Despite our best efforts, productivity often eludes us in our day-to-day, week-to-week and month-to-month duties – not because we’re lazy or don’t care, but because, as business owners, we’ve simply got so much on our plate that it becomes almost impossible to keep up. Last-minute meetings, new tasks on the to-do list, a sudden catastrophe or crisis that demands immediate attention – there are countless factors that prevent us from meeting our goals for productivity.
Fortunately, there are always tactics to help us prioritize and put the big items where they should be on our agendas. Five of these tips are available from a post at the Intuit Small Business Blog, entitled 5 Things You Can Do Today to Become More Productive and featuring input from mortgage broker and business strategist Kevin Kowalke, who offers a five-step plan.
Here’s one of Mr. Kowalke’s tips:
3. Narrow your focus. Stop wasting time by chasing less-than-ideal opportunities. The classic example, Kowalke says, “is when you accept an invitation to go to a coffee or lunch appointment with someone you have not qualified.” By “qualified” he means determining whether taking the time to meet with the person could lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Why not start out with a 10- to 15-minute phone call vs. giving someone an hour of your time over lunch, plus 20 minutes [each way] driving back and forth to the office?” Kowalke asks. “That is one hour and 40 minutes of waste. You could have made five to eight phone calls during that time.”
In his business as a mortgage broker, Kowalke has made the conscious decision not to do business with customers who are simply shopping around for the best deals on interest rates. The formula that works for him is developing long-term relationships with clients.
“Not every prospect should be your customer,” he says. “Be more selective and stop allowing people to steal your time and energy.”
It would be wonderful (although, admittedly, a lot of work) if every potential customer we met became a paying one, but business simply doesn’t work that way, and there’s really no reason we should try and aim for that 100% success rate – as Mr. Kowalke says, doing do is a waste of your time and energy, which would be better utilized with existing clients.
Yes, thinking long-term can mean less success with leads, but it also means we have a better chance of obtaining quality clients that guarantee repeat business – and not just small jobs here and there, but a full-service relationship. Being patient in this regard can be frustrating, because we might swing and miss more often, but these are the quality leads we want, and patience is a necessary aspect in making sure we get them.
Mr. Kowalke’s five-step plan also covers eliminating tasks, envisioning your ideal scenario, examining wins and losses and taking a break from technology. We’d recommend giving it a read if you’re looking for some ways to improve your overall productivity.
What do you think? Did you find this article useful? Do you have any of your own tips for increasing productivity? Your thoughts are always welcome, so let us know!