Step X

What’s an important step often missed in small business?

The Budget!

Step one is usually all transactions being tracked (revenue, expenses, banking). Step two is typically seeing a statement to know the profit or loss position of the business (revenue less expenses).  Next, I highly recommend step three include a budget and forecast.

“The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations” – Jacob Lew

Do you use a budget?

If you use a budget, how often do you check back by comparing the actual results to your budget?

Budgeting provides an opportunity to set goals and dictate the direction you want your business to go. It’s understanding the financial position of your business and being a proactive business owner as opposed to reactionary. This may not be a step that you do personally, but I do suggest being involved by asking questions, providing insight and understanding the overall picture.

These are living documents and should be looked at often, likely monthly, and timely, meaning shortly after the close of each month. Providing an opportunity to strategize on a regular basis and pivot when necessary.

What’s one thing you wish you had more of?

Time

You’re operating with clients or patients every day. But there is a lot behind the scenes that still has to be done. Do you cringe every time you use the word administration? There’s receipts, accounting, paying bills and much more.

Administration does make it sound a bit horrible. I like to call it financial management. It’s putting systems and routine in place to make your life easier and your business run smoother, which frees up more time.

Then one step further, you’re using that information to be strategic, provide direction and be intentional.

Use your time wisely!

Why I do What I do

I’m often questioned about what I’m doing. Instead of what I’m doing, I like to discuss why I’m doing it.

I had the privilege of spending a morning this week with a great client and it was very energizing. I was able to break down how financial information can be simplified and organized. How it can be used efficiently for taxes. How spending and revenue can be looked at in different ways to understand patterns and trends. How it can be organized into a budget and projected out into the next year or more. It doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. Using your financial information and using it timely can be such a powerful tool as a business owner.

It’s an amazing feeling walking away knowing that I made a positive impact to a professional’s practice. That’s why I do what I do!

 

A Fresh Start

Happy Friday and happy first day of February! What practices have you incorporated into your schedule that keep you grounded and recharged? Down time is just as important as the hustle. I get the opportunity to join a group of amazing women on the first of every month to catch up, unwind and gear up for a new month ahead. We actually call it “Fresh Start” and I look forward to it every month. Work hard, then play hard. Make time for yourself a priority! Here’s to a great month ahead.

Strategizing Your Year

Six Steps to Create Clear Goals for 2019

January is already coming to a close. How did that happen? We might be a month into the year and that’s okay! I’m guessing you’ve been brainstorming about the year ahead and now is a good time to write things down and finalize your goals and strategy for 2019.

I like to talk about goals a little differently. Try to think of goals in three main aspects of your life; you as a person, you as a professional and you as a business owner. Person. Profession. Business. Why? All three areas overlap and you cannot separate You from your business. How powerful is that? Here are six steps to help you strategize your year and build clear goals for 2019.

 1) Choose Your Themes:

Using these three aspects, Person, Profession and Business, what are strong overarching themes that keep coming to mind that will help you get closer to where you want to be? Ask yourself a lot of questions like: What areas need work? What do I need or want? What am I excited about? What would I like to accomplish? Who do I want to be? What or how do I want to grow? What would move the needle for my business? Don’t overthink it. You already have a good idea of what you need to work on.

For my goals, I keep coming back to these themes for 2019:

  • Person – Connection, Health, Projects

  • Profession – Network, Clients, Learn

  • Business – Strategy, Content, Consistency

2) Create Your Goals:

After choosing your themes to focus on under Person, Profession and Business, now it’s time to go deeper into creating an actual goal to support these themes. For example, as a Professional I believe it’s important to continually learn. I plan to continue to read books and articles, watch webinars, attend events and ask questions. More specifically, I’d like to ensure I have less time on Netflix, binge watching Suits, and more time reading. So, my goal is to commit to reading 1 book per month in 2019 to build on my theme to Learn. The key is to be as specific as you can.

3) Attach Actions Items:

Listing goals can be overwhelming as it starts to add up when looking at all three aspects of your life. It’s also exciting and motivating! Breaking goals down into manageable bite-sized action items will reduce feeling overwhelmed. Going back to my example of learning, reading a book cover to cover over the weekend with a warm cup of coffee has been a thing of the past with young and busy kids. So, I plan to schedule reading every Wednesday and Sunday night in order to accomplish 1 book per month. Attaching the action of 2 nights per week and scheduling it in my calendar doesn’t seem so bad. Each week will not seem like much (which is the point) and over time it accumulates to something great. Imagine where you will be in a year!

4) Attach Timelines:

The thing with your goals and action items, you don’t have to start everything at the same time. *Insert sigh of relief here… “ahhh”. This step is to realistically think about each action item, how much time you need, when to start, the frequency, and your deadline. Stagger your timelines in order to integrate these newly forming habits. If you try to do too much and all at once, you will set yourself up for failure. Over the years I have discovered the hard way that things usually take much longer than anticipated. Still challenge yourself, but also be honest with yourself so that you are set up for success.

5) Schedule Your Time:

To me, calendars are an essential tool. Endless “To Do” lists don’t cut it. Whatever type of calendar or system you use, break your schedule into focused blocks of time based on your personal and workable hours each week. Under each block of time, start incorporating your action items so that it will become a consistent part of your daily, weekly or monthly schedule. Forming a new, positive habit. I truly believe that it will not get done unless you add it to your calendar.

6) Track Progress:

One final step is to schedule strategy sessions with yourself monthly or quarterly to look back on your goals and see how far you have come. Have an accountability partner to do this with if it helps. Make sure to celebrate your wins! Come up with a happy dance! Also acknowledge areas that fell short and understand the reason. Did you fall behind because circumstances changed and you need to pivot? Did you underestimated how long it would take? Do you need to change your approach? Does something need to be dropped, delegated or delayed in order to focus on a goal? If you revisit your goals you will understand and appreciate how far you’ve come and the direction you still want to go.

 

To help put this altogether, click below to receive free worksheets to work through your goals and schedule for 2019. Please also email to share your thoughts or comment here on any tips you use to create your goals!

Taking Back Your Calendar

5 Simple Steps to Have a Proactive Schedule by Time Blocking

 We are all busy and it’s common to operate our work week in a reactive mode. Developing a system that adds structure and time blocking to your calendar allows you to be more proactive with your time. Here are 5 simple steps to implement which will make for a more productive day, week, month, and year.

 1) Develop a system:

Determine your requirements. List them and then find a system for planning out your calendar that works best for your needs. There are many apps out there like Outlook, Office 365, iCloud, and Google Calendar. If you need to incorporate appointment elements for clients or staff there is Setmore, Acuity, and many more. Often these systems will integrate and many paid systems will let you do a free trial. Choosing a system should check-off your requirements and should be easy to use, accessible, and scalable.

 2) Determine your schedule:

Start consistently tracking all professional and personal appointments within the same system along with any pre-established blocks of time, for example, administration, exercising, events, activities, appointments, etc. Determine hours of each day that are designated for meetings, projects, clients, reports, correspondence, financial management or others.

 3) Start blocking hours:

Now that it’s more visual how many hours in the day you have to operate, you know your capacity. Start blocking sections in the calendar based on your priorities, goals, deadlines, requirements, etc. If you do not schedule time for your priorities or goals, what are you working on during these core hours? You can also block time into themes like a set time each day or a set day each week designated to, for example, administration, a project, or a reoccurring strategy session.

 4) Set intentions and actions:

Every block of time should state the purpose and list associated action items that are carefully selected and can be reasonably accomplished within that time frame. Ask yourself the question: what are the tasks that must be done now? As compared to items that can be delayed, delegated or dropped. These actions should align with your priorities or goals and make for a more effective use of time.

 5) Execute:

Get into the habit of looking at the calendar each day, week and month, and in advance and often! It’s all clearly plotted out so all you have to do is show up and execute. You will be more organized and proactive versus reactionary, have increased productivity through focused time, reduced stress by knocking off priorities and making progress towards accomplishing goals.

 

Would like to hear about tips and tools you use to stay organized and manage your time. Share your thoughts here!