In 2015 the British Standards Institute carried out a survey of 250 SMEs with between 1-250 employees. The survey revealed that almost 50% of them didn’t feel that their business was operating efficiently.
25% claimed that there was room for improvement and 20% of owners stated that they were involved in every aspect of their business.
It is no wonder that 55% of SMEs don’t survive more than 5 years. Finding the time to grow business is a key concern for many with two thirds of respondents admitting that they found it difficult to grow business due to inefficiency.
So what is it that businesses are missing?
It is possible that President Eisenhower has the simple answer…….
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important”
It might be a simple answer and yet all too often we allow urgent to take over important.
So here is a quick deconstruction of urgent v important, courtesy of Seth Godin:
“Mollifying an angry customer is URGENT, building systems and promises that keep customers from getting angry is IMPORTANT.”
If you take care of the important, the urgent rarely shows up. So deal with the important first!
Also learn to delegate, assign tasks to team members, if you don’t have a team, outsource.
The golden rule to outsourcing is do it before you’re ready, you want to grow your business, outsource the day to day tasks that prevent you from spending time on your business. Yes, that old cliché of balancing working on with working in your business, it keeps popping up, it won’t go away!
One of the reasons that business owners don’t delegate, or act on the important first, is because they don’t have relevant supporting systems in place. This makes juggling priorities around so can deal with the important virtually impossible.
To Do lists that are endless or written and then left to gather dust. Lack of clarity over who is doing what. No continuity to cover holidays or sickness. All recognisable, we have all been there.
Using systems is a great way to create a framework and foundations for efficient working.
In Zoho CRM, for example, you can create tasks assigning a 5 scale priority level, a due date, a 5 stage tracking status and a task owner. We have clients who can go to a meeting and on the train home assign tasks directly to their team relating to that meeting. You can add notes to clarify and also attachments, perhaps a document or a picture – something relevant to the task.
No more scribbling in never returned to notebooks or emails that get lost in amongst the noise. You get a crystal clear, fully tracked task. Juggling priorities becomes that much easier.
With clients, you can create agreements for key next steps and assign them at organisation or individual level. At any given moment you can see where you are with a client, enabling you to avoid or respond swiftly to urgent demands in a positive and calm way.
All this comes with a health warning, the system is reliant on your shifting mindset, until you choose to use the system it cannot work for you.
So why don’t you take inspiration from Marie Forleo’s great advice in this video and get clear on what is important to you and then use systems to help you when juggling priorities.