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E-myth Entrepreneurs Management Personal development Productivity Small Business Strategy Time management

Too many customers? Now what?

Even today, plenty of businesses – particularly those run by consultants who charge by the hour – find themselves with too many customers.

How many is “too many”? Simple. One more than you can handle, regardless of the number, regardless of your economic situation.

Fortunately, it’s an early warning signal that your business model needs some work, though you might say it isn’t early enough:)  You shouldn’t feel bad about it – a lot of people find themselves in this situation: accountants, lawyers, doctors, dentists, chiropractors and others who charge by the hour.

Ann Rusnak talks about the too many customers problem in today’s guest post.

Where is she going? Among other places, right here.

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Employees Management Motivation Personal development planning Productivity Small Business systems

An in-your-face reminder to GET. STUFF. DONE.

Today’s guest post comes from internet marketer Trey Smith, who offers up a simple, in-your-face way to regularly remind yourself to GET THINGS DONE as your day progresses.

It might seem like “nothing”, but having it in your face all day is exactly the kind of thing that productivity experts recommend, and it even jibes with the “How the ultra-successful get that way” findings reported by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich.

Give it a shot. Trey’s free template makes it easy.

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Automation Competition Customer service Email marketing Management Marketing planning Positioning Productivity Restaurants Retail Sales Small Business Strategy systems Technology

Why your staff wants more profitable work to do

Consider the profitability of the work being done by each member of your staff. Are they making your business more profitable? Or are they doing non-critical work that a computer or service could do?

Why not automate those often lame-but-necessary tasks?

Why? Because you arenâ??t getting it all done otherwise.

Want proof? Call a vendor who performs a service or sells an item that requires installation. More often than not, youâ??ll not find someone who can deliver today, or even this week.

Despite the state of the economy. Or perhaps, because of it.

Odd example: I was told late last week that Amtrak passenger trains are packed to the gills because they don’t have any more passenger cars to put in service. Now donâ??t get me wrong, thatâ??s good thing because it means theyâ??re busy. Busy is good. Means they are doing some things right (and of course that fuel prices are high).

But backlogged and having to force businesses and consumers to go to your competition isnâ??t good, and itâ??s a fine line between busy and too busy.

What’s bad for Amtrak in this case is also bad for you. And that’s where the profitability of the work your staff does will come into play.

On one side of the fine line: things that require your expertise.

On the other: stuff that a high school kid could do in their sleep (and they need more sleep anyhow, right?).

Those are the kinds of things to target for automation.

It isnâ??t about getting rid of people. Itâ??s about giving the people you have the kind of work that generates profit, rather than simply keeping them busy in low-value jobs that take them nowhere.

Why do they want that?

Because the kind of work that generates profit is the kind that makes a job – and thus an employee – more valuable.

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Entrepreneurs Management Motivation Personal development Productivity Small Business

7 reasons why 20somethings are more productive

Today’s guest post comes from Clay Collins over at The Growing Life. He talks about the 7 reasons (I suspect there might be more if we pushed him on it) that 20somethings are (apparently?) more productive than us old guys.

Well, except for me. *I’m not that old*<g>

Check it out before Clay turns 30, will ya?

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Competition Employees Leadership Management Marketing Motivation Productivity Small Business

Why are you STILL wasting time?

No, this is not another time management discussion. I simply want to put your day in the proper context.

After all, almost 60% of the year is behind us and I want you to be sure you’re getting closer to making it where you wanted to be by the end of the year.

So… if you are wasting an hour a day – doing *whatever* – what do you think that’s worth to you?

If you have 10 employees and each one of them is wasting an hour a day, it would probably bother you. At least I hope it would.

Lets assume for the sake of argument that you take $100,000 out of your business each year. If you waste an hour a day, that’s $51 and change you waste every day, or about 85 cents per minute. That’s assuming you make that 100 large in an eight hour day, working 50 weeks per year.

If you waste that hour a day all year long, you just tossed $12,750 out the door (.85 per minute * 60 minutes per day times 5 days per week times 50 weeks per year).

Is whatever you’re doing today worth the money you’re paying for it? Is it generating the $ you need it to?

Look at it another way, if $100K is your benchmark. $100K divided by 5 days per week and 50 weeks per year (Im assuming you take 2 weeks off) is $400.

That’s $400 per weekday, day in, day out. If you work 8 productive hours per day…

If you only manage 7 productive hours per day on average all year long, then you’re up to $457 per weekday.

If your numbers are bigger, that wasted time gets a lot more expensive.

Stay focused.

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Blogging Competition Management Motivation Personal development Productivity Small Business systems Time management

We dont need no stinking batches

Apologies to fans of the movie The Treasure of Sierra Madre, but Darren set me up so well, I just couldn’t resist.

Note: The embedded YouTube viewer is annoying the often-annoying Internet Explorer, so you can see the video here instead.

You see, Darren Rowse of Problogger, and Digital Photography School would argue that you do need those “stinking batches”.

In today’s guest post, Darren describes how batching his work allows him to get more done.

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Automation Competition Customer service Employees Management Marketing Positioning Productivity Small Business SMS systems Technology The Slight Edge Twitter

Operations and Details: Why you need a passion for crossing the T and dotting the I

One of the very few troubling things about living in a small town or a rural area is that sometimes, not all that often, but sometimes (yeah, I repeat myself), you find yourself “forced” to use a vendor that drives you crazy.

Because of what appears to be a lack of passion about operations and details.

Talk about timing. As I was writing this post, up on Twitter pops this tweet from @ChrisBrogan :

“Is anyone really *passionate* about operations and details?”
Chris Brogan

To be sure, when I say “passion”, I don’t mean that your hormone levels start rising when you are making sure your business’ detailed operations are just so – and have processes in place to keep them that way, but I’ll tell you what: I’ll bet you ARE passionate about the lifestyle that your business provides for you.

You know. Things like being able to make that Boy Scout meeting, that piano recital, that Wednesday afternoon golf “meeting” every other week, the choir practice, your kid’s soccer games or the bridge club.

Whatever it might be…the passion that you have for the lifestyle you lead has a direct relationship with the passion you have for crossing the T and dotting the I.

You probably think I’m nuts, so let’s talk about a few examples from my business life. I suppose this could be a reference to the pet peeves discussion of a few days ago, but this is really a bit different because the kinds of things I’m talking about here could be a part of any business.

In my case, it’s a local business whose services I use every month. Likewise, several of my clients use this service every month because they produce the production version of what I created for my clients (gee, is that vague enough?)

Why do I put up with the annoyance?

One reason and one reason only: There is no viable alternative business that provides this service within the community with the slate of features I need.

These are the kinds of things that any service business could be doing, and quite a few online or brick and mortar retail product stores could be as well. That way YOU can fix the ones you might be doing.

Number 1 – They deliver, but they can’t tell me for sure (in advance) when a produced job will be delivered.

When they do deliver, they don’t notify me that they’ve delivered the product. Because I happen to be one of those “Likes to know if the client got the stuff I ordered for them” kinds of guys, I have to call back (and remember to call back<g> and ask if the stuff was delivered. Today, I had to do this and they had to call me back because they had no idea.

Number 2 – They don’t notify me when the job is done/delivered unless I ask (and sometimes not even then). They clearly have no system to keep track of what needs to be delivered, what is on the truck, what has been delivered and what couldn’t be delivered. My guess is that they might have a clipboard nailed to a wall somewhere. Maybe.

Note that the big box store that competes with them (but doesnt offer enough services to make me switch), DOES have automated email notification that the job is done and I can pick it up.

Little things make a difference, especially when I can decide to give them my cell phone’s SMS email address, forcing their email to my phone.

Why is this apparent triviality even important?

Lessee…In the days of $4 gas, an emailed notification that goes to my phone could save me a 40 mile round trip drive (if I’m already in town for something else), PLUS 40+ minutes of their productive time if I have to turn around and come get that job because it is time-bound.

I don’t like doing business with companies that waste my time. Do you?

It might not just be my time. Maybe I have my virtual assistant (who lives here) pick them up. Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to take the email and forward to her, or call her? Sure, they could email directly to her – but if they aren’t emailing, what difference does it make? So now we’re talking about contractor or employee time, depending on your situation.

Number 3 – Out of control accounting. OK, I admit it, I *hate* bookkeeping (yes, I do appreciate and take action on the reports).

This is important with them because I often pay by credit or debit card and then get invoiced for the same amount at a later time. This happens repeatedly. So much so, in fact, that I have to get statements and make sure I haven’t paid for something twice. Sometimes I pay in person. Sometimes I pay over the phone or even via email. It doesn’t seem to matter, because double payments or unlogged payments are a frequent issue.

In the case of the in-store payment, this occurs despite the fact that they appear to enter the payment on the computer when I’m in their store. In fact, most of the problems originated from in-store payments.

Call me confused.

By now, you’re probably still wondering where the “why cross and dot” in all this is.

Simple: It’s those lifestyle things that make owning a business worthwhile. If your business is out of control, you don’t have time for that every other Wednesday golf meeting with friends you treasure. You can’t make that Rotary meeting once a month, much less once a week.

You can’t go on that photo safari across Montana, much less across Africa. And you sure can’t leave at 10am or 2pm for that school play or soccer game out of town that you promised your kid you’d make, even though they know you’ll be on your cell phone the whole time.

Why? Because you can’t leave your business for a week for fear that it will collapse into chaos when you aren’t there.

Cross the T and dot the I, and put systems in place to make sure it happens even when you aren’t there.

Imagine if you don’t have these things in place. That ONE important delivery to your best client gets messed up, or forgotten and that client leaves forever taking 5 or 6 figures worth of business to a competitor.

Now you feel like you can’t ever leave to watch a kid’s recital, ball game or what not.

Is that really worth not putting some effort, some passion into systems that cross the T and dot the I?

Don’t you want your business to be the one that is known as the one that never drops the ball?

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Personal development Productivity Software Time management

Productivity on a weekend!

Today’s guest post is about a couple of tools that I thought you might find handy.

Slither over to David Seah’s blog and you’ll find 2 pretty handy tools to make you more productive: The Printable CEO Series and The Compact Calendar.

getting-huge.jpg
photo credit: ericmcgregor

As you might expect, I think the more planning and scheduling you can do – the more productive you will be – assuming there’s a dose of self-discipline in there as well. Look at it this way, it’ll give you lots more time to watch American Idol on the TiVo – on YOUR schedule 🙂

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Blogging Marketing Productivity Social Media Technology Web 2.0

Your blog can show your clients “How to”

Today’s guest post is from The Brain. No, not your brain, The Brain.


photo credit: moujemouje

The Brain is a software product that allows you to organize, relate and search info to other info. Typically, we’re talking about things that don’t make this easy – especially across media and thought processes.

Showing your clients how to get more value out of your products is a very good use for a blog. I got several ideas from this post, even though I’ve used the Brain for years.

How can you use this technique in your blog, for your products?