“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything” Warren Buffett
I was having one of those ‘informal’ coaching sessions, read ‘down the pub’, with a neighbour who runs his own business. He was complaining of being no further on with his business than when he set up 12 years ago. Not a unique conversation, many of my clients start out with the same symptoms.
An easy to adopt solution to this is to create a “Stop doing list”. Most business owners think about creating a “to-do” list, with its endless repetitions of things they could be doing more of for the company to be bigger, better or more profitable.
There’s just as much value in asking yourself, “What needs to go on my ‘stop doing’ list?” When you create such a list, you detach yourself from the tasks that take up time without improving your bottom line.
Over a couple of beers, we came up with the top four habits that need to go on your “stop doing list” if you want to achieve more success:
Working for free.
It all adds up — those little favours, those “quick” phone calls with a potential client who wants to “pick your brain” without hiring you. Pick and choose when you give of your time, without forgetting that for every item you complete when you say yes to someone else, you’re saying “no” to yourself and your business.
The energy that’s taken up by looking at what other businesses are doing and worrying about why your business isn’t further along could be better spent innovating and exploring the issues not being addressed in your industry and how you could provide solutions for them.
Letting the admin slide.
Are you forgetting to invoice clients, letting clients to pay late, restocking supplies at the last minute or not answering emails? When these administrative tasks pile up, you’re less likely to want to do them.
Decide on systems or people that can handle these tasks, outsource them entirely or determine that you’re going to find a way to run your business that doesn’t require them.
When you book meetings or projects back to back or overload your day with things to do, you end up multitasking, becoming sloppy and not putting enough time into self-care. It’s impossible to effectively run a business when you’re rushing. What’s most embarrassing is when the harried nature of your business starts to become noticeable to clients and colleagues. Take a look at my blog on prioritisation, to help!
When a company owner decides what he or she is going to stop doing, the results quickly become apparent. There’s more time and energy for the things that grow the business. Time to inspire workers and leaders and less time spent on those things that are unproductive. Start with just one thing that you’re going to stop doing and work your way from there to achieve more, by doing less!