‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 48

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 48 – I have a list of my top 10 productivity related tasks

We’re all busy; even busier these days so it seems, but are you in business or busyness?

It’s very easy to fill our days with non-productive tasks.  Be honest, those tasks such as checking your social media to see who’s doing what; and the internet for how well your team did over the weekend.  Those tasks offer little return to the business, even if they are enjoyable, they don’t bring in cash to the business or get the business moving forward.

When you know your most productive tasks, you can decide which to concentrate on.

If I had a pound for every time someone said to me that they would be concentrating on the key business generating tasks that day; who, when asked to confirm what they had achieved, would look slightly embarrassed and admit they got distracted…. well you know I’d be even more wealthy than I am now.

The HowTo bit:

Let’s keep things simple and start with the list of your productivity related tasks.

As per the previous post ‘HowTo 47’, I enter all my tasks onto the spreadsheet.  For this exercise I use the same spreadsheet and have added another column to list the productivity score which give me the best return for my efforts.

Then it’s a simple exercise of sorting the list to show the highest score in descending order.  From here I pick the top 10 I’m going to focus on.

If you would like hand working out your productivity related tasks; and/or how to work out your productivity, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 47

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 47 – I have a list of my top 10 – Stressful tasks

What you enjoy doing gets done.  That’s the usual way of things.

I’ve found that clients have often been struggling with getting the hard stuff done.  Do you put something off until it absolutely has to be done?  It’s often when the outcome of not getting something done is worse than finally completing the task.

Before we start looking for strategies for how to deal with the stressful tasks, you need to make a list.

The HowTo Bit:

Over a week/month, make a note of all the tasks that you find stressful.   When you have your list, list them in ‘headache’ order.

I find that this best done with a nice coffee and a piece of cake; anything that you find pleasant and relaxing.  I make the list on a spreadsheet and then put my ‘stress factor’ against each (1 to n).  Pick your top 10, then sort them on the spreadsheet. This way you can see clearly which are the biggest headache to you.

I’ve found that just by having a list helps me to focus.  The key is to work on defining strategies on how to make the tasks less stressful.  Then implement your approach for reducing the stress levels on each task.  This could also be by delegating them when appropriate.

If you would like help working out your top 10 stressful tasks, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 46

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 46 – I have a list of my top 10 – time consuming tasks

It’s often when we feel that we are at our busiest that we think we haven’t got enough time to do the important things in our business. There often seems to be so many tasks and people competing for our attention.

The best way to take back control of our time is to define what tasks are using up most of our day.  Better to understand what is receiving most attention.

Just start by making a list.  Sounds simple enough.

The HowTo Bit:

To make the list of your top 10 time consuming tasks, you first need to understand what tasks you carry out during your day/week/month.

Make a list of all the tasks you undertake, and how long you are working on them.  Do this for each day, for a whole month.

This way, you will be able to understand how much time you have worked at each task.

I use a simple spreadsheet to record all the tasks.  This allows for a data sort using ‘time’ as the key.  This will give you a list of your top 10 tasks by time.  For the daily recording, the template I can share has areas to capture further information that will be useful for a more detailed analysis of your time data.

If you would like a copy of the template to record your time for daily tasks, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 45

Who controls your financials?

Chapter 2 – Financial Control – Rule your money

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 45 – My quarterly and annual filings are on time each quarter

Do you run an organised business and get your filings done on time?  Why would it matter if you were late?

For a start, it may well cost you quite a bit in fines from HMRC.

The more important thing is that it would indicate to me, or anyone else looking, that you are not in charge, or on top of, running your business.

When you have a well organised business, you and your team can concentrate on the income generating tasks.

The HowTo bit:

It may seem ridiculously simplistic to say, schedule the actions to get your returns back on time, in your diary.  But in reality, that should be all it takes.

I put trigger dates in my diary for all my bookkeeping and accountant related tasks.  I make sure that my accountant has all my financials in plenty of time for them to get the filing done.

Make sure your accountant has arranged, and carried out, the filings.  That way you won’t get caught out.  Even though you have an accountant, in the eyes of HMRC, it is the business owner who is responsible for making the filings on time.

If you would like to find out about getting your business organised, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 44

Who controls your financials?

Chapter 2 – Financial Control – Rule your money

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 44 – I use my financial reports so I can make decisions on the future of my business

So you’ve collected all the financial figures of your business, by following the previous ‘chapter 2’ st of blogs, what you do next will make collecting them worthwhile.

When you know what to expect, you can make changes to how you are running your business and see the results. You can see how well that bit of marketing paid off. You can understand whether your cash is flowing efficiently and that you are managing it well. Plus all the numbers that drive your business choices.

The HowTo bit:

The key is to be consistent with producing and using the reports. With the build up of your numbers, you are able to check like for like over time.

Define your map of numbers and create a dashboard. This can be on a spreadsheet or a more comprehensive tool.

It is best to automate the report creation process; if not, then make sure you stick your pre-determined schedule and report model and load the numbers manually.

Have a plan of what you will do with the information you get. No point having numbers and not making use of them.

If you would like assistance in setting up your reporting process, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 43

Who controls your financials?

Chapter 2 – Financial Control – Rule your money

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 43 – I can predict my future profits

Before they become clients, and see how to can be done, many people say to me… ‘how can you predict profits Alex?’

I’m tempted to say that I have a crystal ball and can see the future. The boring bit is that it’s not actually difficult to get a good handle on what’s coming down the line.

It all depends on how well you understand the effectiveness of your marketing and sales process; and the effort you are expanding to deliver to a set of known statists relating to your business.

The HowTo bit:

Pull together the following from your company records

Your last years trading income and costs – by week/month depending on the granularity that suits your business best. Create a line graph showing income by week/month. This will show the trends over the year; if your business is seasonal, this is an important trend to understand.

Create a graph of marketing effort verses results of sales for that marketing; again by week/month. This shows you when your efforts resulted in sales.

When you know you stats from the previous year, you will be able to build a prediction model. This can be on a spreadsheet or a financial planning tool.

so, if you want more sales/income, then you will need to increase the front end marketing and sales effort.

It sounds simple, and in some ways it is. Actually getting to the point where you have the model takes a bit of effort.  Imagine how useful it would be if you knew what your business would look like in the future? Imagine knowing how many team members you’d need and how much income you could expect.

If you would like help in setting up your prediction model, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 42

Who controls your financials?

Chapter 2 – Financial Control – Rule your money

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 42 – I regularly review my P&L position … daily weekly monthly

So you know your Profit and Loss (P&L) situation from the accounts your accountant gave you for your last trading year. Now you know how well you did?!?

Well, know how well you did for a specific point last year. What about how well you’re doing against your targets this year?

I find many Small (and some not so small) companies that do not know what’s going on this year, let alone this month, week or day.

If you want to be in charge of your financials rather than try to operate on last year’s figures, you need to have a regular review process in place.

It’s not difficult, it just needs discipline to keep doing it.

The reason why it’s helpful to know your P&L position is that you can use the data in a timely manner to decide if you are on track or need to make changes to how your business is operating.

The HowTo bit:

First thing is to work out a schedule for reviewing your P&L. This depends on the size and speed of your business. For most companies, a monthly detailed review should work well; and not be too burdensome. A daily or weekly review of the high level numbers, especially when making a good number of transactions a day, will keep you aware of what is happening and highlight where changes/corrections/amendments are required.

If you have the tools, set up an automatic reporting system, showing detailed sales, detailed cost of goods sold, gross profit, detailed operating costs and net profit… before interest and tax. This can be done manually, just takes a bit more effort.

The key is to run the process at the same points in the monthly business cycle to see what is happening with your business. This will then be used to drive change or continuation of your current business processes.

If you would like further information on how to set up your P&L review process, Contact Us

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