How many times have you sat down in front of your computer or in your office and just stared at the walls because you just didn't know what to do next. If you're a mom of young children like me, you've probably done it more times than you'd care to admit. And when you did, it probably wasn't long before someone in the house found something for you to do!
But let's say the young ones are out for a while and it's just you trying to figure out how to get your business from where it is now to where you want it to be — generating more cash flow! Sound familiar? If so, then these these simple action items can help you make your cash register ring more.
Identify your core, and build around it. Take the time to actually hone in on the central core of your business. What is it that you do? What is it that you sell? Why do you offer than no one else can match? What's your winning proposition? Once you identify these core foundations, structure your business and your strategy around them.
If you are a professional organizer, build your business structure and activities around helping people get organized. Write articles for blogs and for local publications in your area — everyone can use some help creating more order in their lives. Start your own blog on the topic, contribute your expertise to discussion groups organized around the topic, speak for free at your local public library, start writing your book. As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Do what homebuilders do: lay the foundation and build up and out from there.
Pursue ideal opportunities ONLY. No one can be all things to all people, and yet the most common mistake I see mom business owners make is trying to figure out a way to say “yes” to everyone who calls. If you are a home gardening expert, stick to that and do it well. Heck, you may actually have more than one area of expertise, and if so, stick to them. But don't try to pursue every single opportunity that comes along.
Allowing people to pull you in too many different directions diffuses your impact and marginalizes your circle of influence. Stick to serving people who fit your idea of a model customer. That will keep you busy enough without trying to say “yes” to everyone that shows up in your inbox.
Institutionalize your activities. How many different steps do you take to accomplish routine activities week after week? If it's more than one way, you need to cut some things out. For example, if you accept credit cards as payment in full for a product and someone asks you if they can pay in installments, it may be tempting to allow that. After all, it's a sale and you get the money eventually.
But in reality, adjusting the structure of your business to accommodate such a request will usually be more trouble than it's worth if you are not set up to track payments over time. The idea is to operate your business so that it can all but run itself. Your business may not be completely automated, but the way you do things should be. Make routine business activities as predictable, non-variable and automatic as possible.
- Delegate. What freedom! What exhilaration! There is great joy in delegating tasks that someone else can do more efficiently than you can. I know, I know — you're a do-it-yourselfer and this is your business. That may be true, but unless you learn to delegate, it won't be a business for long because you won't be able to do everything yourself. If you try to, the business will plateau. Yes, it will simply stop growing because you can't be effective at doing everything and still grow profitably.
I once heard someone say, “I'm too busy running my business to actually make any money!” Don't let this happen to you. Delegate some of the tasks that others can do more effectively than you can. You don't have to delegate everything all at once. Remember that small drops of water make a mighty ocean, so start by getting people to do small things for you.
Maybe start with having someone else update your website, help you with social media strategy or edit your newsletter. Perhaps you sell products you make yourself and could use a “helper” to assist you in the manufacturing, packing and/or shipping process. Whatever the case, start by finding small things that someone else can do for a small fee or trade. You'll be glad you did.
As usual, the devil is in the details, right? But if you look closely, you'll quickly see that, once your core is established, it really boils down to being efficient. Building efficiencies into your daily routine will allow you to be more productive because you'll be making the absolute most out of every second of every business day.
Question: What efficiencies do you build into your business to make your cash register ring more?