short generic message OR
    .
  2. You have a form that’s linked to a specific product/service on a specific page with a few additional questions in a drop down box, so you can get the best possible information to prepare a quote with, without having to contact them first.
    .

STEP #2 – PEOPLE

The enquiry is received via email by yourself or a staff member while you’re busy dealing with other important things. A note is made to deal with it later or it’s simply left in the inbox to come back to it later.

.

STEP #3 – POSSIBLE PROBLEMS

  1. The day stays busy and no one deals with the request till the next day or late that night.
  2. If more than 1 person is involved in the process, Person A can assume Person B is dealing with it (or visa versa) and no one deals with it.
  3. Both people involved in the process deal with the request and try to contact the potential customer/ lead.
  4. The request is remembered, but when the potential customer/ lead is called, they are not available so a voicemail is left.

.

STEP #4 – POSSIBLE OUTCOMES

  1. The potential customer/ lead has found another supplier by the time you get back to them.
  2. Nothing is done as everyone assumes the other person dealt with it and now a lead and possible sale is lost OR
  3. Both contacts deal with the request and confuse the potential customer/ lead, especially if the message or pricing differs.
  4. Telephone tag is played for several hours or days until you speak to each other OR
  5. You phone and get hold of the potential customer/ lead, you discuss their needs and promise a quote (with or without a timeframe).

.

STEP #5 – QUOTE = MONEY IN THE BANK, RIGHT?

  1. A quote is prepared.
  2. The quote is sent to the potential customer/ lead within 1-2 days from the first time the request has been received.
    .

2 POSSIBLE OUTCOMES:

  1. You never hear back from the potential customer/ lead.
  2. The quote is accepted.

.

IF YOU DON’T HEAR BACK, 2 THINGS CAN HAPPEN:

  1. Nothing happens – you don’t hear back AND you don’t follow up because you’re too busy or you forget OR
  2. You don’t hear back and you DO follow up.

In the second option, you get another opportunity to answer any questions or objections, make a sale or at the very least you’ll learn why they didn’t accept your quote so you can improve your product or service.

.

STEP #6 – OPERATIONS

IF the quote has been accepted, the following will happen:

  1. Create an account or invoice depending on your business model
  2. Check availability for services and timelines for the requested products from your inventory and communicate any issues
  3. Prepare the order
  4. Deliver the order
  5. Issue the final invoice (if applicable)
  6. Follow up on payment if it’s not received within terms stated.

.

This is where the process stops for most businesses. Be smart and make more money than your competition.

.

alicia-menkveld-point-2a

5 STEPS TO IMPROVE A YOUR QUOTING PROCESS

.

At least this company HAS a process, so that’s a great start!

However, you can clearly see all the inefficiencies in their quoting process like the bottlenecks, delays, potential loss of sales, duplication of work, potential for communications breakdowns and disappointed customers.

So let’s look at how you can improve your quoting process:

.

STEP #1 – WEBSITE
.

Ensure:

  1. The form is linked to a specific Quotes Page VS a generic form on the Contact Us Page. Get a name, email and telephone number at a bare minimum.
    .
  2. You get as much specific information about their needs as possible e.g. which products/services they’re interested in, quantity required, by when it’s need it, budget available and anything else relevant to your business.

Give a preliminary estimation from the info they provided, if possible.

Use the information they provided to be better prepared for the call, by having the right product/service info and pricing available when speaking to the potential customer/ lead.

Include any suggestions of other products your business offers that the potential customer/ lead might need. Think about Amazon’s suggestions “You might also like…”. 

Great questions to include in your website form:

“Where did you hear about us?”

“When is a good time for us to call you?” or have an online calendar link where they can book themselves in for a call with you.

.

STEP #2 + #3 – PEOPLE + PROBLEMS
.

  1. Create an automated email reply to the enquiry form to notify the customer that the enquiry has been received and give them an indication of when they can expect to hear back from you.
    .
  2. If you are the only person dealing with enquiries, set up your email so that all enquiries go directly to a dedicated folder in your inbox. Plan your day to ensure you check this folder at least 3 times a day and have time to deal with enquiries.
    .
  3. If there are more than one person dealing with enquiries use a system that can track who dealt with the enquiry and when it happened, to avoid any duplication. Set it up that if one team member cannot reply within a set time, then the enquiry will be passed on to the next available team member who can respond.
    .
  4. Voicemail – Call but don’t leave messages as they can be can be lost or missed. Instead set a reminder and call back again in 10-20 mins or in the dedicated times you planned for. Never leave it up to a customer to call you back.

.

STEP #4 – POSSIBLE OUTCOMES
.

  1. They already found another supplier: Improve your business’ response time immediately. Ask them politely to share with you the reason why they chose the other supplier. Use any information to improve your products/ services.
    .
  2. You got hold of them and speak to them about their needs: Really listen what they need instead of only trying to sell your stuff. Ask for any details that will help you serve them better e.g. their timelines, etc. Have they also considered XYZ and upsell them on any other items your business offers.
    .
  3. Quote: Get all the details needed to prepare the quote, say by when they can expect the quote and stick to that time.

.

STEP #5 – QUOTE = MONEY, RIGHT?
.

  1. Quote: Always try and send out the quote before the deadline you promised it by, as this sets the tone for the relationship.
    .
  2. Follow-up: Always follow up! Contact the potential customer/ lead the day after the quote was sent to confirm it has been received (emails get lost in junk folders). If they have time to talk, ask if they have any questions or need more information on the products/services, pricing or timelines. Then close the sale.
    .
  3. They aren’t interested: Be brave and ask why not, in a friendly, non-threatening way. What can you do better next time to win their business?
    .
  4. Regardless of the outcome, ask their permission to add them to your mailing list for future promotions, announcements of new products/ services or events as it can lead to future sales. If they’ve had a pleasant experience with you there is no reason why they should object.

.

STEP #6 – OPERATIONS
.

  1. Create Account/ Invoice: If you often have to chase payments start invoicing 50% upfront before any further work is done and then 50% before delivery.
    .
  2. Communicate often. Whether there are problems or not, keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis and let them know how their order or project progresses, what the next step in the process is and manage their expectations. People are far more understanding of delays or mishaps if you’ve been in touch throughout the process.
    .
  3. Orders: Always try and deliver the order before the promised deadline as it’s bound to wow your customer, lead to more sales + better Word-of-Mouth (WOM) for your business. If you run into problems, see point #2 above.
    .
  4. AFTER CARE:* Most businesses don’t give their customers a second thought the moment the order has been delivered. This is your most important time to make an impression and stand out from the crowd.
    .
  5. Add all details to your database and set a follow-up date in the future 2-3 months from now to call them.

.

*AFTER-CARE QUESTIONS TO ASK:

// Was everything as expected?

// Were they happy with the customer service?

// Any suggestions for improvement?

// How likely are they to recommend you to other?

// Who else do you know that you can refer me to?

// Will it be OK with you if I touch base in 2 months’ time?

.

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

// Get their feedback over the phone and use it as a testimonial (with their permission). Record the feedback call and then get it transcribed. Then use the testimonial in your marketing material.

// Always ask for MORE BUSINESS – who else do they know that you can talk to and do they themselves need anything else?

alicia-menkveld-point-3a

 YOUR TURN

.

Create or refine your quoting process in your business.

.

QUESTION:

Do you have a documented quoting process in your business? Leave your comment below.

.

#smallbusinesssuccessskills
Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

Bad Business Habits (Part 2) Procrastination

Bad Business Habits (Part 2) Procrastination

bad-business-habits-procrastination.

We went into business to be our own boss, earn more money and have the lifestyle we only dreamed about while working for someone else. However, most business owners I speak to complain about:

  • working longer hours than they ever imagined
  • always having a fire to fight
  • worrying where the next customer and dollar will come from
  • missing out on events and having very little to no free time.
    .

I find that it’s our bad business habits that get in the way of having a successful business and another bad habit is procrastination – a slow but lethal business and dream-killer.

.
PROCRASTINATION 

.
When it comes to bad business habits, not doing anything or consistently choosing to do the wrong tasks, are just as bad as chasing too many rabbits which was also covered in the bad business habits series.

When we procrastinate on the important but non-urgent tasks in our business, it’s normally because we’re afraid.

Deep down, we know the task will help us get more clients, make more money, set us free or help us to be seen, but:

  • we’re afraid of the consequences of taking the action – fear of failure and fear of success OR
  • we dislike doing the task or find it boring like accounting OR
  • we don’t know how to do the task, so we put it off.
    .

Whether we stay busy with the wrong things, do too many things at once or do nothing… the results are always the same. We’re left disappointed in ourselves for not reaching our goals, growing our business or starting to live our dream.
.

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” 

~ CHRISTOPHER PARKER

.

Bad Business Habits (Part 2) Procrastination

alicia-menkveld-point-1a

TRACK YOUR TRIGGERS

.
Procrastination can be triggered by any task that scares you on some level e.g.

You may dread:

  • making follow-up calls to potential clients
  • calling a client when a problem arises
  • developing a new product or service
  • preparing quotes
  • doing marketing
  • making sales calls
  • reaching out for help…

So instead of doing the tasks that will grow your business, you do low-level tasks that keep you busy, but also stuck.

Start tracking what triggers your procrastination habits over the next week or month to look for patterns in your behaviour. Once you know this, you can start working on a solution.blog-image-key-ideas1

You can:

  • outsource the task
  • learn the skills needed to perform the task with confidence and ease e.g. enrolling in sales training or engaging a consultant to help you with a specific business area like marketing
  • get accountability to keep you on track – get a buddy or a business coach
  • face the underlying fears that keep you from doing the task e.g work on your mindset to address a fear of failure or success.
    .
Popular go-to procrastination habits are checking email, scrolling social media or having a meeting.

.alicia-menkveld-point-2a

KNOW YOUR EXCUSES

.
Business owners justify their compulsive checking of email and social media feeds by saying “my customers need me”.

Yes, your customers do need you to…

  • communicate a problem on a project
  • communicate an extended deadline
  • send them the quote you said you’ll send ASAP
  • improve your customer service, and
  • improve your products or services.

Over the next 30 days, identify when and how you tend to procrastinate when you’re trying to do important work. Notice the excuses you use to justify your behaviour to yourself or to others.blog-image-key-ideas1

Remember, by not doing the important work in your business, you hurt your confidence and your business.

  • Note the tasks you struggle to get done
  • Pinpoint your go-to procrastination habits when you face these tasks
  • Come up with a few simple steps to help you overcome the urge to procrastinate
  • Schedule enough time to get the tasks done each day
  • Remove all temptations when you sit down to do the work e.g. turn off all notifications during this time.
    .

CLARIFYING QUESTIONS – ASK YOURSELF:

  • Which tasks do I regularly avoid doing on a daily/ weekly basis?
  • What is my go-to procrastination habit when I’m faced with a difficult task?
  • What steps will I put in place to curb this bad habit?

.

QUESTION:
.
What is your Top Tip for overcoming procrastination? Leave your comment below.
.
#smallbusinesssuccessskills
Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

How Productive Are You At Work?

How Productive Are You At Work?

track-your-time-at-work

 

We’re notoriously bad at estimating time. We underestimate how long something will take to do and overestimate how much time we have to do it… a deadly mistake.

The livelihood of your business depends on you being able to estimate how much time you and your team spend on work tasks.

.

Most humans can’t estimate their time accurately. This is why enjoyable events seem short and the boring ones seem to last forever.

~ TOGGL.COM

.

THE FACTS

.

A McKinsey&Company study of 1,500 executes (General Managers or above) across the globe have found that only 9% of respondents were ‘very satisfied’ with the way they spent their time.

Close to a third were ‘actively dissatisfied’.

More shockingly, nearly 50% admitted that they weren’t concentrating enough on the strategic direction of the business.

After speaking to hundreds of business owners, I’d say that nearly 8 out of 10 business owners are not paying enough attention to the strategic direction of their business or planning their success each year.

When was the last time you thought about the type of projects you want to spend your time on or how many hours a week you would like to work?

You can’t effectively calculate how many hours you want to work, if you don’t even know how long it takes you and/or your team to complete a task or project.
.

“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”

~ PETER DRUCKER

.

Businesses have feast and famine cycles because business owners don’t know how long things take them to do.

They get stuck in the cycle of drumming up business and then having so much work that they can’t keep up… Then they’re left with no time to do marketing, sales and follow-ups calls, until they hit the next bust cycle.

This happens because they:
.

  • don’t know how long it takes to get a new client
  • don’t know how long client projects really take to be completed
  • don’t factor in how long ‘marketing activities take to kick in’ and they wait until clients have dried up
  • don’t schedule weekly time in their diaries to do the important money-making activities in their business.

.
Business owners who start tracking their work hours are normally shocked by how little time they spend on high impact activities that make money or move the business forward.
.

EXAMPLE:

Let’s say you want to sign up 1 new client per week.
.

1. Is that a realistic goal for your business and the industry you work in?

In some industries it can take 8-12 months to sign up a new client which means you’ll need to work this into your strategic planning for the year. On the other hand, you could have a business where 100 customers a week is the norm.
.

2. Do you know which 2-3 activities will bring in a new client/customer each week for your business?

This is not about trends or what works for other people, it’s about what works for you.

Is it: Paid online advertising like Facebook Ads, phone calls, your Instagram account, building relationships with the right suppliers, your online or brick and mortar shop, speaking at events, print advertising or even radio/ TV advertising?
.

3. How much time do you need to devote to these activities every week to be successful?

Well that will depend on how long it takes you from start to finish to sign up new clients – is it 5 hours, 3 days, a week or perhaps 8 months? Your approach would be very different for each.

These are the things you need to know if you want to stop the boom and bust cycles in your business. So where do you spend your time at work – is it on firefighting, admin, managing staff, operations, procrastination or business development?

Let’s find out.

.

Track Your Time At Work 

alicia-menkveld-point-1a

THE EXERCISE
.

Tracking your time for a week but ideally one month will help you understand:

  • how you use your time at work
  • when you’re most productive
  • how ‘dead’ time zones occur and how to fix it.

.
You might think you’re working as productively as you can, but many factors influence the time we take to do something e.g. energy levels, illness, stress, the environment, willpower and of course interruptions.
.

Do you know how long it takes you to:

  • make follow-up calls with potential customers who previously requested information or quotes
  • contact existing clients for referrals
  • prepare and send out a quote or proposal
  • create a marketing email to clients
  • prepare for and have a client meeting?

Make it your mission to find out this week.

.

THIS EXERCISE WILL PRODUCE SURPRISING RESULTS:
.

#1 Start today and have a look at currently scheduled activities in your diary for the day + week.

#2 Edit each calendar entry for the week by adding how long you think the activity will take you to complete e.g. Meeting with Edward (150 min or 2hrs 30min) – include preparation time, travel time + actual meeting time.

#3 Decide how will you track your time e.g. pen + paper, excel spreadsheet or time tracking app. Don’t spend hours researching all the time management apps available, it defeats the purpose!

Keep it simple by downloading our time tracking template (in Excel) or sign up for the free version of Toggl or TrackingTime.

I personally use Toggl and it took me less than 5 minutes to sign up and get started. It tracks activities in real time or if you forgot to start the timer, you can later add the time manually. Both desktop and smart phone versions are available.

#4 Track your time daily for at least one week to get a grip on your time patterns. Work in 30 minute increments.

Don’t get hung up on tracking exact minutes when you do it manually – rough estimates are fine. You might be off by minutes but certainly not hours, which is still better than not tracking your time at all.

#5 At the end of a day compare what you’ve planned to do and the time you’ve allocated for the activity VS what actually happened.

Now we can start making informed decisions and tweak your behavior daily for better results.

 

5-steps-to-track-your-time-at-work/

EXAMPLE TIME TRACKER IN EXCEL

 

alicia-menkveld-point-2a

 PICK UP THE TRENDS

.

Once you tracked your days for about a week it’s easy to spot trends in how you spend your days.
.

CLARIFYING QUESTIONS

.
By looking at your results over the last week:

  • On a scale of 1-10 how happy are you with the way you spent your time?
    (1 = lowest, 10 = highest)
  • Where was time wasted? 
    (note the times + the specific activities)
  • When were you super focused and got a lot done in a short period of time?
    (note the times + the specific activities)
  • How much did you stray from your planned activities?
    (hardly at all, only a few times, all the time)
  • What were the main causes for this to have happened?
    (distractions, firefighting, admin, staff, operations, procrastination)
  • Which activities didn’t get done at all?
    (reasons for this)
  • What will you start doing next week?
    (changes to improve)
  • What will you stop doing next week? 
    (changes to improve)

Answering the above questions will help you become aware of your energy cycles and the tasks you love to do and avoid to do.

This will help you to plan your days around your most productive hours where you do your best work in the shortest period of time and help you start noticing the tasks you dislike doing or procrastinate on doing.

.blog-image-key-ideas1

WHAT TO DO NEXT
.

  • Create blocks of 1-4 hours of uninterrupted work-time every day around your most productive hours.  Use this time to focus on high level business activities that bring in money, tasks that require problem solving or creative output and important meetings.
    .
  • Leave low level activities that require less intensive focus like admin or website updates for low-energy times.
    .
  • Identify major distractions (staff walking in with questions), unplanned crisis (IT failure) and time-wasters (checking social media) and create processes or systems to help you better manage your time.

Once you start recognising and replacing bad habits, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to your working week, your levels of happiness and to your bottom line.
.

QUESTION:
.
What was your biggest realization when you started tracking your time? Leave your comment below.
.
#smallbusinesssuccessskills
Alicia-MenkveldAuthor: ALICIA MENKVELD  Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.

GET IN TOUCH

P: 0425 177 897
E: alicia[at]aliciamenkveld.com

Connect With Me