No really, what are you doing. What do you do every day? I’m not asking to be a smart alec, I’m asking because I hear from entrepreneurs, particularly new entrepreneurs, all the time – what am I supposed to be doing all day?
And surprisingly even seasoned entrepreneurs can get lost in ‘doing’ all day long, but not getting much accomplished.
You see, once you go out on your own, you’ll find that it’s a different experience – not having someone set your schedule and priorities. Giving you deadlines and projects. Sure, all that may be annoying, and exactly the thing you wanted to get away from. But without it, you will have to devise a way to set your own schedule, manage your own goals, and make sure you’re doing the right amount of work on the business vs. in the business.
You’re probably thinking – I’ve heard all that before: work on the business instead of in the business, set goals, don’t get mired down in the small stuff. But that doesn’t really help me with what my daily to dos should look like.
So, in the episode, I’m going to give you an outline, a framework, you can use to keep yourself on track and, most importantly, productive.
Your job, as an entrepreneur, a business owner, a CEO – really only has 3 parts to it. Number one – bring in revenue – because without revenue, you don’t have a business.
Number two – provide the service or product. Now when I say provide the service or product, I don’t necessarily mean you’re actually on the front lines doing that yourself (in fact you shouldn’t be doing it yourself) – your team should be the client’s direct contact. But you have the overall responsibility for seeing that services and products are happening for the client, in the way and timing they expect. In a phrase, you have to be sure they’re getting what you sold them.
And the third part of your job – is to grow the business. Remember, there is no standing still in business. You’re either going forward – growing; or you’re going backward.
So, let’s dig into these three responsibilities a bit more.
Bringing in Revenue sits squarely on your plate. Sure you may have someone that helps you with sales. Heck, if you’re lucky you might even have a full on sales team. But don’t’ fool yourself – almost always, the CEO is the chief rainmaker. You’re probably the one that has all those great relationships that turn into referral business. And even when a cold prospect calls in, you’re probably the one that talks to them about their issue and how your product or service can solve it for them, and make their life better.
You know what they say – no one can sell like the founder.
So, #1 on your list of to dos every day should be some activity that moves you forward on bringing in revenue. It might be something like, building a formal referral program; or turbo boosting your pipeline by building your on and offline marketing. Maybe you start guesting on podcasts, or writing for Medium, or start a YouTube channel or even your own podcast. Digging into speaking opportunities. Collaborating with other entrepreneurs or brands in your space to widen your audience.
Or maybe your pipeline is wide enough (I can’t even imagine that would be true, but OK). In any event, maybe once you get someone in your marketing world, you don’t know what to do with them. Maybe your time is best spent refining how you deal with prospects. Brushing up your engagement sequences, up leveling landing pages, really analyzing your analytics.
Now, again you may not be the person doing the leg work on all these things – but designing the goals of what needs to be done, and developing a process for accomplishing those goals by hiring people, outsourcing, leveraging tech or something else. All that creative development work, well – that’s all you.
Next on the list is Provide Services. Now again, I don’t mean that in the literal sense. But you should be thinking about what services make the most sense (and money) with your target audience. Does your team have the tools and experience to service the clients. If they don’t what should you be thinking about to get them what they need.
Maybe your services don’t resonate in the same way now that they did a few years ago when you first offered them. Maybe the client’s needs have changed, and you need to be thinking of a better way to solve their problems.
All that comes under your responsibility umbrella. Remember, you have a unique view – you can see what the client needs, what your business needs, what your team needs and where you want the business to go. That puts you in a special position to understand how – when you make this change – it’s going to impact those 4 other things.
So, you should be constantly looking at your team and your services, and evaluating whether or not they’re up to the task. And if not, figuring out how to fix it.
“… once you go out on your own, you’ll find that it’s a different experience – not having someone set your schedule and priorities.”
And finally – growing the business. Yep, that’s all you. As the leader, you get to determine the direction the business is going and how you want it to grow. Do you want to go wide – add more services, maybe buy a complimentary company. Or do you want to go deep – become even more specialized, and reimagine your target customer. Move from providing most for many – to providing specific services to a specialized few.
Generally the advantage of going wide is, you have a lot of clients. So if something happens to one – they go out of business, or stop paying on time, or simply leave – it has less of an impact to your overall bottom line. But again, because the fee is less, you’ll need a lot of clients.
On the other hand, if you go deep, well then you’ll charge a significant amount to work with fewer clients in a very specialized way. Obviously the advantage here is that your fee can be significantly higher. And because you’re catering to fewer people, it can make for a bit of a less hectic existence.
But remember, those fewer people will demand more – because they’re paying more. They’re paying for a specialist. So everything you give them has to be a level up. And you’ll have to be able to anticipate their needs and provide for them before they even ask. That’s what a specialist does – they don’t just give you what you thought you were getting (A, B, C) they go above and beyond to X, Y and Z.
So, once you figure out if your growth strategy is wide or deep, then you need to develop an execution plan, and then – well, execute.
OK, so we’ve identified your 3 main responsibilities; bringing in revenue, providing services and growing the business.
One of the ways to organize this is to segment – you can segment your day, or your week or even your month.
Now, don’t forget – it’s still true that little fires will come up and steal your time away during the day. But the way to get around that is to PLAN FOR THEM. Don’t pretend that you’re going to get 15 things checked off your list every day. Realistically, you’ll probably be lucky if you get 3. So plan accordingly.
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Now if you’re going for daily segments – that would mean you take something like growing the business, and each day you block off time to work solely on that task. I have to say, that’s not actually my favorite, I like to segment my week – that way I can stay focused on the task at hand for most of a day.
So, for instance – Monday is bring in revenue day. So I leave the morning open, because – well because there is always some ‘stuff’ that hurls itself in my path on Monday morning. So finally, instead of pretending like it didn’t exist, and getting all stressed out – I just leave Monday mornings to deal with the ‘little fires’. And then I deliberately block off Monday afternoon for my CEO task of bringing in revenue.
Some weeks it might be connecting with our referral partners; and some weeks it might be working on marketing tasks. No matter, Monday afternoon is the bring in revenue block.
And because bringing in revenue is so important, I set up Tuesday the same way. But Tuesday has a more defined role – the specific marketing task I’m doing on Tuesdays is writing scripts and articles. That way, my head stays in the same space throughout, instead of switch tasking.
Wednesday mornings I focus on growing the business. Developing products or new services happen here; or improving what we’re already offering. In fact our HR Quickie, private podcast idea came out of one of these sessions.
Thursdays I meet with the team, so the day is naturally about providing services. And then on Friday I’m back to marketing (it’s so important that I devote most of the week to it). Usually in the form of creating courses.
So there you have it. A framework to help you organize your time in a way that makes the most of your time and talent, AND moves the business ball forward.