Here`s my .02 cents, for what it`s worth
I think a lot of it has more to do with poor time management skills.
For most small business owners, they`re simply isn`t enough time in the day. But, if you learn how to use your time more wisely, you actually create more time (get more done, with less time ----- thus having more time left to do more).
Dr. Edward Kramer said it best, "Eliminate the time between the idea and the act, and your dreams will become realities."
Ooops....something just came up, so I won`t be able to go into detail as much as I like, but I`ll come back and post the following.
But in the interim, here are a few things we all can do to buy a few more hours out of the day...
Check email once a day - select a time out of the day you`ll check email and stick with it. Small business owners find themselves peeking in the email several times an hour, and before you know, you`ve probably spent 3-5 hours in the email. For instance, if you dedicate 3 p.m. (and gave yourself only 1 hour), most of the replies and messages could all be done within that hour.
Guess what, you bought yourself an extra 2-4 hours per day (20 hrs in a week). Guess how much time could be saved if you hired an assistant to check mail, and he/she will only forward to you whats necessary.....it`ll take some time to get him/her trained to screen your messages, but you`ll also get more time.
The telephone --- don`t answer it! Pay someone else to answer it. There are plenty of order taking services who will learn your script, FAQs and everything. Yes, it may cost you money, but how much are you losing by answering your phone when you should be working "ON" your business? When you get calls that must be returned by you, dedicate a certain time when you`ll call back...maybe even only schedule 3 days out of the week when you`ll return calls back. Guess what happens...you get more time.
The cell phone....As Dan Kennedy once said, "this has got to be the most evil invention ever created" Folks feel like they MUST answer it when it rings...some people can`t even go to the toilet without having to yack on that device.
Get rid of the cell phone...don`t believe me? Look at your phone bill and convert the monthly minutes into hours. Some of you will be amazed at how many hours you spent on the phone yacking about nothing....if those 14 hours of cell time didn`t produce any income for your business, you`re guilty of wasting time.
Create a schedule for each hour of the day..
Here`s a brief view of mine.
I don`t wake up till 8:30 a.m. (unless one of the kids wake me up first).
9:00 (i check & reply to all email - I dedicate 1 hour)
10:00 (1 hour devoted to writing -- I`m writing a new book)
11:00 (1 hour coaching session)
12:00 (lunchtime 45 minutes to an hour)
1:00 (I watch All My Children -- my favorite soap opera...I got hooked by watching with my mom when I was younger, old habits still remain).
2:15 (1 hour coaching session)
After 3:15 p.m., I`m free to do whatever, I generally work on side projects and play with the kids.
I follow this schedule 4 days out of the week(some days, I don`t have coaching sessions).
One day out of the week I spend 4 hours on marketing/advertising the business. That day is typically on Monday (from 9:00 a.m. 12:00) and I do another hour at 2:00 p.m., and then an hour for emails.
Most of my calls are routed to an order taking service.
I have about 10 different internet biz projects going on, but someone else manages the entire operation and I just collect a check each month. I`m not good with the details of running a day-to-day operation, but the partner I`m with is excellent with that.
I`ll generally get the new business venture started and to the point where revenue is generated and then I turn it over to him. Which he`s good at creating systems, and he eventually pulls out of it because now we`ll bring on employees to run the system.
One day out the month, I`ll spend a few hours reviewing reports/stats, etc...but thats it. Most everything I do can be done remotely. I can stay gone for months and can still operate my business without missing a beat.
Systems must be created. Being self-employed is similar to being an employee. You`re trading time for hours and if you`re not working, you`re not making money. I learned that lesson when I was laid up in the hospital for nearly a week. Almost lost it all as a result of not having a system to run my business. Took me one time to learn.
Anyhow, I gotta run for now, but I`ll continue later.
(And yes..I know it`s 1:30 a.m. at night and what does my time management schedule say about that? Well, I generally take November 15th - January 1st off each year, with the exceptions of my coaching program).
Plus...my wife is in the last stages of her pregnancy and she snores like hell...so I stay up as late as possible now so I can almost "literally" passout once I climb up the stairs and into the bed...at that point, the snoring won`t even phase me:
And with child # 4 being on the way, I`m trying to get as much done as possible before she arrives...
I`ll finish later.
this thread can be summed up in one word : TUGG
It comes down to rules, training, leadership procedures and culture.
Think about the haphazard hunters that wander off in a different direction every day. They don’t know what they will hunt or how many they will bag.
Then comes the rules. They realize that they only seem to catch the ducks around the swamp and never in the scrub. OK they are never going hunting for ducks anywhere but the swamp, anybody who does otherwise get the evil eye.
So they now have a rule for hunting ducks that increases their chances of finding what they want.
Suddenly they realise that Ugg knows that rule but Fugg still hunts for ducks in the scrub. Eventually Ugg tells Fugg to not go in the scrub thus they now know about training.
Then one day Smugg realises that Fugg forgot to train Lugg the son of Ugg to hunt correctly so Smugg reminds Fugg to tell Lugg to not hunt in the scrub, thus giving rise to Smugg the first leader to them all.
Now Smugg is no Mugg and can never remember if it was Ugg or Lug who shouldn’t hunt in the scrub so poor Mugg is left to write down all the rules passed by Smug for Lugg, Ugg and Fugg. Thus the first systems analyst is a poor old Mugg.
Then under Smugg happily go Ugg, Fugg Lugg son of Ugg and Poor old Mugg. They know the rules and abide by them every day thus they realise the benefits of a culture.
By now they all benefit from the rules and leadership of Smugg they spend less time wandering about thanks to the training of Ugg and with all the rules written down by Mugg they now can always tell what is the best thing to do, at the best time in the best way. And they find that they have so much time to sit around and play scrabble.
Everything went so well that they decided to name their town Tugg.