Good article on getting work done - 7 steps to Better Personal Productivity

Good article on getting work done – 7 steps to Better Personal Productivity

These ideas for getting more done make a lot of sense to me, I think I’ll keep them handy so I can stay on track for the big projects. I’ve done #3 successfully and I’ve victimized myself on #6.

Read the article here.

When I first got into the workforce I had a boss tell me, the distance between good and great is not as far as we like to use for an excuse. I’ve always tried to remember that.

Time to Look at Smart Growth for Your Small Business?

Business owners often get caught in the squeeze between seeing opportunity to grow but not having the resources to hire people or get more space. Managing a small business needs to be a creative process.

If you find yourself in this position (and if not now you certainly will if you grow) spend a few minutes looking at a 3rd party fulfillment service. Think of it as an expansion that you can make without hiring people or signing a big lease.

Take a look here. 

What is Working Capital and why is it Important?

Many small business owners don’t understand or appreciate the need to have a good handle on working capital and how it is generated or consumed by the business. Let’s take 2 examples on opposite ends of the business spectrum.

First a Day Spa. At a day spa the customer comes in, pays for the services and then gets the services – no accounts receivables to collect…no money, no service. Also, a Day Spa sell lots and lots of Gift Certificates. With gift certificates the biz collects $100 for a gift certificate and has the cash for weeks, months, years or even forever before the service is delivered. That’s called negative working capital. I get your money before I incur the cost of providing the service.

Now lets look at an office supply business. A customer calls up, orders 5 cases of paper for delivery at a cost of $200 and the customer wants you to “bill” them. Which means they will pay in about 30 days. This $200 order requires a lot of working capital…you had to buy the paper, pay the driver, pay the person who took the order all BEFORE the customer pays you the $200. All those expenses you had to pay out before the customer paid you needs working capital to pay.

That’s why understanding working capital is critical, if you are in a business that needs working capital to grow you’d better figure out where the working capital is coming from before you start to grow. Many. many profitable businesses have gone out of business because they didn’t account for, and plan for, the working capital needs of the business.

The hard work of un-fooling yourself………..

As I’ve written before, during the 1st quarter of the new year I find myself trying to take extra time to plan and evaluate. Some of this is an natural reaction to reviewing the financials in preparation for filling taxes. Some of it is just my reaction to something I’ve heard or read somewhere.

During a recent walk I was thinking about something I read in a blog article by Michael Hyatt, by the way, if you are unfamiliar with him I recommend his blog. He writes a lot of good stuff about business and some interesting stuff about managing life. In one of his articles he hinted at something that I reformulated for my own use. What I’m talking about is trying to identify the business and personal habits, processes or practices that I automatically assume make sense but on closer investigation I’ll find out the idea either was never a good idea or it’s an idea who’s time has passed.

Once I decided to take a look I couldn’t believe how difficult it is to then decide which things to look at! I decided I’d look back at the prior week for some clues or direction. I had thought that the prior week was really pretty uneventful and not very interesting nor complex. But then I started breaking down the events and connecting the dots it got messy. I’m now convinced that many things are simple but few things are uncomplicated.

I then made the leap of logic that goes like this, “If I’m trying to figure out what I’m fooling myself about, then obviously I’ve already fooled myself and how will I recognize it?” Now what do I do?

It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought. Here’s what I did. I went to someone in our office and asked the brilliantly insightful question, “What do we do that’s dumb?” Much to my surprise (and a bit of disappointment) they didn’t need to think about it at all, nearly before the words came out of my mouth the person had listed 3 things…. bang..bang..bang!

To shorten this post I won’t bore you with the details but here are the results of looking into the 3 things identified for me:

  • #1 –  I didn’t realize we were even still doing it, it was a policy I had put into effect a few years back and it was absolutely redundant. Cancelled.  
  •  #2 – This was an item a service provider required and it is very important, except we had dropped the vendor long ago but kept the process. Cancelled  . 
  • #3 – This is something that actually makes sense but the person didn’t understand why we needed to do it. Once I explained it better the person was on board.

There you have it. This entire process took about 20 minutes and the result – eliminated 2 things that we were wasting money on and helped an associate understand a process they thought was a waste of time. All in all a pretty good return on my investment of 20 minutes.

Moral of the story… If you want to “unfool” yourself you’re probably going to need an opinion other than your own.