One of my favorite books is The EMyth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. The book tells the story of why many small businesses fail and offers suggestions on preventing it. Much of it has to do with systems or lack thereof. Systems are what can help you take your business to the next level. They enable you to consistently deliver top quality service to your clients always and from each member of your team. Here's a few suggestions on using systems to help you grow your business and regain or retain balance in you life;
•1. Use check lists. NEVER rely on your memory. Sounds simple, but often overlooked. Lists will help you ensure that all activities on a listing or transaction are complete. Checklists are also a great way to communicate with your clients and team members. This will eliminate unnecessary repetition of others on your team. Using them to communicate with clients will also help your clients know exactly what you are doing and where you are on their listing or transaction.
•2. Develop a written procedure for all of the activities you do. Document everything from how you input a listing, to how to close out a file after closing. Having a written plan will not only make it simple to hire an assistant or add to your team in the future, it will give you a reference point to help you discover where your time is being best spent.
Hint - an easy way to start this would be to buy an MP3 recorder and dictate all that you do. Email it to an online dictation service where many will type your dictated word and email it to you in a word format for about a penny a word.
•3. Devote time for income generating activities DAILY. Don't over look the power of this system. Review your business, determine the steps necessary to create the results you want then daily take steps toward that goal. If it takes you 100 cold calls to generate a new listing, then daily you must set aside time to do these calls. 10 or 20 a day and you'll be on your way to the results you want. Putting it into your calendar and making it a system will increase the likelihood of these activities getting accomplished.
•4. Focus! Start day with a plan and stay focused. It's easy to get off on something else as soon as the phone rings but, staying true to your plan will help you grow your business. If you have an article to write, a proposal to prepare, cold calls to make or anything else that takes focus, turn OFF your email, and tell yourself you will spend the next hour or however much time you think this will take on this activity only. Then focus, focus, focus. You'll be amazed at how much you'll get done in a shorter period of time without any interruptions or distractions.
•5. Schedule time to work on your business rather than in it. Spending time developing goals, new systems and solutions for implementing them is a surefire way to increase your business. Don't get stuck in the day to day and confuse busy time for business building time. Many top professionals take one day off a month and work on their business. They do not take calls, emails or any interruptions during this time. They simply work on building their business.
As a small business owner I am all too familiar with the day to day distractions and time zapping activities that come our way. However, in order to grow a business you've got to be willing to do a few simple steps to set it up. Remember most of us started our own business to be freed of the constraints of having a JOB. However, if your business is solely relying on you to make it work, and you are the only one who can do all the activities then you don't really have a business, sorry, you have a JOB.
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