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Small Fish - Small Business Tips and the Latest News

Managing Competing Priorities

One of the greatest problems that small business owners face is working out where to focus their limited time.

It seems that the list of jobs that need to be done is endless and our time is limited.

Often, we set aside the time to work on the business, then “stuff happens”. We get distracted from our obligations so that we can put out spot fires.

The truth is, it becomes easy to focus on the next problem, rather than finding solutions to stop the problems from popping up.
I have been guilty of this myself, there was a report that needed to be done or a system that needed documenting, and suddenly I was off resolving a crisis. When someone asked “have you got the report completed or system in place”, would say “all hell broke loose and I didn’t have the time.”

It was true, all hell had broken loose, and it seemed to always be breaking loose. I had simply found a way to avoid doing what didn’t interest me. Surely you can think of a time you have done the same thing?

The problem, I found, was that it was all of the jobs left “undone” that kept me awake at night.

Here is how I overcame it; maybe it will work for you too.

1. I set reminders in my Outlook to go off every hour that simply said “Are You Doing What Needs to Be Done?”
2. I closed my office door, diverted my phone and turned off my e-mail and mobile phone.
3. I asked the staff to let people know that I was working to a deadline and could not be disturbed.
4. I put someone else in charge of “crisis management” while I was working on “crisis elimination."
5. I got excited about the change I was creating.
True, it did not work to plan initially and it actually took some time to perfect. Once it became habit, I started to recognise patterns of what was going wrong and develop systems to overcome the problems. I communicated the systems and measured the results, making small changes along the way.

I soon found that I had time on my hands. The team started making comments about how business had slowed, but our sales figures were telling the opposite story. We had simply become better at what we did, so I shared the results with them.

My new found enthusiasm became contagious as the rest of the team were seeing the sales results improve they became busier trying to beat their previous months sales figures.

We started to investigate and introduce new product lines. The team I had around me became known as “The A-Team", they were approached by other businesses and offered higher paying jobs, but it was not about money, it was about the dynamic that we created.

This change is possible in your business; all you need is a plan and a desire to change. If you would like to find out more about how it works, please call me.

Dean Atkins
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay
www.smallfish.com.au




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