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Systems & How-Tos

4 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Are Too Busy

By | CEO Tips, Leadership, Systems & How-Tos, Team & Outsourcing | 3 Comments

“Help me Tina! I’m too busy and something needs to change…”

Young overworked business woman sleeping on floorYou are right – it does. Being too busy isn’t sustainable and doesn’t serve you or your clients. The good news? It’s fixable, so grab your to-do list and ask yourself the following questions.

Question 1: Does this really need to be done? (If yes, now or later?)

We often have things on our to-do lists that either:

  1. don’t need to be done at all – they are ideas, maybes or “wouldn’t it be nice ifs”. They are things we are thinking about, but that we haven’t actually made a firm decision on yet. Ideas are not to-dos – create a separate idea list and get those things off your to-do list!
  2. don’t need to be done now – if you aren’t strategic about planning ahead, then as a default everything on your to-do list feels like it needs to be done NOW. Work through each item and ask yourself – when does this really need to be done? Could it be put off until next week? Maybe even next month? Take your list and put realistic due dates beside each item.

You should be left with a list of things that are actually do in the next week or so – and a list of things that aren’t due yet (or are ideas and are no longer on the list!)

Question 2: Do I need to be the one to do this?

If you are anything like I was for years, as a default you feel like you must do everything. You are good at what you do. You are used to being the one to get it all done, but now things are starting to fall behind and slip through the cracks.

Run through your list again and ask yourself – could someone else do this for me? Be aware of the following when you answer:

  • “Well yes, someone else could do this for me but it’s only me so I have to” If you don’t have anyone working with you right now this could be true, and you also have the power to change. Growth dictates that you will need to hire help at some point – when you do it is up to you.
  • “But no one can do it as well as me – so I have to be the one to do it” This is a dangerous spot to get stuck in, because as long as you believe it to be true, it is… and it could be the thing sucks the life right out of you. Yes, you may be the best at doing something but that doesn’t mean you can’t train another person to be as good as you (or at least close enough 😉 or find someone who does it already and bring them on board.

The goal here is simple – identify the things that others could do for you. It doesn’t mean you have to hire a bunch of people tomorrow, but at the very least you can look to give more to the people you have already and plan ahead for getting more support (which becomes a light at the end of the busy tunnel!)

This second question can be a doozy as it brings up all kinds of stuff for many of us – it can have our inner control freak kicking and screaming! I highly recommend getting the support of a coach or OBM to help you here if you go through your list and still have your name beside every task. An outside eye can often see what you can’t.

Question 3: How can I create more space?

At this point you should have a realistic list of what needs to be done in the next week or so. Now you want to ensure you have the space and time to get it done. Here are two of my favorite tips:

  • Plan ahead –book the time in your schedule to get stuff done. You might book in specific tasks, or you might book in time for types of tasks (ie: writing time, client time).
  • Set boundaries – distraction is the death of productivity. Be it team, clients, family or social media – every time you get distracted it takes you off track, and for many people it happens all day long! Close your door. Turn off your phone and email. Let people know when you aren’t available and when you are. And get really good at saying no (because they will test your boundaries!)

Question 4: Do I need to renegotiate any deadlines?

If you are truly in over your head and can’t get everything done, then you need to revise your deadlines. I get that this sucks and you may hate having to do it, but it’s better for you to own up to something ahead of time vs. having people get upset with you because they are waiting/asking. To simply say to someone “Hey, I got in over my head here and that’s on me. I won’t be able to get X to you until next Monday and wanted to let you know.” Yes, you might need to make concessions for being late if this affects their timelines.

Even if they are frustrated, people will respect you for stepping up and being real with what is going on – and quite often they are OK with adjusted timelines if they know ahead of time.

The beauty of these 4 questions is that you can use them over and again. Every time you find yourself too busy work through this process, and ideally overtime you won’t need to anymore.

Let me know how it goes k?

Embrace your inner control freak, just don’t let her run the show

By | CEO Tips, Leadership, Systems & How-Tos | No Comments

If you are anything like me, you are a bit of a control freak (k, maybe more than a bit 😉

I know too many people who try to fight it – they try not to be a control freak cause they think it’s a bad thing. And yes, if you try to carry too much or shift into micro-managing it can certainly get in the way. But the truth is, your control freakedness is probably a HUGE part of the success you’ve created to date! You have high standards. You want things done a certain way and in a certain timeframe. You are committed to excellence and won’t settle for less! And this is something to honor.

Instead of trying to fight everything that’s worked so well for you to date, what I challenge you to do instead is embrace it… and there is a very strategic way you can do so that I share in today’s new video.

If you sign up for any paid version of Teamwork Projects using this link OR the referral code ‘automateyourgrowth’ at signup I will be paid an affiliate commission, and as such I’d love to give you something in return. I will gift you my 90 Day Systems Setup Guide & Checklist ($497 value) – this takes you step-by-step through setting up your OWN Top 10 Systems within 90 days. Email teamwork@tinaforsyth.com to claim your gift.

Want to see how we use Teamwork Projects in my biz? Check out my Tame the Chaos 90-minute training.

My Biggest Money Mistakes

By | CEO Tips, Leadership, Systems & How-Tos | No Comments

Can we talk money shame for a moment?

“I’m feeling vulnerable, ashamed and like a failure”
“Tina, if I told you the truth about my money situation you would lose respect for me”
“I’m too afraid to look at my numbers – they are out of control”

When I have these conversations with my fellow biz owners it breaks my heart.

There is SOOOO much shame wrapped up in our money. And as long as we keep sweeping it all under the rug, hiding from it (and hiding it from others!) that shame has a hold over us.

I assure you there is nothing that you’ve done that I haven’t done myself (and maybe done multiple times over) I’ve…

  • Spent too much on something (more times than I can count)
  • Cheaped out in areas where I should have invested (and kicked myself later)
  • Been 10’s of thousands of dollars in debt (for years – I just paid off this debt this past May)
  • Didn’t charge enough for something
  • Charged too much for something else
  • Had a loss in my business at year-end more than once
  • Wondered how I was going to pay my bills at the end of the month
  • Wondered where the hell all my money went?! (especially painful when I started making more money)
  • Felt like a fraud because I wasn’t making ‘enough’ money (even though I was well into the 6-figure range)

Money brings up all of our ‘stuff’ – all of our worries, doubts and fears. And we can either get mired in our ‘stuff’ or we can be willing to look it in the eye.

There is no shame in money
but there is TRUTH

Money doesn’t lie. Like the numbers on the scale show us our state of physical health – money tells us the truth about how healthy our business is (or isn’t!).

If your numbers aren’t working for you then something needs to change. What exactly that is will vary from person to person.

  • Maybe you need to tweak your pricing.
  • Maybe you need to improve your sales process.
  • Maybe you need to stop spending too much in the wrong areas (or start spending more in the right areas – which strangely enough can have a HUGE impact on your bottom line.)
  • Maybe you need to stop selling something so you can start selling something new.
  • Maybe you need to learn how to manage your cash-flow and build ‘profit first’ habits (this changed my biz 2 years ago…)

All of these things are fixable if we are willing to get real with our money – to look it in the eye. Even when it’s scary. Even when we feel ashamed – especially then!

Nothing can be fixed without the truth being present. And nothing gets fixed by avoidance, crossing our fingers and hoping the universe will take care of it. (Believe me, I’ve tried 😉

Put simply – this is business. Money is one of the key measures of success in business (not the only one of course.) We all have our ups and downs. We all have moments that ‘pay off’ and others that don’t.

It’s time to ditch the money shame.

To stop beating ourselves up for these choices and look at the truth of what they are – an opportunity to change. To grow. To learn more about what success really is and to commit ourselves to a profitable business. One that we can rely on and be proud of.

If you are ready to stop making money ‘mistakes’ be sure to join me for the first ever Profit First Summer School.

After implementing the Profit First formula I increased my owner’s pay by 30%, paid off 5-figures of debt and – for the first time ever – have 5 figures in a PROFIT savings account…. and I did it all without a big increase to my revenue. After years of sleepless nights I never worry about money anymore.

Profit First changed my business – it can change yours too.
>> Register here <<

Profit First Summer School

How I set my schedule (a behind the scenes peek)

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | 3 Comments

Originally posted on March 12th, 2015.

calendarsnapshot

If you are anything like me, you are constantly juggling all the “stuff that has to get done” with the balance of your life. I’m a single mom of 2 young girls with a rocking biz BUT I refuse to work 24/7.

Here’s how I structure my schedule so that I only work about 30-35 hours a week, have weekends off and ample time to spend with my girls.

First, I book off time throughout the year for:

  • Vacations – this comes first! (if I don’t book these in advance then months will go by without me getting a break, and I get grumpy… just ask my team)
    I also book off the weeks when my girls don’t have school – ie: spring break– when they have a week off we like to head down to our family cabin for some downtime.
  • Events you are leading – if you do events, conferences or retreats as part of your business go ahead and book those out for the year in advance
  • Events you are attending – pop these in your calendar now, including any masterminds you are a part of (assuming you know the dates already)
  • Non call weeks – I spend A LOT of time on the phone, it’s part of my work… and as much as I love connecting with people it takes a lot of energy. One of my mentors suggested making the last week of every month a “call free zone” so that I have a bit of breathing room, time for thinking and bigger projects. Since implementing this I’ve loving come to call this my sanity week. 😉

Now, let’s look at my weekly schedule:

Read More

This might be why you aren’t reaching your goals (it was for me!)

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | 2 Comments

Ever set a goal and not reached it? Silly question, I know it happens to all of us. But what if it keeps happening again and again. And no matter what you try you just can’t seem to reach your goals. That sucks, I’ve been there.

Today’s NEW video is a strategy I learned just a few months back and it has changed the way we set (and achieve!) goals in our company. And best of all, it’s so simple you can start doing it today. OOOO yea!

 

Simply put, you identify 3 levels of achievement for the projects, initiative, etc. you’re working on.
For example, consider one of your new initiatives – a program that you’re launching. For each area of the program launch (number of enrollments, financial goal etc.), identify your Good, Better and Best Goals.

1. Start by selecting a Good Goal – i.e. the number of program enrollments that would make you happy – if you reached this goal, everything would be good (your baseline number).

2. Now identify a Better Goal – i.e. a number of program enrollments that you would be REALLY
happy with – it would be awesome if you hit this goal.

3. Last step – identify the Best Goal – i.e. the number of program enrollments that you would be absolutely ecstatic with – it would be amazing to reach this goal

Do you see how setting these goals can help you feel successful – even if you didn’t reach the Best Goal?

I encourage you to use this for EVERY initiative, program, and product launch etc. in your business. Be sure to share these goals with your team AND celebrate each one as you achieve it.

I’m willing to bet that, until now, you have identified the best possible achievement as your goal. If so, you’re not reaching your goals because you’re striving for the BEST possible achievement instead of celebrating the smaller achievements that really are great ones.

You’re not alone. The majority of entrepreneurs, by default, base their goals on the best possible achievement.

You’re not going to reach your Best goal every time. When you set a Good, Better and Best goal, you give yourself permission celebrate and acknowledge that you ARE creating success (and it’s likely happening more often than you may realize).

Stop the chaos in your business and double your profits in the next 90 days! Check out my ‘From Solopreneur to CEO’ Profit Kit. Click Here to Get Immediate Access

My 3 Favorite New Tools

By | General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | 12 Comments

Is there anything better than finding a great new tool? One that is easy to use and makes your life easier? I’ll freely admit that I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to stuff like this… but I wanted to share with you today 3 tools that we’ve recently starting using and LOVE.

Tool #1: Pipedrive

If you have conversations as part of your enrollment process then you can appreciate the value of a good CRM tool.One that keeps track of all of your people, conversations and follow-up. (If you don’t have good tracking you will lose sales! Simple as that)

Being an Infusionsoft user we have relied on their CRM for years now, and although functional it wasn’t always that “friendly” to use. They don’t have great reporting and it’s never been easy to get an overview of conversations and status.

A friend recommended Pipedrive and we fell in love. Pipedrive is visually appealing – their layout makes it fun to use AND allows you to see the “money on the table”. You can also customize your pipelines and stages to match how YOU like to run your sales process. For the first time ever in my business I feel like we have a real handle on our sales (which is HUGE given that most of our business comes to use via conversations.)

pipedrive

Once we fell in love with Pipedrive we had a bit of a dilemna… which leads me to our next favorite tool.

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Most Important Step in Planning (that you might not be doing)

By | CEO Tips, General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | No Comments

It’s not just about setting goals and having great ideas… there is one key step to creating a solid plan that many entrepreneurs are not doing.

Profit First – Book Review

By | General Biz, Systems & How-Tos | No Comments

Let me give you a cliff notes version of my FAVORITE biz book of 2014… a must read if you want to keep your money.

This book, by far, is my most favorite business book of all time.

It’s called Profit First and it was written by Mike Michalowicz.

You might not know this about me, but I love numbers. In fact, after I got my business degree (20 years ago!), I thought I might become an accountant (after a tax class, I realized it wasn’t for me!).

The truth is I geek out on numbers and I’m pretty in tune with the money coming in and the money going out in my business. However, after reading this book I realized how this book makes managing business numbers and money incredibly easy.

Most business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with numbers. In fact, I did a survey recently and asked the members of my community to share their biggest business challenges and frustrations. One of the biggest challenges shared was “I am not able to pay myself, from my business, what I believe I am worth”.

If you’re living this right now, I can’t help but ask you, if you’re not getting paid what you’re worth by your own business, then what the heck are you doing it all for?

You see, most of us in business follow this general business accounting principle “Sales – Expenses = Profit”. This equation clearly shows why business owners are not paying themselves enough – because there is usually no (or little) money left over after the expenses are paid.

Here’s what I love most about the book Profit First — it turns the old “Sales – Expenses = Profit” principle around to “Sales – Profit = Expenses”. This means, when money comes in the business door, the first thing to get paid is PROFIT, then YOU. Everything else (including expenses) comes after that. Imagine that! YOU get paid before your expenses!

If you’re wondering “How much should I put aside to pay my expenses – i.e. my team members etc.”- check out page 38 of the Profit First book –it tells you exactly what to do with your business revenue. I encourage you to follow this exactly as it’s shared in the book.

A word of warning – following these guidelines may mean you need to make significant changes in the way you manage your business numbers. However, once you get started, you’ll never look back.

In the video above, I share the single piece that I implemented that made the most impact for me and my business. Click play above to hear about it.

Whether you’re new to business or have been at it for a while, this book is REQUIRED reading! Don’t fall into the trap of working your butt off and not having anything to show for it.

Stop the chaos in your business and double your profits in the next 90 days!  Check out my ‘From Solopreneur to CEO’ Profit Kit.  Click Here to Get Immediate Access

3 Simple Steps to Start Documenting Your Processes

By | Systems & How-Tos | 7 Comments

Originally published on July 11, 2013

First, I want to acknowledge that creating an SOP (Standard Operating & Procedures) guide is not the most exciting thing in the world, which is exactly why many businesses don’t have one (or only have part of one). It isn’t my ideal way to spend a day either, but it definitely needs to be done.

It’s like exercise – at first it’s not fun. You have to drag yourself out of bed early to make it to the gym when you really don’t want to. But you do it anyway because you know the payoff is worth it. Although you may never love working out, you get to the point at which it becomes part of your day and it’s no longer such a drag.

Documenting your processes to create your SOP guide are part of a healthy workout for your business. So here are 3 simple steps to get you on your way:

  1. Decide who needs to document the process. Whoever is doing the work is the best person to document the process. If you have been doing most of the work yourself to date, then it’s you. If you have a VA (or two) who has been doing the work, get them to help (and yes, you pay them for this time). This requires a measure of discipline on both sides – you need to demand that they do it as part of their role, and they need to set aside the time to actually do it.
  2. When should you start? Now! The best way to create your SOP guide is “as you go.” You and/or your team can start documenting things as they come up. Don’t try to do it all at once and make it a big project. That’s too stressful and it’s not necessary. Aim for each person to complete at least a few each week.
  3. Decide on the best format. Your SOP guide needs to live online in a place that is accessible to everyone on the team so it’s easy to update. We use the “wiki” feature in Central Desktop to manage our SOP guide. It can be written, audio, video, or a combination thereof. If you do choose audio or video, I do recommend having someone create a written checklist for easy referral (vs. always having to rewatch the video).

If you start today, in a few short weeks you will be well on your way to having an effective SOP guide in place and living happily in your virtual office for all to see.

Want to learn about the systems and tools I use to make my business work without me? Get My Systems Toolkit and Checklists!
Click here to sign up and get immediate access

4 Questions to Ask in Your Weekly Team Check-in

By | Systems & How-Tos, Team & Outsourcing | No Comments

 Originally published July 18, 2013

Whether it is just you and a VA or you have a team of many – it is a good biz management practice to do a check-in with the team at least once a week.

Here is a list of the 4 questions that each person on the team needs to answer (including you!). I recommend having everyone post their answers to a team discussion board (like the one in Central Desktop) at the end of each week.

  1. What did I accomplish this week? – easy peasy, just share what you got done this week.
  2. What did I not accomplish and why? – if there was something on your plate that didn’t get done, let the team know why (shifting priorities, didn’t get what you needed from someone else, etc.).
  3. What do I want to accomplish next week? – share what is on your plate for the coming week.
  4. What I need to do so is… – you may have a question, or perhaps you need something from someone else before you can do your part.

Bam! Just that easy – and so very important for 3 reasons:

  • You and the team get to celebrate! – it is easy to get so caught up in the craziness of our day and everything that we still have to do that sometimes we forget to celebrate what was accomplished. Doing this exercise allows you and the team to see how much was actually done each week.
  • Keeping each other accountable – having each person on the team make a public declaration as to what they want to accomplish each week can really lend the extra “ooomph” that is needed to get stuff done. This goes for you too as the leader of your biz. 😉
  • Peace of mind for YOU – this is a biggie, and is especially important as your business grows. You need to be able to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on each week in the business, and this weekly check-in provides a consistent update in that regard without your having to chase people down.

And it’s worth noting that this can be used as a daily check-in as well if you run a super busy crew and/or if you are in the middle of a busy launch.

Enjoy!

Want to learn about the systems and tools I use to make my business work without me? Get My Systems Toolkit and Checklists!
Click here to sign up and get immediate access

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