Maintaining a balance between work and the rest of your life can be a struggle for many small business owners. It's easy to be consumed by your business, especially if you love your work and you're committed to making your business a success.
And when you're consumed by the day-to-day running of your business, marketing often gets pushed to the back burner. That may seem fine right now while you're swamped with work and clients, but what happens when things slow down and there are no new clients in the marketing pipeline?
This is where many small businesses get into trouble.
So just how do you find time to manage and market your business at the same time?
Here are 10 tips I use to help me balance running and marketing my business at the same time. I hope they'll help you do the same.
1) Be realistic about how much you can do
Pace yourself, reschedule some things if necessary, and perhaps even put a few things off for a few months when you have more time in your schedule.
2) Use a calendar or Day-Timer system to stay organized and record all your appointments and “to do" activities
I use Microsoft Outlook and a Pocket PC. I enter everything I need to do as an appointment. For me, this works better than having a separate “to do" list because it forces me to actually schedule time to get the work done.
3) Prioritize your activities
Put those that help you generate revenue at the top of your list - and this includes marketing. We often get bogged down in administrative or busy-work that either doesn't have to be done right now, or that we could get someone else to do for us.
4) Make sure to schedule time for your marketing and planning activities
These are crucial to the long-term success of your business. Book time in your daily schedule to do them, just as you book client appointments. Then stick to your schedule.
5) Every evening, look at your calendar for the following day
If you need to prepare for a meeting, do it the night before. Know what you need to accomplish each day and be ready to get up and go in the morning.
6) At the end of each day, review your calendar and check off all the activities you completed
If you didn't get to something, move it to the next day you can commit time to getting it done. (And, here's a tip: if you move something more than 4-5 times, it's probably not a priority item and you can push it to the back burner or maybe get rid of it completely).
7) Get some help
For seven years I did everything in my business. I didn't hire help because I didn't think I could afford to. If hiring help means you can spend more time on revenue-producing activities, you'll be able to pay for that help in no time. And, if you're like me, you'll kick yourself for not getting help sooner!
8) Schedule an “exercise" appointment every day
Daily exercise, whether it's a trip to the gym, a 20-minute walk, going for a run, or whatever activity you enjoy, will help you maintain the energy you need to get all your work done. It'll also help boost your immune system so you stay well. I'll admit, I let this one slip sometimes, but every time I get back on track, I feel better about everything.
9) Schedule “me" time, too
Just because you're busy, doesn't mean you should let your personal time go by the wayside. You need that time more than ever now, to rejuvenate and keep your energy up. Book time to relax and read a book, get a monthly massage, spend time with your family, go on a date with your spouse, or whatever you like to do. You'll return to your business with a fresh perspective and attitude that will help you be more successful.
10) Realize something's not going to get done, and be okay with that
Despite all the diligent scheduling, unexpected things will come up, some tasks will take longer than you planned, and you probably won't get to everything. The good news is, if you follow all 10 of these steps, the priority work (that's the work that produces revenue for your business) will get done. You may even find that some of the things you thought HAD to be done, really didn't have to be done after all.
(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa
Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to make marketing your own business as simple as answering 10 questions. Learn more about this unique, step-by-step system and get a free 10-week Marketing E-Course when you subscribe to the free, weekly 10stepmarketing Ezine at http://www.10stepmarketing.com