Entrepreneurs are often looking for “the one thing” that will make their business successful. Business owners everywhere are searching for the same magic bullet that will revolutionise what they do.
The truth is there is very rarely one thing that will have that big effect that they are hoping for. In the world of sport, the best athletes are continually looking at making many small changes, some are very tiny indeed. I remember when asked why the British cycling team had become successful it was mentioned that the way the cyclists had been trained how to wash their hands had an impact. Yes, you read it right. By washing their hands properly the team caught fewer colds and other illnesses which meant less lost training days and recovery time. A small change but it all added up with the other measures to remarkable results.
In your business, the same principle can be true. Look at the things you do. Where can you do things better, quicker, more precise, give your clients better value and so forth? There will no doubt be many small changes that you can make.
Don’t rest on your laurels
Just as the athletes don’t stop looking for those small improvements it will be necessary for you to do the same in your business. You might find that because we are all human some of the previous changes made have lapsed and people have gone back to their old ways. It will be necessary to continually review your business and make sure that you keep making those small changes and reimplementing any that have been dropped.
Small changes are the way to grow your business and will have a big effect. Be aware though that sometimes even though the changes required can be viewed as small they can be hard to achieve. This is especially true where people are required to do something a little different to what they are used to. People are often resistant to change and you will need to factor this into getting those small changes accomplished.
Wishing you success!
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Problem or Challenge
One of the things that motivational speakers and the “positive manager” will say is … “There are no problems, there are only challenges!”
Whether something is a problem or a challenge can certainly in some instances be classified by the way that we view it. For example if you are in business and sales are not going well you could say that is a problem or turn it around to so that this is a challenge to increase sales. If such a thing is viewed as a problem it can have a negative effect on the workforce whereas treating it as a challenge is a much more positive way of dealing with the situation.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Problem or Challenge be Realistic
Whilst we may all wish to be positive in our outlook it can be very annoying when managers no matter what the situation tell their employees it’s not a problem but rather it’s a challenge. Why is that? The truth of the matter is simple. There are some things that are indeed problems. Let’s illustrate.
Imagine you are in a boat at sea, maybe a life raft. Your fresh water supply has run out. Now imagine you are in that life raft with one of the positive minded managers you know. He says “Now we have no fresh water so this is a challenge”. Oh no it’s not – it’s a problem. You have no water and there is no way that you can get any fresh water – this is a problem. If you were at the office and the water supply went off that could be a challenge because you should be able to go and get water elsewhere, it could be difficult particularly if you needed lots of water. However it could be possible and within your control or ability to arrange.
Problem or Challenge Personal Health
The same can be said when it comes to our personal health. Some things are a huge problem others present challenges but we must always be aware that people do have problems. We don’t want to try and simplify them to some kind of challenge. This is at the very least disingenuous and really does not encourage a person with ill health.
It’s good to have a positive spirit and taking on challenges and beating them is good as well as problem solving. However we need to be realistic and not sound stupid by minimizing serious issues to some kind of fun challenge. It will undermine our own credibility.
How do you view things – as problems or challenges? Or are you realistic and can see that there are differences? Please leave a comment below on how you view a problem or challenge.
“Don’t squander time for that is the stuff life is life is made of” – Benjamin Franklin
Yes, time is important. We all have each day 24 hours at our disposal. Some of which we need to sleep, eat and care for ourselves in other ways. What do you do with the remaining hours? For some many hours are wasted beyond what would be needed for essential recreation.
However even at work there are times when we can waste an inordinate amount of time on non essential matters. I call these distractions Time Bandits and here are just some of them: email, non business phone calls, Twitter, Facebook, Ebay, text messages and more. With so many distractions there is always the temptation to be sidetracked from the task in hand.
You may well have your computer set to notify you when a new email arrives or a new tweet is for you. Do you immediately stop what you are doing to check it? Although this may only take a moment one thing is sure and that is that all those moments add up. The best way to avoid this is to switch off notifiers and have set times each day when you check your email or tweets. Email could be checked just 2 or 3 times a day depending how you use email. If you get orders by email you may choose to have more frequent checks.
Here are some other ways to save time. It is good to set up a task / to do list each day and make sure that you stick to that list except for real emergencies that require your attention. Use a diary to plan appointments and avoid excessive travel. Where possible delegate tasks to others so that you can free your time for the more important things.
If you work from home set up an area of your home as an office and avoid TV and other distractions. Have a separate business phone line and don’t give it out to your friends. Some friends seem to think that because you work from home you are available to talk to during working hours and if you are self employed that you can take time off whenever you wish. Oh – if only that were true! Make it clear that you are working and to ask them to call you outside working hours (politely of course!).
There are many time bandits that will steal our time and it does take self discipline and a good routine to avoid them. Please share your experiences on managing your time by commenting in the box below.
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