This month I would like you to stop and pause for a moment and fast forward to next year; the first week back at work in January to be precise. Now the first day back at work is already planned and will be great – as it is a Coffee and Connect meeting on 2nd January!
However, the next ten days or so are always rather quiet (unless you are an Accountant!). So traditionally this is the time of year when we work on those big projects that have been on our “To Do” lists for a while such as:
· Setting up a new online Accounting system
· Writing a brief to update your website
· Starting the recruitment process for a new member of staff
All of these are excellent projects to work on, bringing very clear benefits to your business. However, in reality, it is often the little things that slow us down; those tasks that we do infrequently but they cause us serious grief because we can never quite remember how to do them or get the system to work properly and we cannot believe we are going through all this pain and aggravation again!
I mean things like:
· Being asked a question on email and knowing you have been asked it several times before but having to compose the answer from scratch every time.
Solution: Set up a series of email signatures that answer all these regular queries. (Can I just say this fix saves me so much time).
· Having to undertake a process in your business e.g. refunding a customer who has overpaid, but not being able to remember exactly how to do this in your accounting system so you create more problems by doing it the “wrong” way and what should have taken ten minutes takes two hours and you have to ask your Bookkeeper or Accountant for help… Sorry I will breathe now, but are you feeling my pain with this one?
Solution: Ask your Bookkeeper / Accountant how to do this – and any other non-standard accounting procedures that might crop up – and write them down so you can refer to your crib sheet when it happens again, as it always does.
· Looking at this fabulous software you have invested in to save you time and make your life easier and knowing that it could do so such more… if only you understood how it worked.
Solution: Get some training and / or just simply sit down uninterrupted and practice using it.
· Not being able to find stuff – either digitally on your PC or in the Cloud or physically – you know that it is in the office somewhere but exactly where?
Solution: You need to spend some time organising and if it is emails you can’t find (usually that one critical one that you need NOW) then let me recommend a CRM package. As an Outlook user my life was transformed when I no longer needed to rely on the Outlook search function to find emails relating to specific advertisers.
I could go on but I am sure you get the gist – all those irritating little things that really sound quite ridiculous when you write them down, but they cause you soooooo much pain.
Well that first week back in January is the ideal time to deal with these issues BEFORE you start on the big projects…
… but of course, there is a catch.
Because when it gets to January and you sit at your desk you won’t be able to remember all these “little” things, because once you dealt with them you breathed a big sigh of relief and moved on, forgetting all about them in the process… until next time of course.
So, bring yourself back from January to now – the end of September, one of the busiest times of the year. Over the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas you are going have to deal with situations / queries like this and they are going to irritate you intensely because you know they are taking too long to sort out.
Every time this happens you should write it down in a list – it’s a bit like your Christmas List, except you aren’t going to look at it until the first week in January, when you are going to give your business the best belated Christmas present ever – by dealing with all those silly little things that really are holding back your business.