Time Management

Are Your Business Offers Leaving Money On The Table?

By | Grow Business, Time Management

Upsell Business OffersAre your business offers leaving money on the table?

Last month, I was in the market for a new SUV. When I went to the car dealership, I selected what I really wanted and just prior to making the purchase, I was made an offer to upgrade to a service, a valet service for repairs and maintenance.

Every time I need to have routine maintenance and service done on the vehicle, a driver from the dealership will come to my house with a loaner vehicle, drop it off, take my vehicle in, have the service and repairs done, and then return my SUV to my home.

So I won’t have to waste time at a dealership, sitting around drinking bad coffee, waiting for repairs to be done.

Instead, I can be doing something more productive with my time, which I value far more than the cost of this upgrade to the private valet service.

Many business owners fail to make upsell offers or cross-sell offers of products or services to their customers. And you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t make these offers.

Let’s say that 20% of your customers accept the upsell or cross-sell that you make to them.

Now, run the profit numbers on that and see what a difference it will make to your bottom line.

If the economy is down and you’re struggling, it may be the difference between staying in business or closing up shop.

Of course, when the economy is booming, it’s a gravy train because you’ll have a higher conversion rate when your customers are willing to spend more.

Now, it’s important to make sure that your upsell or cross-sell is related to the underlying base offer. If you’re trying to upsell or cross-sell something totally unrelated, it’s not a natural fit.

Then your conversion rates are going to plummet because it’s incongruent with the desires that induce the customer to come to you in the first place.

Don’t wait for customers to come to you and ask, “What else do you have?” Chances are that question will not be asked. And this means your business will not be as profitable as it could be.

So take a look and see what you have as potential supplemental offers.

Now, what if you don’t have any other options?

Create some.

For example, take a look at what’s out there in the market and see if there’s something that you can sell from elsewhere on an affiliate/referral basis to a non-competing business. Make a deal with this non-competitor to earn a commission off of each referred sale or to get paid per referral whether or not a sale is made.

Is Your To-Do List Fermenting Like A Dead Badger?

By | Time Management

to-do list prioritiesHave you been procrastinating on getting stuff done on your task list? Are there items that have mummified because they’ve been there so long without any action taken? In other words, are your to-do list priorities a mess?

For productivity and peace of mind, it’s time to get rid of this deadwood hanging over your head.

Now here’s what to do to fix your to-do list priorities in four easy steps…

1. Naturally, scan your task list for any obsolete items. If it’s moot, scratch it off.

2. Are there any tasks on your list that aren’t essential to your business or personal goals? Get rid of these. Don’t confuse nice-to-have with a must-do. It’s okay to say no to some work.

3. What if an item is essential but you don’t want to do it? Dump it on someone else. Delegate the task to either an employee or an independent contractor.

4. Then prioritize what remains. These actions are vital and you want to do them. Then start chipping away at these remaining tasks for an hour or two each morning when you get up.

And repeat these pruning steps once or twice a month to ensure your to-do list priorities reflect the business goals you want to accomplish. For my business law firm and other companies I co-own, I typically do this on a Sunday night. Trimming tasks by this method frees up time for you to grow your business and spend time with family and friends.

The Secret To An Effective Sleep Schedule For Business Owners

By | Time Management

sleep schedule for business ownersWhen you own a business, it’s important to take care of yourself, including protecting your sleep schedule. Yet what that schedule should look like depends upon a variety of factors, including your personality, your work hours, and family commitments.

Many business owners try to live by Benjamin Franklin’s adage about “early to bed, early to rise…” Yet it’s not the only path to success in your personal and professional lives.

Let’s explore some popular alternatives to monophasic sleeping.

Biphasic Sleeping

There are two main methods of implementing a biphasic sleeping schedule: (1) the Night Owl; and (2) the Siesta.

The Night Owl Sleep Schedule

Adopting the biphasic Night Owl schedule is fairly easy to do. You’ll divide your night’s sleep into two parts with a productive work or exercise session in between.

For example, let’s say you sleep from 8 p.m. to midnight. When you get up after these four hours, you’ll work and/or exercise for 2-3 hours before going back to bed for the remaining 3-4 hours of your nightly sleep.

This method can be effective if you need some quiet creative time alone while your kids are sleeping. Or you struggle to find time during the day to exercise because of your work commitments.

The Siesta Method

When I was younger living in Mexico, this biphasic sleeping model became an enjoyable habit. During the afternoon, everything would shut down for 2-3 hours. We’d go home to eat lunch and take a nap (siesta) of up to an hour before returning to work refreshed.

By taking a siesta, you’ll find you’re more productive when returning to work in the afternoon. To be sure, it may not be possible to close your doors midday for lunch and siesta time. However, someone else can manage your business while you’re taking a few hours to refresh.

Polyphasic Sleeping

Adopting a polyphasic schedule of 3 or more daily sleep sessions fits few business owner schedules but some people swear by this method.

At the extreme end of polyphasic sleeping is the Uberman Sleep Schedule where you break out your sleep into either 6 (every 4 hours) or 8 (every 3 hours) 20-minute naps around the clock. This is significantly less total sleep than you’ll get through monophasic or biphasic methods. However, some contend you’re still refreshed because of the frequency of the naps.

Uberman polyphasic sleeping is most popular with college students and young tech entrepreneurs in their mid-20s who have time management flexibility. However, as one ages, it’s tough to maintain this type of schedule because of physical limitations, work, and family obligations. Even if you’re young, this method is difficult to implement if you drink lots of caffeine (e.g. coffee) that prevents napping.

Monophasic Plus Method

If you’re unable or unwilling to change your sleep cycles, consider doing the following tweak instead. Maintain your single block of nightly sleep (e.g. 7 to 9 hours). Then take a 20 to 30 minute nap sometime in the afternoon.

You’ll discover this extra little bit of sleep will make a difference in your work productivity and how you feel at the end of the day.

And you won’t be the only person who does this.

History is filled with business titans (e.g. Thomas Edison) who took naps as-needed rather than work while tired. And if you look around today, chances are you’ll find others who are napping during part of their lunch breaks or disappearing to parts unknown (e.g. their cars, a local park, etc.) for a quick snooze sometime during the afternoon.

Switching Sleeping Methods

Remember that you’re experimenting with different sleep schedules with the goal of improving your business and personal lives. Chances are you won’t pick the one method that works best for you at first. Test and see.

And understand that you can transition from one method to another as your circumstances change. For example, the Siesta Method worked well for me in my early 20s. And I even tried a modified Uberman schedule in my early 30s.

What Method Do I Use?

However, these days a Biphasic Plus hybrid works best for me (your experience may vary).

This means I get up as a Night Owl and work for several hours on creative projects (e.g. writing books), including recently updating the forms generated by Website Legal Forms Generator. And I take a catnap mid-afternoon so that I’m refreshed to finish work and spend time with family in the evening.

Are Face-To-Face Meetings Destroying Your Productivity?

By | Time Management

face-to-face meetings

Why Face-To-Face Meetings Should Be Avoided

Whether you own a business or work for one, face-to-face meetings are one of the biggest time vampires you’ll encounter. Rather than meeting in person, you can usually invest that time doing something more productive to grow your company.

Of course, there’s also the risk of getting sick (e.g. the flu or a coronavirus), getting in a car wreck if you have to travel (e.g. business association events), etc. Frankly, there’s rarely an upside to in-person meetings that outweighs the down side.

Just Say No

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, operate from the standpoint of saying “no” to meeting requests. And before you ever agree to an in-person meeting, ask yourself if it’s necessary. While the meeting may be important to someone else, it probably isn’t for you or your business.

If you’re your own boss, chances are you’ll discover the freedom of rejecting 9 face-to-face meetings for every 1 you agree to attend.

Of course, if you report to someone, your ability to say no to face-to-face meetings with your boss is somewhat limited. You can try to educate your boss by recommending you both save time by resolving outstanding issues without an in-person get together. Unfortunately, there are some touchy feely extroverts who insist on meeting in person so that they can both suck up your time and feed off of your energy.

How To Make In-Person Meetings More Productive

Regardless, for those occasions when a face-to-face meeting is necessary, you can still frame the event so that it’s productive. Here are seven business meeting tips to accomplish that.

  1. Applying Parkinson’s Law, time limit the meeting. And stick to that time limit. Because more gets done in less time. If you schedule a meeting last an an extra 30 minutes “just in case,” you’ll stretch out the meeting unnecessarily to fill that time.
  2. Agree upon a written agenda before the meeting. This is often done by an exchange of emails or text messages. Stick to that agenda throughout the meeting unless there’s a true emergency that requires deviation.
  3. Do not have food or beverages during the meeting. Eat your lunch somewhere else. Multitasking this way is an excuse to have a long meeting that’s unproductive.
  4. Ditch the chairs. Everyone should stand during the meeting who are physically able to. Because people who stand are less likely to putz around dragging out a meeting.
  5. Get firm commitments on the next step(s) to be taken for each item, clearly identify who is responsible for each of those steps, and when the tasks should be done.
  6. Follow up with a written recap of what was decided at the meeting so that you’re not having additional meetings to revisit the same issues because memories fade on what’s been decided.
  7. Operate from the standpoint of “no” to suggestions to hold additional meetings. Assume such meetings will be time wasters unless there’s clear evidence to the contrary. And even if an additional meeting might be necessary, ascertain if you need to be there or if you can send someone else in your place.

What About Meetings With Customers

Don’t assume that you have to meet in person with every prospect or customer. Because you’re doing a disservice to everyone even if your competitors do have such meetings.

For example, my business law firm discovered that it saved each client time and money to have a paid phone consultation instead of traveling to an office to meet in-person. It’s a win-win that boosts productivity in the process.

Other attorneys are shocked by this model, particularly when they learn we rarely meet our clients in person. It isn’t necessary for providing the solutions our clients want.

In short, minimize your face-to-face meetings. Just say “no” or send someone else in your place. And if you have to attend a meeting, limit the amount of time you spend at it.

Business Association Events: Why Avoid Them And What To Do Instead

By | Grow Business, Time Management

business association eventsMost business association events are an absolute waste of your time.

Business Association Events Are Fake Work

Because, instead of building your company, you’re engaged in “pretend work” that has no concrete return on investment for the time, money, and energy you spend attending.

It’s easy to think what you’re doing is productive because you’ve networked, learned about new software, caught up on the latest gossip among your competitors, etc. But the payoff is almost nonexistent when it comes to the bottom line…growing your company.

What If You Turn The Event Into A Family Vacation?

Of course, there are personal excuses for going too, particularly when business association events are held in vacation spots (and they often are). After all, you and the whole family can make a vacation out of it if the event is in Las Vegas, Orlando, etc.

In fact, I once justified going to a bar association seminar for business lawyers as a family vacation because it was held in Bermuda.

Yet, other than a few photos, there’s not much to show for the trip. Attending the seminar didn’t build my network or generate new business directly or indirectly.

Now, if you want to take the family to one of these locations for some fun, do so. Just don’t use a trade association or other business event as the bogus reason for going there in the first place. If it’s a family vacation, that’s what it should be only…not business-related.

Am I saying you should never go to a business association gathering?

No. Just avoid those within your profession or trade.

Go To Your Customers’ Events

Instead, you should attend meetings hosted by groups your existing and prospective customers join, i.e. their business association events.

Because it’s at meetings of these customer affinity groups where you’ll learn more about your prospects, build relationships with them, and generate new business…not hanging out with your competitors.

And, if you have the time, you should consider becoming a member of the same affinity groups your customers join. Because it makes you part of their circle instead of someone trying to sell them a product or service.