Achieving the success that you're looking for takes more than writing a to-do list. It takes looking at what you want to do, versus what you need to do. You must have a relentless focus on your main priority—which may very well be cash flow, or funding and resource management. This alone can make you feel successful.
- There is always so much to do when you're in small business. You never get through the to-do list, there's always more emails, and don't ever think you're going to get all that filing done. We all have these dreams that we'll have a coordinated and organized life, and it just doesn't ever seem to be like that. And, yet, to grow our businesses, you really must set some priorities, working on the important things. Setting those priorities doesn't need to be hard, but it does take energy and focus.
Stop beating yourself up if you're not getting to everything, it's absolutely okay. Sometimes, my life seems absolutely chaotic, but I do know, if I start to work on the one thing, that is the one thing, as Gary Keller said, the one thing, that, when you do it, everything else becomes easier. It takes time, but it's worth the effort. It can be hard to find out what the one thing is. You think, well, they're all important, I need to get everything done. But, actually, there's one thing there that, when you do it, you'll set up a system or a process that means you won't have to touch it again.
So, yours might be starting a CRM system. Yours might be taking hold of getting your website systems done. It might be, how do I bring people into the organization? But look at, what is the real pain point in your business? If you could disappear it, make it gone forever, then that's where you're going to look for your one thing. It's important to look at your plan, not just your to-do list, to look for the one thing. It's the one thing that is going to build your business strategically.
The key is knowing that you don't have to get everything done in one day, it's absolutely okay. But if you don't make one step towards that fundamental shift in systems and processes, it will never happen. So, your one thing is, what are you going to do today that will help you in the future? Recently, somebody came up to me after a speaking engagement and said, "tell me about that pivot", and I was a bit a confused. I said I didn't really pivot, I kept adjusting my business, reviewing and responding, reviewing and responding.
And he said, "no, no, that pivot, the pivotal moment." And I said, what do you mean by the pivotal moment? And he said, "my business wasn't going so well. "Everybody's running around, busy, busy, busy, "but we never seem to be succeeding. "We still weren't making money, we were burning cash. "So, I went to the reports guy "and he printed out every single report "that he delivered throughout the whole business. "It was a stack this high." And he said, "I had to hand it out to all the leaders" and he said, "who is using what part of these reports?" Most of them weren't even reading them.
So, then they identified, what is the numbers that are most important to us? They identified three. Every week, they then reported on just three numbers and got together every Monday morning and said, how are we going on these three numbers? It was his priority. It was also the moment he took charge of his own destiny., because what they focused on got done. He said, "that was my pivotal moment", and, 15 months later, the business was transformed.
It often doesn't happen overnight. He didn't give up. But he was in charge of his own destiny. So, my priority has always been to bring people into the organization, so that they're leaders, leaders in their own right, and I'm not the bottleneck of the business. I have a true belief that, in fact, it's one of our values, it's "one for all and all for one." Everyone has their part to play in our success. That was my one thing, I cannot do it on my own.
Please take the time to think about, what is your one thing that you really must get done? Perhaps it's your people, perhaps it's your customers and how you listen to customers, and putting in place some customer listening posts. No matter what, take the time right now to reflect on what is the one thing that, if I removed it, bottlenecks would disappear, people would be accountable, and they'd be able to act without you?
- Finding your purpose
- Keeping the passion alive
- Setting the framework for success
- Ensuring that your people are aligned to your goals
- Setting your priorities
- Promoting your business effectively