One of my favorite books is The EMyth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. The book tells the story of why many small businesses fail and offers suggestions on preventing it. Much of it has to do with systems, or lack thereof. Systems are what can help you take your business to the next level. They enable you to consistently deliver top quality service to your clients always, and from each member of your team. Here are a few suggestions on using systems to help you grow your business and regain or retain balance in you life;
1. Use checklists. NEVER rely on your memory. Sounds simple, but often overlooked. Lists will help you ensure that all activities on a listing or transaction are complete. Checklists are also a great way to communicate with your clients and team members. This will eliminate unnecessary repetition of others on your team. Using them to communicate with clients will also help your clients know exactly what you are doing and where you are on their listing or transaction.
2. Develop a written procedure for all of the activities you do. Document everything from how you input a listing, to how to close out a file after closing. Having a written plan will not only make it simple to hire an assistant, a transaction coordinator or add to your team in the future, it will also give you a reference point to help you discover where your time is being best spent.
3. Devote time for income generating activities DAILY. Don’t overlook the power of this system. Review your business, determine the steps necessary to create the results you want, then daily take steps toward that goal. If it takes you 50 cold calls to generate a new listing, then daily you must set aside time to do these calls. 10 or 20 a day and you’ll be on your way to the results you want. Putting it into your calendar and making it a system will increase the likelihood of these activities getting accomplished. This is where having an assistant or a transaction coordinator can really help minimize the interruptions that come up on other matters which distract you from the business building activities.
4. Focus! Start the day with a plan and stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted by something else as soon as the phone rings, but staying true to your plan will help you grow your business. If you have an article to write, a proposal to prepare, calls to make or anything else that takes focus, turn OFF your email, and tell yourself you will spend the next hour or however much time you think this will take on this activity only. Then focus, focus, focus. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll get done in a shorter period of time without any interruptions or distractions.
One of my clients said she coached a new agent who sends a message to anyone she think may text her when she's making her calls. The text is IGA = Income Generating Activity, then when she is on the phone she knows she won't be disturbed. It also holds her accountable to spend the time she's dedicated to doing her IGA.
5. Don’t get stuck in the day-to-day and confuse busy time for business building time. Many top professionals take one day off a month and work on their business. They do not take calls, emails or any interruptions during this time. They simply work on building their business. Their transaction coordinator handles the files and the rest of the team handles the other activities. When the agent returns they are recharged and have a plan with the activities needed to continue to grow the business.
As a small business owner I am all too familiar with the day-to-day distractions and time zapping activities that come our way. However, in order to grow a business you’ve got to be willing to do a few simple steps to set it up. Remember, most of us started our own business to be freed of the constraints of having a JOB. However, if your business is solely relying on you to make it work, and you are the only one who can do all the activities, than you don’t really have a business, sorry, you have a JOB.
Schedule time to work on your business rather than in it. Spending time developing goals, new systems, and solutions for implementing them is a surefire way to increase your business. Hire a coach or meet with an accountability partner to mastermind the action steps for you to create the business you desire.