Category Archives for Productivity

What Constitutes a Fruitful Task?

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hen people start their own business they often think it’s going to be all dollars and doughnuts, not realizing that it’s also work. To produce dollars to buy doughnuts, productive billable work will need to be accomplished, or sellable products will have to be made and sold. In business there are tasks that produce results and some that are out-and-out wastes of time.

But, how do you know when something is a fruitful task and something is just a time waster?

There are a few major ways business owners waste time:

Busy Work

Many business owners spend a lot of time doing things that feel like work, but aren’t really productive. How many times can you edit and rewrite that blog post? How many times can you redo your website, or scour social media before you realize it’s not productive?

Social Media

It’s a great way to market your business but it can be distracting, so you need to time yourself and have a specific task in mind before getting on social media during work hours. Create a list of actions that you will take and stick to those and nothing else.

Email Checking

You need a business email and a personal email. Check your personal email only off business hours, and check your work email at specific intervals throughout the day with specific actions in mind. For instance, don’t read all those newsletters you signed up for every time; set aside a specific time for that.

Phone Calls

Meetings and phone calls seem productive, but are they really? They are if you have an agenda and stick to the agenda and don’t waiver off into other territory and just start chatting mindlessly. If you’re not good at doing that, try to eliminate as many phone calls and meetings as possible by using project management software.

Outside Distractions

The TV, email notification beeping, friends calling and so forth are all distractions that you can reduce or eliminate during work hours if you make it your goal. If your goal is to earn money, just ask yourself before you do anything, “Is this task getting me closer to my goal?” If the answer is no, stop doing it.

Ask yourself the following questions before doing any activity:

  • Is this activity planned and scheduled?
  • Is the project defined with a deadline?
  • Is the activity goal producing?

If you can answer yes to the above questions, then it may be a good task to keep doing and not a time waster. However, if you can answer no to the following questions, the activity is likely not fruitful and is a time waster.

  • If you stop doing this activity will it affect your business?
  • Is this activity billable?
  • Will this activity produce income?

The great thing is that you can choose not to waste time; once you have identified actual time wasters, you can seek to eliminate them from your day. Once you accept that some of what you’re doing is just busy work and not actually work that will move you toward your end goal of producing income, you’ll be able to stay on track.

The SMS Marketing Tool that will Make Your Life Easier

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MS marketing is a great addition to your marketing mix. But if you really want to be good at it, like many other marketing methods it’s important to find tools that help automate the process. The more you can automate, the more you can focus on true customer engagement and experience. That might sound counter-intuitive but the fact is, many messages should be automated while some shouldn’t. These tools will help make your life easier.

Find tools that increase engagement rather than decrease it and you’ll have winning solutions that get real results.

You want tools that offer features such as:

Autoresponders

These enable your customer to respond to you via SMS and answer all your calls to action immediately and automatically.

Polls

If you can send out a poll to your customers and they can answer, it’s a great way to collect data and engage.

Surveys

Want to learn more about your audience? Using a tool that allows you to ask questions and send surveys is super helpful.

Coupons

Sending coupons through SMS is a great way to get even more response. People love getting deals in their phone to use right away.

Metric Reporting

Any service you use needs to have the ability for you to know what messages are working, how many new subscribers you’re getting, from where, and the rate of engagement.

With all that outlined, the best tool on the market is arguably MOBIT.  This system integrates with software like Infusionsoft.com, allowing you to work with your current system. They have many features that will work for all kinds of business who want to get into SMS marketing for reasonable monthly fees.  

Check them out here.... https://smallbusinesscommunity.org/go/mobit/

As you choose your software you need to know what your goals, strategy and tactics are so you know what features you need most. You also need to understand what your SMS marketing budget is before you get started.

Ten Ways to Have a More Productive Business Meeting

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oes anyone really like business meetings? If you ask anyone randomly on the street they will laugh and say no. There are ongoing jokes at many companies about the uselessness of meetings and how meetings are created just to make people feel busy. Some businesses have meetings to discuss meetings.

Having said that, if you really want to have useful and productive meetings, you can if you follow these ten steps.

Have a Purpose

If you don’t have a singular purpose for a meeting, you shouldn’t need to have one. You should be able to state in five to eight words exactly why you are planning a meeting. If you can’t, reconsider.

Write an Agenda

Based off your purpose statement, write a meeting agenda. Micromanage each moment of the meeting in terms of who will speak, what they’ll speak about, and how long they have to do it.

Set a Time Limit

Meetings do not have to be long to be productive. Some companies have a standard 15-minute meeting rule. It’s used to simply report on what each person has done or needs to do to meet a goal, and to assign new work.

Ban Electronics

In today’s day and age, that might seem a little strange. But the truth is, multitasking at meetings is very counter-productive. Tell those who are invited to the meeting not to bring phones or laptops or any electronics. This will make everything move smoother because no one will be distracted.

Assign Tasks

Make someone responsible by directly assigning tasks to persons who can either be responsible for the people doing the work, or do the tasks themselves. By having a person of responsibility, you can avoid passing of the buck and making everything your job. Delegation before, during and after meetings is essential to increase productivity.

Keep the Size Small

Only invite the people to the meeting that will have something to do. There is no point in having anyone at a meeting or part of a meeting if they aren’t going to leave with something to do. For instance, if you have a project manager, invite her, but there is no reason to invite the people she manages.

Start and End on Time

Set a start time and an end time, and stick to it. Start on time and don’t allow late people to show up late. If they’re late they simply miss the meeting. The reason is that late people, for whatever reason, will cause delays and interrupt the flow.

Give Each Person Input Time

Anyone coming to the meeting should have been given an assignment of what to talk about at the meeting, and they should be given time to talk. Sometimes one or two people will take over a meeting and the others do not get a chance to give input. Make sure that each person gets an opportunity.

Assign Someone as the Record Keeper

One person should be the official note taker, including writing down who is assigned what task. This person will within a few hours send everyone a copy of the meeting minutes, which will include a list of tasks and to whom they’re assigned.

Follow Up

After a meeting is over, it’s important to check up on anyone who was given tasks to do, but also to drop everyone who attended an email with the meeting minutes (as mentioned above) as well as an opportunity to edit the record. In this way you can ensure that everyone who attended is on the same page.

Meetings are necessary for a business with more than one person (even if you only have contractors), to move forward and get things done. By having meetings that address a specific purpose, assigning responsibility to the right people and having frequent follow-ups, you’ll find that all your meetings are more productive.

The Part Outsourcing Plays in Running a Business

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utsourcing is an important part of running a business efficiently, and it can grow and become more profitable over time. After all, you don’t expect a CEO to do everything on their own; instead they have assistants and experts to do a lot of work for them. This is what makes them look amazing – their ability to pick and choose amazing experts to put on their team and motivate them to get work done.

  • Do More in Less Time – If it takes you two hours a day to go through emails that someone else could deal with, and this is especially true of customer service email, then you should outsource it to someone else. Those two hours might cost you 20 to 30 dollars an hour to pay someone else to do, but it’s costing you potentially hundreds of dollars an hour in new ideas, new products, and whatever it is that you do that you’re an expert in.
  • Duplicate Yourself – Many times you can also outsource work that you do yourself, and if you find the right people you can duplicate yourself and thus serve more clients. For instance, this is true with virtual assistants. Say your expertise lies in setting up shopping cart solutions for clients. As there are only 24 hours in a day, you can hire others who are also good at setting up shopping carts to increase your business.
  • End Repetitive Tasks – Any daily repetitive tasks that you do you can totally eliminate by outsourcing to someone else. This again frees up a lot of time for you to be able to focus on other things that will move your business forward.
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    Build an Empire with an Exit Strategy – By outsourcing to others, you can actually build up a business that depends less on you. This can feel scary to some people, but the truth is, this is a good goal to have in mind because your family will still be cared for if your business can ultimately run without you, or if it is sellable.
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    Expand Your Capabilities – Is there a skill that would add to your business that you do not have? For instance, maybe you’re excellent at technical skills and coding but you’re not that great at marketing or writing. You can find an expert to take care of these aspects so that you can get more clients and get more work.
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    Focus on Your Efficiencies – When you outsource work that is not your expertise, you can focus better on what you do best. If you’re not sure what your expertise area is yet, you will need to discover that so that you can outsource almost everything else and focus on that one thing. For example, public speaking; you can’t outsource that, but you can outsource everything surrounding public speaking so that you can focus on being the best public speaker possible.
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    Grow Your Business – As you find ways to outsource, you can grow your business beyond what it can be with just you working in it. A corporation often has hundreds of employees, but with outsourcing you can look like a big corporation while simply being a sole proprietorship who outsources to experts in any area ripe for growth.
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    Pay As You Go – The great thing about outsourcing is that the cost is flexible. It only goes up when your income goes up and you get more jobs. Therefore, each time you outsource, you will actually increase your income rather than reduce it.

So, if you want to grow and improve your business, you will learn to outsource to experts. It’ll make your business better, it’ll help you earn more money, and it’ll solidify your business to continue to grow without you.

What Is a JV Partnership?

A joint venture partnership is made between two or more individuals or business owners to work together on a particular project, product, or event. The companies do not become one; instead, they maintain their separate individual entities while working on a particular goal together. The purpose of a joint venture is to combine resources to maximize efficiencies of each entity for the particular project.

Limited Time Span – While some JVs do last a long time, most of them are temporary until the completion of the project. Many businesses find themselves entering into several consecutive JVs due to the success of others.

Clearly Defined Objective – Another thing that denotes a JV partnership is that they usually have a very clearly defined objective or reason for being put into place. Each entity involved knows their place and what is expected, as well as the goal.

The degree of Involvement Is Obviously Defined – Each part of the JV alliance has a particular thing that they are supposed to do, and this is clearly spelled out in an obvious manner. Each partner knows what is expected, what to do and when to do their part.

Spelled-Out Financial Contributions – Since the business entity is not going to be formed in a JV, the financial responsibilities of each member must be expressed. Sometimes one person is responsible for the finances, will deduct expenses from income and then distribute the profits as spelled out in the contract.

Plans Spelled Out for Problems or Disputes – In a JV that is temporary in nature, there can still be issues and disputes that arise. The contract usually spells out what to do and who will be the final say in any dispute – typically an unbiased arbitrator or in some cases the person with the main financial input gets the final say.

Termination of JV Arrangement Detailed –  Since a JV agreement is not permanent, usually the contract spells out exactly when and how the arrangement will end and what will happen to the intellectual property when the arrangement is complete.

Non-Disclosure Information – Most of the time both parties require some sort of non-disclosure information to keep trade secrets, contact lists, financial and other information private since some of them will necessarily be revealed during the JV partnership.

Other Legal Information –  It is important to check with your state and country about various terms and issues that should be covered in your JV agreement. Together with your JV partners, you may want to determine which of your locations will have the final say on any legal issues that should arise.

A joint venture partnership is a great way to expand your reach because you get to use each other’s contacts, resources, and skill set. But, it is important to understand what a JV is and what it is not. It is not combining two businesses permanently and it’s usually a temporary joining of forces.

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