A little while ago I asked the crew on the Flying Solo forum what their “top tip” would be for other small business owners (or aspiring small business owners). Today’s post is the second in a series of top tips from soloists. And if you’re flying solo yourself or you’re a small business owner, the Flying Solo website and forum is a wonderful resource. Lots of great tips on the Flying Solo site, lots of lovely people willing to share their knowledge and advice on the forum. Get over there and check them out!
I can’t count how many times I’ve called or walked into a business to be greeted with a grunt or not at all.
I think one of the most important things is to keep on track and keep balance. I live by and also assist my clients with keeping a weekly compass. By this I mean you have a template of a sheet that has the priorities of your life on it. So 1 would normally be partner, 2 family, 3 Big Business, 4 Small business and 5 friends (for example). It does vary for each person.
What you do then is start by going through and ranking each of these sections as to how think you’re sitting with each of these groups. Then go through each section and write just a couple of things you want to achieve with this to improve the rankings. ie.
Partner: it could be as simple as “surprise them with flowers on way home.”
Big business: may be something like a long term project for your business that you need to do some research for by the next week.
Small business: things like, spend an hour this week and re-design that form that’s been driving you nuts.
Friends: could be put a reminder in your calendar to call ‘x’ one day and arrange a catch up.
Once you’ve finished putting all the points down you need to put them in the electronic diary so they pop up and remind you.
Next you need make sure when they do pop up, you do them. We all get crazy busy and if you don’t make things happen, no one else will. This whole process takes half an hour a week and it stops you from hitting that point where you feel like you’re not getting anything done or have no social life etc. Balance is the key to happiness for all of us.
Five Star PA
For keeping organised and remembering everything, I have an A4 spiral bound notebook ruled down the middle of each page that everything gets scribbled into. All phone calls, notes, to-dos; everything. I write the date each day and each item written in gets a line drawn under it and crossed out when it’s completed. This way I not only keep a track of all the fiddly stuff, but I also have a record of what I’ve done, phone numbers, people I’ve spoken to, etc. It’s saved my bacon many times when I’ve been able to go back several months to find a scribbled phone number.
My one tip would be: “get going”. Do the bare minimum amount of research to find out what you need from a licensing or legal standpoint in your industry.
Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your expenses and hold onto your receipts. You have a few months before you’ll have to submit anything to the ATO anyway so worry about it when the time comes.
Create a spreadsheet to keep track of your clients and invoices. Use a notebook to keep track of your tasks. Just scrape together the minimum amount of infrastructure you can and get to work.
The sooner to stop obsessing about business infrastructure and start obsessing about providing a fantastic product or service, the sooner you’ll start making money.
All that other stuff will require attention gradually along the way but don’t worry if your business doesn’t look like a business from day 1.