(This was published in the Sunday Star Times, December 6, 2015 – read it online here.)
There’s one key factor I’ve noticed in the difference between a business that’s constantly going forward and one that’s not, and that’s accountability.
Sure, you have a certain amount of answering to do to your customers, stakeholders, employees and any management you may have, but largely you are left to your own devices.
But it’s easy to allow the non-urgent items on your to-do list to slide if they are overtaken by more pressing matters.
Despite all our best intentions, it can be hard to keep ourselves on track with certain tasks, when no one is holding us accountable.
Most of my business coaching clients know what they should be doing to be better in business, even if they imagine they don’t. Here are two key strategies:
1) Give yourself time to think:
Business nous isn’t the issue for most of us. The problem is finding the time to put into thinking, in a non-distracted way, about what you need to be doing. Make a list of those things that will potentially be game-changers for you and then put those ideas into action. It is the action that really makes the difference.
2) Ask yourself what areas should get your focus to make your business run better:
The best business people are the ones who figure out what it is that will improve their business and then prioritise it to make it happen. Prioritise means being disciplined to put time into it, in a methodical way.
Perhaps, for you, your growth relies on finding new customers for your product. Or maybe it’s exporting your product to a new country. It could be that no one knows about your brand so your marketing campaign needs some attention. Maybe you’re expanding and need the best talent, but in order to attract them you need to work on your workplace culture.
Figure out what it is that would truly make a difference to your business and then hold yourself accountable to achieving that. Don’t make it something to do “some day.”
Some of the most successful people in the world sit down first thing in the morning and work on their biggest, most business-changing priority on their to-do list before they even look at their emails. That way they don’t get distracted by the fire-fighting other issues.
A classic strategy is to check email only twice a day.
So not rocket science but beyond daily consideration to be accountable to update your priorities.
One thing that works best for my clients is the once a week cup of coffee with yourself at the same time, same day every week. My classic line is “Tuesday at 10:30am” which mean you go to sit in your local café, sipping whatever you fancy and use that dedicated hour or two to make progress on things you would not achieve otherwise.
Building in a set time every week to your diary helps you to be accountable to actually do important stuff.
If you need help being held accountable, I urge you to sign up to AccMe.co – get a free 21-day trial now.
William Flesher says
Hi, what you said above is completely true about me, I’ve been in business for 20 years and I have had some good work, but it has got harder mainly over the last 5 – 6 years.
Zac de Silva says
Hi William, it’s so true – you just have to remain focused on the right things, or you can get sidetracked into just being “busy for busy’s sake” eh! Thanks for reading!