Three Keys to Finding the Gold in Your Business

Gold is certainly a hot commodity in today’s economy. Any gold you have is worth more today than it was a year ago. I’ll bet you have some gold you’re not even aware of, right there in your own business. Let’s see if we can find it. If you could make twice the income in half the time, would that be as good as gold to you?
Would that increase the value of your business? Sounds like a marketing rant, doesn’t it? Well, there are three basic underlying truths that, once learned and applied, will allow you to make more money while you work less. Here they are.

Simplify

Spend more time on goal-oriented activities, less on non-essentials. You want your daily activities to be adding value to your business and taking you closer to your goals. Block out specific time on your calendar for these activities and make sure they get done first. E-mail, telephone and personal interruptions steal a lot of time. Dedicate specific time to these tasks also; just work
hard to keep them from interfering with your goal-directed actions and time.
Tasks get simpler when they’re broken down into “baby” steps. When approaching a big or long term project, break it down into small segments that can be worked on and completed within a short time period (a few hours). You’ll gain satisfaction from completing the small task, and will be prepared to take the next step forward.

Tip: One of my clients says it’s much better to start with the easiest step first. That makes the next step seem easy too. Working through from easiest to most difficult prepares him for the level of thinking required at that point.
He said “I used to start with the hardest first, but that didn’t work very well because I was overwhelmed immediately. I had a tendency to put off working on such a project. Now I just do what’s easiest and get started.”

Assignment: Identify at least 3 activities that you know are stealing your time or are non-essential. Plan to allot X amount of time each day (30 minutes to 2 hours) to handle low-priority activities. Focus and schedule your time on activities that lead to your goals. Break them down into tasks that can be accomplished in a short period of time.

Standardize

Standardize repetitive tasks so that much of the work is already done before you start.You use standardized accounting
systems, computer operating systems and communication systems. It makes sense that the rest of your business can apply these same principles also. Let’s say you want to reduce the time you spend preparing a report for clients, which frequently can take you 5 to 7 hours. What are the underlying consistencies that you do each time you complete this task? What interchangeable modules
are appropriate for different circumstances? For each report you’ll start with the basic template and simply apply your thinking and your material where appropriate.
Any function which is repeated frequently can be simplified by identifying its core elements and organizing them to expedite the process. Same money; less time spent. What would it be worth to save 2 or 3 hours of your time on every project?

Assignment: Identify all the “routine” tasks in your business. Determine how you can standardize these tasks so that part of the work is already done each time. Templates, forms and worksheets are a good way to organize and standardize actions. They also help provide assurance that nothing gets lost or dropped.

Systematize

Approach your business as an overall operating system.Is it working at its most efficient or are there bottlenecks and gaps
that steal time and money? Consider the operating systems of your business: marketing, sales, production, delivery, communication (internal and external), customer service/support. What are the core elements in each of these? What is repeated consistently? These core elements (when refined and applied) are the real value of your business. It’s what keeps your business functioning and doing its job. When the systems are working properly you can go on vacation
and know that the work is getting done. It’s what a potential investor or buyer will value. The simpler and more streamlined the process, the faster and less expensive to achieve the result. More for you in less time.

Assignment: Identify which systems in your business are working well? Which could use some attention and refinement? Take those random ideas and actions that happen on a regular basis in your business; corral them, organize them and put them to work in one of your operating systems.

Apply these three principles to your business and I’ll bet this time next
year your business will be worth a whole lot more and your satisfaction level
will be much greater. You’ll know you’ve found gold.