Designate a Specific Place for Work
Making a place in your house that is designated just for working has a lot of benefits. First, the distinction between work and home can be good for physical boundaries and mental boundaries. Mental clarity for when you are in work mode versus home mode can greatly improve work satisfaction for those who work at home. Secondly, if you keep all items related to business is the same designated spot, EVEN if it a cluttered office, you know it is in the office and it is not in your living space. Having work materials in living spaces can prevent you from leaving work when you “go home” for the day.
Organize and Store Documents Digitally
Keep records and receipts in the same place. Use an app on your phone to scan these so you can get rid of the physical paper. Less paper means less clutter. Scanning receipts at the end of the day or once a week will keep the clutter from piling up.
Plan Your Day
Organize Your Inbox
- Go through your lists and unsubscribe to anything that you don’t want. I am sure there are a LOT of emails you do not want in your inbox every day. My favorite tool for this is Unroll Me. Check it out here. It rolls up a ton of my advertisements into one big email so I get one email a day rather than 150 of them. It can also help you unsubscribe to newsletters.
- Search by company or address and delete all of those as a way to start cleaning your email up.
- Set up mailbox folders and route certain emails in those folders automatically. I get a lot of purchase receipts from when customers pay and they all go into a specific folder to prevent build up in my inbox.
- Use the Flag system. On my phone, I can star or flag my emails I read that I know I want to reference later or send a response at a later time. This is super helpful when you do get hundreds of emails a day. It is easy to lose track of ones that are time sensitive or important in between a bunch of advertisements, etc.
- Use different emails. I never did this before and I regret it. Use an email to give out for making purchases online so you always know where the receipts go and the advertising emails don’t get sent to your regular email. Keep your work email for work and your home for home things.
Back Up All Electronics and Computers
Business can slow in any industry for a variety of reasons and, sometimes, no reason at all. Retail in 2017, in particular, was very sensitive to changes in costs, the economy and the ever-changing supply and demand. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. No matter what reason business is slow, an increase in sales is always important. Here are some ideas to think about and implement when business is lagging.
Trimming Expenses to Increase Sales
The first thing to do when business is slow is to look at exactly what money is coming in and what is going out. Many times there are unnecessary expenses that can either be diminished or cut out completely. In the age of credit cards and automatic drafts for subscriptions, programs, or supplies can add up if you are not paying attention. When business is good, many business owners do not have time to look at these expenses or feel like money is good so they aren't diligent in looking at those expenses. However, this is a surefire mistake.
A $15 subscription for a service doesn't seem like a lot. But, for example, if you pay for 10 various subscription services when you only actually use or need 5, removing the ones you don't need or aren't necessary can add up to $900 a year! That is a lot of breathing room over time. As business picks up, you may need those services again for efficiency but they will always be there. Take control of your business now so you can increase the sales and put more of your profit to good use rather than unnecessary expenses.
Focus on Marketing, Networking and Social Media Skills to Increase Sales
When business is busy, things such as marketing, networking or maintaining your social media presence can take a hit. If your business is slow, that is the perfect time to reach back out to your current contacts or former customers. As I will talk about in a later post, relationships are essential to a profitable business. Maintaining relationships are essential to a profitable business and a wonderful way to utilize a slow period. It may not increase sales immediately but it is an investment in the growth of your business for the long term.
Social media is constantly changing. And so many customers rely on social media when making decisions on where to spend their money. For example, Facebook no longer allows many of the “baiting” behaviors of the past. Now all users must be conscientious about posting meaningful and authentic content that others want to engage with. This is a great time to get a better game plan to have better content on your social media platforms. This will increase your brand awareness by using cheaper means of marketing to your advantage!
Make a More Strategic Plan Going Forward to Increase Sales
Many times business owners do not put together an encompassing business plan to get their business off the ground. Successful businesses at the beginning usually don't exactly know what is attrutible to their success. Businesses MUST take advantage of slow times to figure out what they are doing right and where they can do better. It is difficult to know how to do things differently if they don't know what did or didn't work previously. Without creating a better plan for the future, it is hard to think sales will increase or business will flourish again.
As I talked previously about “Wandering Entrepreneurs“, entrepreneurs without a sense of purpose or sense of direction fail to get the most out of their businesses. Owners can easily increase sales or increase profitability if more business decisions are made with care and forethought. Most people who win Monopoly on a consistent basis don't just “walk over” the Boardwalk, right?
Ask for Help!
Entrepreneurs are notoriously strong-willed and stubborn. That attitude and personality are how they got to be an entrepreneur. Stubborn people also find it hard to admit when a problem actually exists. Putting your head in the sand and ignoring advice can be the tipping point that takes your business under.
Talk with other entrepreneurs or mentors you know and trust! In fact, most people may not know you are struggling until you reach out. In addition, true entrepreneurs like to help other entrepreneurs out by providing networking connections, experience or advice. Look for those who are more knowledgeable and can give solid advice. Other's experiences can be one of the most valuable assets to increase sales and overall health of your business.
Tools to Help Create Better Consistency in Business
Use a Planning Program to Schedule Social Media Posts
Write Out a Weekly To-Do List
Tell Other People Your Plan So They Can Hold You Accountable
Every adult in the United States has at least one or more problems with happiness, satisfaction, and financial wealth. This leads many people to walk through life on auto-pilot. We only get one life and it is important to make it a good one! Creating happiness is an active idea. One must work at being successful. No one ‘wanders” into success. So many people get tired of working multiple jobs to just make ends meet. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, it is common to see people who have started businesses but don't know how to make them financially successful. The most common problem is not having enough time or energy in a day to do everything they want to. These problems are what prevent people who have amazing potential in business and leadership from realizing that potential and instead continue to be a “wandering entreprenuer”.
What is a “Wandering Entrepreneur”?
I am so glad you asked! According to Google, Wandering is defined as “traveling aimlessly from place to place”. And the word entrepreneur means “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money”.
1. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
How to Be More Deliberate in What You Want Out of Social Media
This book has larger font and is more of a reference book than anything. The takeaways in this are gold nuggets for those who want to be entrepreneurs. Social media can determine a business’s success or failure. 20 years ago, a business had to spend LOTS of money for advertising and marketing. Now, many startups do not even need to spend any money on advertising. Even if they do, it can be a very small amount. If you are a wandering entrepreneur, this book will help you get started doing at least something in the social media world more purposely.
2. Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money Making Machine
Managing money is one of the MOST important tools to go from a wandering entrepreneur to a successful entrepreneur!
3. Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong
Sometimes making mistakes can be the most valuable thing you do to grow yourself and your entrepreneurial skills.
This is by far my favorite book to read so far. Ms. Hadeed shows humility and understanding of how we feel like we are inadequate, in personal relationships or business. By reading her story of how she was able to create a large business from the desire to buy a new pair of expensive jeans I was inspired to get out of my own way. My take away from this book was it’s okay to mess up! And in reality, if you are doing it right, you WILL screw up! It is how you overcome the mess that defines who you really are. She doesn’t explicitly tell you this in the book but she takes every disaster that could have been the demise of her business and once it is resolved uses reflectiveness to determine where it went wrong and how not to make the same mistake.