By Ben Hanback, EO Nashville member and president of The Hanback Group
How many times at the end of the day or the week do you come up for air and think “What in the world have I accomplished?” Time flies and the race to get ahead is faster than ever, so here are five quick and easy ways to stay ahead of the competition.
1. Write at least one hand-written note a week to thank a customer or client. There’s nothing more important than building solid, long-term relationships with your clients. And, there’s no simpler way to do that than with a personal note. Most folks will tell you they’re too busy…too busy doing what? It takes two minutes and will have a long-lasting impact. I often will see my notes at people’s desk or on their fridge – it means a lot.
2. Turn an unexpected cancellation into an opportunity for long-term business planning. If I retained one thing from business school, it was the rules of goal setting. Those goals must be attainable, written down, and reviewed. An unexpected cancellation can create a space in your schedule perfect to review those goals once again. A recent flight cancellation found me back at the office reviewing my business plan and prospect list for 2013 – a great use of my time.
3. Delegate. Ask yourself at any given point, “What’s the best use of my time at this very moment?” Most of the time you’ll find you’re doing something that could easily be delegated. Take advantage of handing over tasks – it could provide you with the space you need to move your business along more productively. I spend a tremendous amount of time tracking revenue and recently passed that off to my accountant and now I receive a dashboard report that frees me up for more important tasks.
4. Make your worst phone call by 10 am. No matter what your role is in business, each day brings a phone call that no one wants to make. Make that phone call early in the day, and you can move ahead with your afternoon. You may even find the call simply wasn’t as bad as you feared. I heard this called “eating your frogs” as well.
5. Learn how to say “NO.” When you’re trying to stay productive, unexpected opportunities can quickly turn into distractions, pulling you away from your ultimate business goal. Don’t be afraid to say “no.” I had an opportunity to be part of a discussion panel recently that I realized would take several hours planning for – I said no. I brought my focus back to the work that’s absolutely essential to growing my business and profitability.