Working in and on your own business can often be overwhelming. For most startups and small businesses, you may be the only employee. This means you are the only person who cares about getting anything done, and there is never a shortage of stuff to do. In fact, there is so much to do that we lose sight of the bigger picture – to keep our business moving forward.
Owning a business isn’t just about making sure the day to day tasks of keeping the business running are completed. It is so much more than that. It involves networking, brand building, generating publicity, being seen, having a voice, reaching out, retaining customers – in fact the list goes on.
Many of us didn’t start out with the skill set needed to set up and run a business. We have had to read and learn and try, and even make mistakes in order to get where we are today. And I, for one, am still on the never ending journey. I learn more each day which takes both myself and my business to new and exciting places.
For a long time I had a park it list – a list of all the things I knew I needed to do but never seemed to have the time for. I simply ‘parked’ them until sometime in the future when, I hoped, I would eventually find the time to attack them. I realised pretty soon, however, that this was not really an option as ‘parking’ would not get me very far in building my empire. I decided that the best way to ensure that amongst all the day to day busyness I had time to focus on growing the business, was to start with a simple list. I sat down with a cup of tea and made a list of all the things I probably should be doing (many of which I wasn’t) in order to keep my businesses moving forward. The list included everything from posting on Facebook, Twitter and so on to generating leads, networking, driving website traffic and engaging my customers.
The list was long!
The next step was to break it down into sections. I grouped all similar areas of the list together i.e. social media included all the usual suspects under one umbrella. Customer engagement included email campaigns, special offers, competitions and the like. Once I had my new list of sections it still seemed a huge and daunting.
So, I went one step further into breaking the list down into manageable tasks. I decided if I could do one thing that affected each section each day – no matter how big or small it may be – at least I knew that every day I was actively taking another step forward.
Once I got into the hang of things, it became easier to start to plan these activities and with the use of tools like Hootsuite and Mailchimp it really helped me to keep things running on schedule.
Now, I plan at least a week ahead and am confident that my businesses is building and progressing on a daily basis and this can be seen from the results we’re getting via our online store and customer engagement.
My advice to anyone struggling to keep on top of their to do list is to write them all down. It helps to provide clarity when you see them all written in front of you.
Next group them all into more manageable sections, and lastly, plan your attack!
What are some of your top tips for moving forward in your business?