Busy, busy, busy ... And what to do about it! Part 2
One of the words I heard a lot in December was BUSY .. Lots of small businesses have been feeling the overwhelm, the pressure of Christmas deadlines and client needs. The break over Christmas has made people realise how crazy it's been. If this rings true with you then read on...
This is an unsustainable way to run a business and quite frankly something WILL break, be it you, your health, missing a deadline, not getting the balance in your life you want etc. So, what can you do about? My top 4 areas to look at are:
Client / Stockist review
Last week I looked at the first two and this week I am looking at the second two:
Client /stockist list review
If you supply product to stockists as well as selling online then look at who your physical stockists are, how much of your stock do they hold? What is the monetary value of the sales you get from them compared to the costs involved? I bet there are some that hold stock that you make but only sell a few pieces a month and that in reality you could have those items on your website and sell more easily and for more return too!
If you run a service based business, look at the number of clients you have and the fees you charge. There will undoubtedly be some clients who are on the wrong package, the wrong rate, or just don't fit the direction you want to take your business in. Set up 3 lists: keep, ditch, review. The first two lists are obvious ... they are the definite clients you want to work with and the ones you don’t want to work with anymore and you need to part ways with. The review list is for those in between, the If they paid a bit more it would be fine, if they did xyz it would be fine, etc.
The first step is to look at your keep list and see if this gives you sufficient income and If the work load fits. If it does ... Awesome! The review list can go too. If not, then it's time to look in more depth at the review list. As I said above, the review list is the in between clients who if they paid more would be keepers, who if they did xyz would be keepers, or anything else that you might classify them as. So, how likely are these? Then talk to these clients, put fees up (some will say yes, some will say no and leave), tell clients they need to do xyz in order to keep working with you (some will say yes and do it, some will say yes and not do it, some will say no and leave).
Review what your left with ...does it now fit? Yes, great! No, then critically look at your review list for those that need immediate action but otherwise put up with them for but longer and regularly review whilst you actively week new work that is the right work, the right fee and the right client and operate one in, one out (match by fee so it might be one in, two out!).
OK, it took me a long time to get to this and I should have done it sooner but look at the jobs in your business that you hate doing: bookkeeping, social media, admin etc. But don’t just look inside the business, look at the jobs outside of the business you hate doing: cleaning, ironing, grocery shopping. Now, order these from really hate at the top to "not too bad, I suppose" at the bottom. Work out how long these take to do each week and what else could you do with that time. Then starting at the top of your list draw up job specs for the top 3 and look for quotes for this work ... I've blogged on return on investment and outsourcing before and you can read it here you can then assess if this is the way forward for your business.