Part 1 of 2: This is a crazy time of year. There is a balance betweent enjoying the holidays with our families and making money. These two activities don’t need to be mutually exclusive. This is one small business challenge you need to conquer so you can both enjoy the holidays AND make a profit. For many of us, we make a large amount of our income in the fourth quarter so it makes it harder to find a balance when we need it most. If you are BUSY right now, here are four things you can do to survive (check back tomorrow for those of you who are not busy enough right now):
1. Stop to breathe. We have all heard the saying, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Sometimes, we get so focused that we put our head down and try do dig out of the pile of work and we can’t see any other solutions to our workload. If you can set aside a little quiet time to be able to think, you can possibly find different solutions to your problems.
2. Prioritize. Ask yourself if the jobs you are saying yes to are profitable. Can you skip some of the things you have always done to be able to focus on the core of your business? Start with the 20% most important task and do those first every single day.
3. Chunk out tasks. It takes time and energy to switch from a creative task to a production task to a customer-oriented or sales task. If you can cluster like tasks together, you will be more productive and efficient. For example, put all of your production tasks on Mondays. If you are super swamped, turn off the phone and email and only answer those twice a day (noon and end of day). This will get you several dedicated hours in the day to get things done.
4. Say NO. Repeat after me. No, no, no. It was probably your first word yet we have such a hard time saying it as adults. When you are asked to do anything, your stock answer needs to be “ooh sounds fun. I am really crazy right now so let me check my calendar and get back to you within 24 hours.” Then, you take a deep breath and ask yourself: Is this profitable? Can I do it without killing myself? Do I want to do it? If the answer to one or more of these isn’t “yes,” then politely decline. It is always harder to decline when you are put on the spot.
Check back tomorrow for those of you who are not as busy as you would like to be right now!