These times certainly are unprecedented.
For me, I find that exciting, because it means the opportunities are also unprecedented.
Tomorrow has never been guaranteed for any of us, but thanks to COVID-19, and the space it’s creating in people’s lives, many business owners all of a sudden have deeper concerns about the future and are questioning how much of our ‘old’ lives we want to rush back to when this does pass.
Whilst it’s important to strategise solutions to immediate challenges in our business – like cashflow and employees and keeping the doors open where possible – it’s also important not to over invest your time, effort and energies into something that may or may not ever happen to you.
However, right now there are four areas where if you were to seriously invest your time, effort, energy and resources into now, would pay BIG dividends at the other end.
No matter what the external situation is, investing in yourself is always a smart decision.
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”
Do you know what’s truly important to you?
In an earlier blog, I talked about how important it is to know what truly is important to you because when when you know exactly what you want in life, you will do anything to achieve it.
Over the years, we get caught out by listening to what society, family, friends etc tell us SHOULD be important to us and we take it on for ourselves. (I SHOULD exercise more, I SHOULD spend more time with the kids, I SHOULD work more, I SHOULD work less, I SHOULD do something for charity, I SHOULD lease a new car…)
After we’ve taken our clients through our process that helps them separate what is actually important to them from what they think should be important to them, they feel LIBERATED. They can finally stop SHOULD-ING all over themselves and own what are their highest life priorities.
What have you let slip through the cracks over the years, even though it was important to you? Now’s the time to step away from the busy-ness you’ve created and come back to activities that empower your true self.
Have you been neglecting your own mental and emotional wellbeing? Is it time to start a habit of journaling, or meditating, or daily walks in the fresh morning air? These practices help you get stuff out of your mind, de-stress and unwind. Perhaps it is time to invest in a mentor who will help you uncover and work through the habits and unconscious behaviours holding you back from achieving the things you want in life.
What impact have the last few years had on your relationships with your family? Have you felt you’ve needed to prioritise your business to the detriment of your closest relationships? If so, look at this as once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to step out from your endless to-do lists and be truly present with your family. May be there are relationships that need to be re-built. Maybe you need to learn to start truly listening to your partner, to your children. Maybe you need to learn to put that telephone down, switch off the television and get the jigsaw puzzles and board games out.
Have you stopped paying attention to your health and fitness? We are still allowed to exercise in our own neighbourhood. We live in a country with an abundance of fresh and healthy food. With so many of us working from home, it’s a wonderful opportunity to stop buying those quick lunch-time meal deals and start eating healthily. You could even get your kids involved in preparing if for you! The healthier we are, the less likely we’ll be impacted by COVID-19, or any other illness, for that matter. So, if you’re not already in the habit, start the having an annual check-up with your Doctor (This year I’m having my 62,000 kilometre service 😉).
What about reading? Not just to learn something (although that’s important too!) but reading for the pure enjoyment of it. Even if you used to love reading, most of us find we’re too busy these days. But rather than spending another evening watching Netflix, blow the dust off the pile of books beside your bed and start reading again. By the way, Rob and I are recommending our clients read is “My Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter. It’s a great, easy-to-read book and its message is highly applicable to our current situation.
Studies show that it takes 90 days for a new habit to be formed. Our Government is telling us that our current “normal” is going to continue in this way for the next 6 months. That means, if we start today, our new habit of investing in ourselves will be well embedded by the time ‘normalcy’ resumes.
In recent posts (like this one and this one) we’ve been talking about using the current situation to unlearn some of the habits that we have in our business, especially when it comes to leading our team.
Some of the habits we MUST change in order to survive post COVID-19 are based on the beliefs we have, like, “it’s quicker and easier if I do it myself”, “nobody can do it is as good as me”, “I have to work hard to make a living”. I talked about seriously detrimental impact these seemingly innocuous beliefs have on your business and how to change them here.
“Whereas the heroic manager of the past knew all, could do all, and could solver every problem; the new post-heroic manager asks how every problem can be solved in a way that develops other people’s capacity to handle it.”
Charles Handy, Irish economic and social philosopher
In a post COVID-19 world, you do not have time to micromanage your team. You must know where your TRUE VALUE to the business is and get the best people around you to do everything else.
Step one – identify the dollar value of your average sale. (If you have 100 x $500 sales and 2 x $50,000 sales, then the average is $12,500.)
Step two – identify the average total amount of time it takes to get a new client to buy your products/service. (If it takes 1hr for a $500 sale and 10hrs for a $50,000 sale, then the average time is 10hrs per sale)
Step 3 – divide the average sale by the time taken. So, in our example, the average sale is $12,500 and the average total time is 10 hours, your value to the business is $12,500/ 10 = $1,250. Your value to the business is $1,250/hr.
What does this mean?
It means that if you can hire someone and pay them less to do what you are doing by your value to the business (in this example, less that $1,250/hr), it is false economy for you to be doing it.
So, take the time to make a list of everything (yes everything) you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in your business. Have you employed someone already to be doing that? Identify, why you have taken it back off of them? Be honest.
I remember when I first started employing people in my business. One day I came into the office after a particularly busy day and June was sitting there playing solitaire on her computer. It hit me like a lead balloon. I said to her, “I’m so sorry June, I’ve been so used to doing this myself, that I haven’t taken the time to work out what you could be doing for me”.
Whatever YOUR reason is for continuing to do work you’ve employed somebody else to do, now is the opportunity to rectify it. Take the time to delegate work to your team members, coach them so they can perform the task and, if they still can’t do it to your satisfaction, then it’s time to let them go.
Right now, your business has the perfect opportunity to do the things you’ve not had the time to do before. Our clients are taking the opportunity to have their team memebers,
You do not have a business until you have the right people around you doing the right job. The glorious upside of doing this work is that once it’s done, your time will then be free to do what you love and reap the rewards of your business.
I’ve worked alongside small business owners in the role of coach and mentor for almost 17 years. Every time something happens in the economy, eg the GFC in 2008-09, COVID-19 in 2020 or even if cash becomes tight over Christmas, the automatic reaction for many is to shift focus from growth to working out how to cut costs – and usually one of the first costs to go is education.
I’m not saying that costs shouldn’t be reviewed when the economic landscape is challenging – of course, it makes sense to review costs. In fact, I believe costs should be reviewed on a much more regular basis than ‘once every crisis’.
However, what I’ve learned for myself and what I’ve witnessed working with so many business owners over the years, is when the focus shifts to “cutting costs”, neither I nor my clients are focused on what needs to be done to work through or fix the situation.
Right now, I firmly believe your education is more important than ever.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
I’m exceedingly grateful for the coaches and mentors that I’ve had over the years. One of the things I’ve learned is that if I’m going through a “dark” patch in my life or business, I need my coach more than ever before. Why? Because my own thinking has created my reaction to the situation, and I need someone outside of myself to challenge my thinking to be able to work through the situation.
In our current environment, they way we’ve done business has to change. The activity we’ve done before may not cut it in the new economy. Our emotional responses, or not knowing what to do next, are purely signposts to tell us that we’ve come to the end of our own knowledge.
Make the most of these uncertain times to invest in your education. Massive change provides the opportunity to learn new things, new ways of doing, new ways of being.
Another expense that gets cut by many in these times, is their marketing. Again, if my focus is on cutting costs, I’m not focusing on changing my situation.
Right now, all of us have the opportunity to help our clients in new and amazing ways. Our job is to educate our marketplace about the ways we can help them. It is our RESPONSIBILITY to ensure our market knows which problems we can solve.
How we’ve been marketing in the past may not work right now. We may need to find new ways of getting our message to market – or maybe we need to find a new message, or a new market, or both. For example, right now, social marketing has never been more popular. Why? Because with all of us living in isolation, we have more time to read, listen to messages and MANY PEOPLE are looking for solutions to their problems.
Make the most of the opportunity to determine what problems you can solve and then educate those who are looking for the solution, what you can do for them.
At Kaibizzen, Rob and I have been coaching business owners for over 17 years. Our proven approach has helped countless business owners create businesses with high-performing teams so that they finally get to reap the rewards of years of hard work. This winter season is the perfect time to prepare you, your business and your team for the coming spring. If you’d like to know more about how we could help you deal with the specific challenges in your business, reach out. We’d love to help you achieve the life and the business you deserve.
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