Growing Your Business Without Growing Your Headaches
Part 2 – Batching Your Way to Success
So how do you focus on what is important when all the daily tasks of running a business are gobbling up your time?
The three things that prevent you from being focused on what is important to grow your business is: 1) constant interruptions, 2) never ending email 3) continual flow of phone calls
People always are proud to say they can multi-task but in actuality the most successful people are those that can focus their time and energies on one task at a time before moving on to the next one.
So what can you do to make a real impact on your business today?
So this is how I focus.
Monday’s and Fridays I never schedule appointments with clients or staff. Mondays are for putting out fires from the weekend and getting my week organized. Fridays are for me to catch up with the few things that kept getting pushed to the next day.
Then Tuesday through Thursday I do not make any appointments before 11:00am. By blocking my time I am able to focus on specific tasks. I do my most important work in the morning before I even check email. (if you check email first you will get sucked in and before you know it the clock says 12:00 noon.)
You can block your email and phone time. Put an autoreply on both that state, “to better serve my clients I read/check email/voicemail and respond to email/voicemail daily at 11:00am and 3:00pm.” Then you have to do it. I actually write on my calendar to check emails, check voicemail and return calls at specific times. If you actually return calls when you say you will people will wait for the call. I also calendar phone calls like meetings with Owners, prospects etc.
Never feel like you have to answer the ringing phone. Let it go. You will return the calls when you said you would and in the meantime you actually got work done. I have learned to manage people instead of letting them manage me. If a prospect calls inquiring about business and I am working on a project I will call them back at the time specified and acknowledge their call and let them know I am in the middle of a project but what is a good time for us to speak so I can focus on their needs. I make the appointment and then call them on time. I set aside that time to focus on them. I also never jump for someone else’s emergency. We have all had a prospect call and say I am in town at my property can you come look at it I want to hire property management. I will tell them I am sorry I am fully booked but can meet with them tomorrow, or the next time they are in town. Why do I pass on this prospect? They aren’t the type of client I want to work with. They expect me to jump for them at their bidding and their time. What will they be like when they are a client and expect me to jump at their beckoning? I also see it as a sign of disrespect. They aren’t respecting my time as a professional. From past experience these types of people just want to get info from you and will not end up hiring you anyway. However, if you want to test their sincerity you can tell them you charge X amount to consult and if they hire you then you will credit the consulting fee to their account.
I also never book more than 2 showings per day. I will show a property 2 times per week when empty and 1 time per week when tenant occupied. I only show properties by appointment on weekends and only 1 day either Saturday or Sunday and either in morning or afternoon. I am not going to work every weekend. Some companies check out keys to prospects and that is one way to manage your time. I personally like to show properties it is part of my screening process.
On my daily calendar I never have more than 2 appointments per day. This allows for those unexpected visits from Owners or Tenants or potential prospects without throwing your entire day off. It also allows for emergencies to happen and you are able to just go with the flow.
Have checklists for everything so that if you do get interrupted you are able to get back to what you were doing more quickly. Have procedures in place for all the things you do over and over again so you aren’t having to create the wheel from scratch each time. I have a folder called Sample Letters and they are templates that I just modify and use again and again.
At the end of every day my desk is clean, my inbox is ready for the next day. I have reviewed my calendar and confirmed my appointments for the next day. I already know what I am going to do the following morning when I arrive in the office.
In summary you need to know your end-game then work towards it. If you grow just to grow you will never celebrate the milestones and you will burnout and possibly make less money than when you were a one person shop.
Be focused in everything you do. Block your time so you work on one thing at a time. It also will allow you to be able to absorb the emergencies and the pop-ins that happen regularly. I love seeing my clients and I want them to feel I always have time for them so create the time in your schedule.
Try the phone and email batching and see how much time is freed up for other more important tasks.
The most important thing to do as a business owner is to build the business and get new clients and then make sure they are taken care of. I am a firm believer in making a profit. I am not ashamed for being profitable because it allows me to live a good life, save for retirement, hire local people in my community and provide a valuable service to Owners and Tenants alike.
Success breeds success. You become successful by being organized and focused on important tasks. I read voraciously and one of the best reads for me has been The One Thing, by Gary Keller. The entire premise of the book is to focus on one thing at a time. That is what he did and it catapulted Keller Williams Real Estate into one of the largest and most successful companies in the industry.
Try just one recommendation here for a week and let me know how it worked for you.
Hope to see you with that Margarita enjoying some new found free time.