I AM Going to Do That Better This Year
BIT 2016 Spring Edition
As we look at your practice through the eyes you, the owner, we’ll explore four key areas that you should always be managing: Doing the work, Learning and developing, managing your business and marketing and sales. You’ll start to notice our whole world fits nicely into one of these four buckets, most of the time.
We’re just over a month and a half into 2016. Have you got those things in place to be better this year than in the past? Yes, we all start out with a renewed sense of health, good eating, being more self-aware and even more motivated and ready to set up for success. Then the reality of “finishing up last year” sets in, having to collect up information for tax preparation, chasing down addresses or receipts, and frankly, how can you get organized for 2016 with your tiny bit of spare time focused on the must get done stuff to get rid of 2015? By the time you get to it, it’ll be June! Well let’s be sure to make just a few quick habits to MOVE TOWARDS getting better in 2016.
1. We all rely on our calendars in different ways. One new approach to think about for the new year, getting our time set so we ENSURE OURSELVES the work life balance we want to stride for.
Have you set your calendar up for 2016? Get your holds on there for annual leave, even if its up in the air, you can adjust accordingly, but this is important to make sure you’re not crowding your calendar out once you start to fill in with client needs. Do it now, so it’s a target to get planning. Back in a few half hour slots to call a travel agent or start a family email chain to get things rolling. Be sure to think about family events, graduations, important birthdays or even a half a day for holiday shopping. Your scheduled time simply gives you the flexibility to use what time you have without neglecting the important parts of your work life balance needs. You can’t holiday shop at 4am easily, but you can get up early to finish a report because that afternoon you’re going shopping. How wonderful would it be if you actually had an article or blog ready to hand in on request of an opportunity? Pretty great! Put an hour a week to do some writing, some reading or some care calling. While we’re scheduling reoccurring apt’s on the calendar, lets set a few good habits by getting the time set for administrative work like billing clients, checking on receivables, paying your own bills and catching up on accounting. By alleviating a little bit of that urgency, and feeling of always working or always behind you can keep your life balancing better, and that’s all anyone can ask for.
2. Now the things you have to do. An annoyance for anyone is how to manage receipts, making sure things are paid and you’re remembering to do what you need later. One quick change is to download an app for receipts for your smart phone. Like what Expensify or OneReceipt. These apps quickly allow you to snap a picture or forward an email to your account, filing, dating and even tagging the expense to pull it at year end or for an expense submission. No paper, no shoebox, no organizing later. If you need to collect them up for a few weeks, then see #1 above to get it done. Also, you can check out Mint.com or Hourstracker in the App Store. Both are different tools we have tried, used to keep you organized. Hourstracker and similar apps are good if you’re looking to keep better track of your project hours (the 20 min call in the car you always forget to bill) and Mint can help you see your finances overall (multiple accounts, deposits, credit accounts) and be sure you’re not missing anything big (like a double charge from an airline) and reminding you when you have something coming up (like paying a statement bill to avoid those pesky late fees).
3. Scan your folders or dump a list from accounting, and quickly make a SHORT LIST of clients you haven’t talk to in 6-12 months or more. Maybe it was a short project 2 years go. Quite an easy way to reach out is send an email or a text. And if you want to give it a purpose or call to action, other than saying “hello”, offer up an idea or two. One small bite suggestion is an assessment-something like Insights, Meyers Briggs, Everything DiSC, or whatever your tool of choice might be. We like using DiSC since we’re a distributor, but they are all good and have great impacts on clients. A refresher team session or a new family group education add to the next family meeting can re-engage you and lead to a renewed relationship with an old client or another opportunity all together just by saying hello. If your short list is more than short, break it up into 3 or 4 per month, and be sure to see #1 above so it gets done!
4. Giving presentations is part of what we do, for marketing, talks, education, conferences and so on. We have heard and practiced the do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint, not too much text, big pictures and bullets of main topics, not too many slides, not to busy, not, not, not. Let’s think about being in that audience, what would even be BETTER than staring at slides? Maybe being involved, entertained, surprised even. There are so MANY ways to spice up your same old presentation, and guess what, if you’re not doing something new, you are as memorable as the student teacher in your sophomore year of college, using the SAME technique 20 (or more) years later. A real simple software to use Prezi, its free, easy to use, and like a PPT, lets you put information in a logical order. The twist is it pulls info in and out of screen view with motion, along a sort of path or timeline, giving a feeling of movement and interaction to the words and pictures you show. Another similar one is Sway, a Microsoft specific interactive presentation tool. Both essentially allow you to pull in pictures, graphics and audio and put them in motion versus showing them on a flat square slide repeated. Another idea is PollEverywhere.com. Now this is useful, a tool that allows you to present your audience with a question, and get the answers live from them by a text message, tallying on the screen in seconds. It is a little tricky to learn, but super powerful to use. There are a few others out there with the same purpose, poll and audience live and show them what the people in the room think! So check out a few new ways to share information with your audience. Be more daring, be better at using something new and refreshing in your next presentation. And see #1 above to be sure you give yourself the time to get comfortable with the technology. Just as foreign as your smart phone was, this in time will become your best partner in creating better and more interesting presentations.
Well that’s our tips for this BIT. Always feel free to reach out to us with any comments, questions or suggestions. Rely works with and for independent professionals and so we need you to get better too!