As a business owner, it is really easy to be tempted to wear all the hats, to micromanage, to have a fear of letting go. That fear then turns into nights and weekends away from the family, never feeling like you can come up for air, and living in a constant state of being stretched too thin.
Doesn’t sound like a very fun situation to be in does it? Working ON your business instead of simply IN your business is a necessary focus that every business owner needs to fit into their monthly routine.
The first step in the process is hiring the right people. People that fit in with your culture, your vision, your direction and people that you can trust. We are a fairly small team at Duct Tape Marketing but rely on a number of virtual designers, assistants, and bookkeepers who are absolutely key pieces to our puzzle.
Equally important as having the right team, is having a plan in place and actually sticking to it. Without the direction, you are simply climbing peaks with no end in sight, not purpose.
A few weeks ago, Mark Winters co-author of the book Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business, was on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. John and Mark discussed the one thing every entrepreneur must have. Today, I want to introduce a different section in the book and one that I found to be very powerful, the “Icing on the Cake” section.
As Mark and co-author Gino Wickman state in the book, “These five simple tools have the highest impact and require the least amount of time, so we encourage you to learn and master them.” I won’t go over all the tools, as that is what the book is for, however, here are a few that are already helping our productivity level and focus increase each week.
Tool #2 in the book is called Core Questions. Out of these questions, the four that really stood out to me include: What is your 10-year focus, what is your three-year picture, and what is your one-year plan? Very simple questions but actually sitting down and taking the time to make your big 10-year goal and then break it down into smaller manageable chunks provides a clear direction for the company.
The 90-Day World
Tool #3 in the book is called The 90-Day World. You now get to make your plan even more manageable. Here is how we put the 90-day world into place: We set our 90 days goals while at the same time keeping our 10-year plan in mind of course. Next we assigned each goal to a staff member. Taking it one step further, we broke the 90 days into weekly steps towards each goal and created a scorecard to track the progress and hold people accountable for their tasks.
Weekly Level 10 Meetings
Finally, Tool #4 in the book is Weekly Level 10 Meetings. I am guessing you have sat through meetings before where you walked away thinking “was that really the best use of my time?” The Weekly 10 Meeting outline helps keep the entire leadership team focused on the goals that were set in the planning meeting. It is an opportunity to review the scorecard, the 90 day priorities, share customer and employee headlines, talk about the weekly t0-do list, and discuss any important issues, all while following a set process and agenda. It is a systematic way to reach your goals.
Nothing here is earth shattering, it is however extremely powerful if actually put into place. It is easy to fill your days with client work, chasing leads, and creating content. If you don’t first take a step back and figure out the “why” and “how” for your plan, you will simply be doing just that. Filling up your days versus working towards a bigger goal.
Sara Jantsch is the Vice President of Operations at Duct Tape Marketing. She oversees day-to-day operations to support the growth of Duct Tape Marketing and the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. She focuses on strategic planning, goal setting and directing the operations of the company in support of its goals. Sara is also a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and has a very strong passion for working with small business owners that started back at the dinner table as a child. Connect with Sara on twitter.