After a brief hiatus, The Weekly “Tuesday Top 5″ is back (hey, give me a break, business is on fire here!)
Some of the qualities that I value most in business are: clarity and focus. This is the impetus for the Tuesday Top 5: it is my attempt to provide some nuggets for you to use right away. If you have noticed from my prior posts, I am a very action oriented person. Having something clear and concise to work with does wonders for my psyche.
Many entrepreneurs start their businesses part time. They work a full time job and run their business at night, from home and through email and cell phone calls during the workweek. What I want to do is to give some practical guidance that will help part-time entrepreneurs be more productive so they can drive revenues higher and fire the boss once and for all.
1. Delegate non-marketing/sales functions
As an entrepreneur and small business owner, marketing is the single most important activity that you will undertake. Therefore, you should start outsourcing any activities that prevent you from spending 75%-80% of your time on marketing and selling. Some of these activities include: accounting/bookkeeping, payroll/human resource management, order fulfillment, inventory management, logistics, etc.
You will find these areas to have more redundancies and you can make them system and process dependent much faster and easier as a small business than the marketing and sales functions.
2. Go for quality over quantity
I often talk about using ‘best cost’ providers instead of ‘lowest cost’ providers. What does this mean? It means that you need to chose service providers that give you the best ‘bang for your buck’ – in terms of price, turnaround time, quality and professionalism and communication. The level to which you ignore this principle will directly correlate to dollars drained out of your bank account. Trust me.
3. Use a consistent method of communication
Chose a communication medium that works well for you and your service provider. Examples are: email, private message board and instant messaging services. I strongly advice you to use the same communication method for all interactions with your service provider. This will come in handy if there are ever any issues or problems because you can refer back to prior conversations to sort out any problems in communication or instructions or feedback.
4. Use escrow payment methods with your service providers
Escrow payment methods can provide protection for you if you feel that your service provider has not performed to the agreed upon terms and metrics. Websites like elance and guru provide this service for free and also provide a good website community.
5. Don’t be afraid to fire your providers
You must demand that your service providers perform to your expectations. Make sure you outline your expectations and performance requirements at the beginning of the business relationship. If your system breaks down with an outsourcing vendor that you are using make sure you fire them right away. After all, you are paying them – not the other way around. There is a big world of potential providers
Remember: always focus on revenue generating activities. As an entrepreneur you have to relentlessly focus on your top line and managing your cash flow. Far too many start-up businesses put the brakes on marketing and sales only to see their pipeline dry up at the most inopportune times. Keep stoking the fire.
The Top 5 for today should give you some serious ammunition that will allow you to focus more on sales and marketing. Don’t forsake this aspect of your business. To me, outsourcing is the best weapon that entrepreneurs to focus on the truly important aspects of building a business.
Here is an example of what I am talking about in action in our real estate investing business:
Our revenue generating activities surround providing both experienced and new real estate investors the best deals that fit their financial parameters and investing goals. Our daily activities focus on obtaining new investor relationships and cultivating existing relationships.
As you might guess, there can be a lot of paperwork and administrative overhead involved with real estate. It is very easy (I know from experience) to get bogged down in the process of buying and selling houses (not our business) instead of focusing on the people (this is our business). Our business is about helping people achieve their wealth accumulation goals through real estate investing. Therefore, we outsource any function we can that does not help us reach more people and bring them closer to what they need with real estate.
Since technology has opened the floodgates of globalization, we can focus more and more on helping our clients. This has the added benefit of increasing our productivity and standard of living (we can work from anywhere if we choose).
My challenge to you is to implement today’s Top 5 with gusto. Give me your feedback and make sure you email me with questions or problems you have in the process.