How to increase your productivity and sales.
As a founder, you know this situation: your calendar is packed. Tasks, meetings and phone calls rush you through the day. Yet you have the strange feeling that you're not really making any progress and are treading water.
You ask yourself if you are on the right track. Have you really focused on the tasks that move your company forward, or have you wasted your time on trivialities and unimportant things?
Time management and productivity are two of the defining issues that every founder has to deal with.
There are simply too many things to take care of, and you quickly get the feeling of being overwhelmed. In principle, it is a question of which activities you should delegate or outsource, and which activities are so important that they require your undivided attention. Therefore, imagine you would value all your activities with an hourly wage.
Therefore, imagine that you would value all your activities with an hourly wage.
Marketing specialist Perry Marshall has described this process in detail in his book 80/20 Marketing.
An 8-hour working day has 480 minutes. During these 480 minutes you will probably perform many different activities. How about valuing each activity with a notional hourly wage. This hourly wage should be measured as accurately as possible according to the value that this activity contributes to the company's revenue.
You will find that certain activities have a higher value, while others have a very low value. Closing a deal with an important client may be valued a hundred times more than tidying or sorting your office. Of course, it is important that even simple tasks are done in a focused and disciplined manner, and a deal requires a lot of preparatory work. Moreover, especially in small businesses, it is often difficult to delegate these activities. However, what is essential for every entrepreneur is the ability to distinguish important from unimportant.
The One Work Week list might look like this.
10€ per hour
Talking to unqualified target customers, office cleaning, cold calling, preparing travel expense reports, tidying up or sorting documents.
100€ per hour
Solving a problem for an existing or a new customer, a conversation with a qualified new customer or a producer, small product improvements, writing an email to target customers or clients, following up a customer phone call....
1000€ per hour
Negotiating/sales pitch to a qualified target customer,Building a sales funnel,Planning a realistic budget, Product development, Evaluating marketing tests, Writing sales copy, Photoshoot.
10000€ per hour
Improving your USP, creating new and better offers, establishing systems, negotiating major contracts, selecting team members, establishing values and company culture, partner discussions.
Of course, the hourly values given are arbitrary and the exact value of an hour cannot be determined exactly. The hourly values also vary greatly depending on the business model, but the principle should be clear. There is extreme difference between a €10,000 hour and a €10 hour.
The 80/20 rule
You have probably heard of the 80/20 or Pareto rule, which states that a small (20%) proportion of activities is responsible for a large proportion (80%) of the results. In this blog post we have already briefly written about the 80/20 phenomenon, a more detailed description with interesting comments can be found in this post.
It seems logical that as an entrepreneur you should increase the proportion of activities that guarantee a high return per hour. Those tasks that score low should be delegated, outsourced or eliminated first. However, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of outsourcing very valuable tasks and taking on simple tasks such as office cleaning themselves. This is mainly due to the tendency to evaluate activities according to the pleasure principle: everyone knows the areas they don't like and are not comfortable with. Many founders outsource these areas and the management literature often recommends concentrating on one's strengths and delegating the weaknesses. This approach may be relevant for established companies that have staffed all the important areas with experienced employees, but for founders and start-ups it is vital to understand the relevant areas even if you hate them.A fitting quote is: Life begins beyond your comfort zone (Nealle Donald Walsh).
To get clarity about the activities you do, we recommend that you record all activities for one week. Then you should list the activities in a table as above. Think carefully about which activities really create value. Pay special attention to the value-creating activities that are unpleasant for you and think about how you can control and master them.
Now you should consider which low-value activities you can outsource. Finally, an important tip: It takes time and energy to change habits in the long term. Therefore, especially in the beginning, don't take on too much and take it one step at a time. We wish you every success.