Time Management For The Small Business Owner

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Over the past year, I have taken on quite a job of starting up and operating my own business. I’ve jumped in with both feet running and have not stopped. I’m sure if I had a tail it would seem like I have been chasing it for the past six months.  The many ups and downs I’ve encountered would make your head spin. You know what I’m talking about because you are at that moment right now!

We are the Small Business Owners, with huge dreams! We wear every hat and do every job. We need to figure out so much for ourselves. Things are starting to pick up at a rapid pace and we are getting busier. Our hard work is starting to bear fruit.

Yea success!

On the road to success, you will bump into stress. Trying to get everything done on time for our business while trying to balance time for family and friends can cause extreme stress. Working on our business intensely to make it successful can cause ourselves to run out of time in a twenty-four hour day.

If only I could clone myself!!!  Never mind that is a horrible idea…

If we don’t change our ways now, we are going to be set in those ways, the never-ending cycle of too much to do with not enough time to do it. The important things in life will be left in the dust.

So, here is what we are going to do, we are going to work smarter not harder!

That is where time management comes into play. I don't just mean scheduling, I mean true time management. This is the first of a four blog post series on Time Management!

In this post, we will work through our core values to create our vision and set our goals. We will get the balance we need from the craziness that we call life and work. This is the foundation of what we are going to build our futures upon. By working through these three sections we can determine what is most important to us and where we should be spending our limited time and energy.

WARNING!!!

Due to the importance of this material, this blog post is going to be a little long but it will set up the foundation for the next 4 posts to follow. Please hang in there! Significant positive change in our lives takes work and in this post and the ones to follow will allow us to take measurable action. Ask yourself what is your cost if you waited 5 years to do this work? Would it not be worth the investment of starting today.

Let’s do what I do best and jump in with both feet; start with what are, our core values!

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. These guiding principles dictate behavior and can help people see what is important to them.

We learn many of our personal values from our parents, teachers, religious leaders, and the society around us. We have also probably rebelled against some of these values at times or have changed our minds as we have learned more about ourselves and our world.

Personal Values

We bring our personal values into the creation of our core values for our businesses. Think really hard on where you personally stand and what lines you do not cross.

Let us create our top 5 values. For the following questions try to use examples from both your career and personal life.

Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest.

  • What were you doing?
  • Were you with other people? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your happiness?

Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud.

 

  • Why were you proud?
  • Did other people share your pride? Who?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?

Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied.

  • What need or desire was fulfilled?
  • How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
  • What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfillment?

Step 4: Determine your top 5 values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment.

We will use the following list of common personal values to help us get started. (As we work through, we may find that some of these naturally combine. For instance, if you value philanthropy, community, and generosity, you might say that service to others is one of your top values.)

Altruism

Ambition

Assertiveness

Balance

Being the best

Belonging

Boldness

Calmness

Carefulness

Challenge

Cheerfulness

Clear-mindedness

Commitment

Community

Compassion

Competitiveness

Consistency

Contentment

Continuous Improvement

Contribution

Control

Cooperation

Correctness

Courtesy

Creativity

Curiosity

Decisiveness

Democraticness

Dependability

Determination

Devoutness

Diligence

Discipline

Discretion

Diversity

Dynamism

Economy

Effectiveness

Efficiency

Elegance

Empathy

Enjoyment

Enthusiasm

Equality

 

Expressiveness

Fairness

Faith

Family-orientedness

Fidelity

Fitness

Fluency

Focus

Freedom

Fun

Generosity

Goodness

Grace

Growth

Happiness

Hard Work

Health

Helping Society

Holiness

Honesty

Honor

Humility

Independence

Ingenuity

Inner Harmony

Inquisitiveness

Insightfulness

Intelligence

Intellectual Status

Intuition

Joy

Justice

Leadership

Legacy

Love

Loyalty

Making a difference

Mastery

Merit

Obedience

Openness

Order

Originality

Patriotism

Preparedness

Professionalism

Prudence

Quality-orientation

Reliability

Resourcefulness

Restraint

Results-oriented

Rigor

Security

Self-actualization

Self-control

Selflessness

Self-reliance

Sensitivity

Serenity

Service

Shrewdness

Simplicity

Soundness

Speed

Spontaneity

Stability

Strategic

Strength

Structure

Success

Support

Teamwork

Temperance

Thankfulness

Thoroughness

Thoughtfulness

Timeliness

Tolerance

Traditionalism

Trustworthiness

Truth-seeking

Understanding

Uniqueness

Unity

Usefulness

Vision

Vitality

Step 5: Reaffirm your values. Make sure that they fit with your life and your vision for yourself.

  • Do these values make me feel good about myself?
  • Am I proud of my top three values?
  • Would I be comfortable and proud to tell my values to people whom I respect and admire?
  • Do these values represent things I would support, even if my choice is not popular, and it puts me in the minority?

Core Values

Core values guide how an organization thinks and behaves; they're the bedrock on which business decisions are made and successful relationships are formed. Once defined, core values should be visible in every aspect of company operations: from sales and marketing to internal reviews to employee check-ins. 

Let us use these questions to determine what makes our businesses unique.

  1. What is important at our company and what is unique about working here? If you have employees this is a good question to ask them.
  2. What are the key qualities every employee must possess―no matter their division or position?
  3. Why are we doing this?
  4. Are there certain fundamentals you're not willing to compromise? Example: I am nt willing to pay someone less because of their gender or age.

Core values writing tips:

 

  1. Focus on strengths: Do not assign importance to something you’re not good at as an organization!
  2. Speak to your audience: Who are your values for? Use words that mean something to them.
  3. Evoke emotion: As humans, we give importance and ascribe meaning to how we feel.

 

We now know our core values, now it's time to write our vision that will inspire. I want you to think about what your business will look like 5 - 10 years into the future. What do you see?

How to write a vision statement

Creating the perfect vision statement may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn't have to be. 

What a vision statement should be.

A vision statement should be concise. However, a vision statement needs to be more than a catchy tagline. It should be created for our teams and culture, not to sell a specific product.

Identify the goals and aspirations of our business and industries.

We can look to competitors in our industries and see what their vision statements are. This will give us an idea of how to differentiate our business vision statement from theirs. Next, we will use our core values and who we aspire to be by mapping out our most important goals in our business and what we hope to achieve.

Dream big and be daring once we have gathered all of our information lets get down to writing. Don't worry about practicality what initially looks impossible could be achieved down the road with the right team and technologies. Let's shape our vision statement to reflect the specific nature of our business(core values) and its aspirations.

Tips for crafting a vision statement

A vision statement should stretch the imagination while providing guidance and clarity. It will inform our direction and priorities while challenging employees to grow. 

Here's what to keep in mind when formalizing a vision statement:

  • Project five to ten years in the future.
  • Dream big and focus on success.
  • Use the present tense.
  • Infuse it with passion and make it inspiring.  
  • Align it with your business values and goals.
  • Strive to commit time and resources to the vision you establish.

Our completed vision statement should provide a clear idea of our company's path forward.

Extra: Where can we use our vision statement?

For those interested in taking their vision one step further we can use our vision statement to craft:

  • Mission statement
  • Company tagline
  • A "who we are" statement
  • A "what we do" section
  • Ideal clients overview
  • Client pain points
  • Advertising
  • Products
  • SEO keywords

Now we know who we are as businesses and where we want to be in five to ten years, we can now create our goals to get us there! Pat yourselves on the back this has been a lot of information to process and work through.

Goals

Like any good business, I set goals…. I am a very visual person, so at first, my goals felt very flat and lifeless, they were something I wrote down and never looked at. When I started working with my business coach, Richard Haynes at Empowered Potential Coaching, my goals started to appear with dimensions and in colour.

This next part I have to admit I am borrowing from Richard. When we sat down to talk more about my goals for my business, Richard handed me a sheet of paper wi the following information.

SMART GOALS

S - Specific & Simple

M - Measurable & Meaningful to you

A - Achievable, All areas of your life, As if now

R - Realistic & Responsible/ Ecological

T - Timed & Toward what you want

After you have written our goals down let's use the SMART to evaluate them. Beware of the stick and remember that the carrot works better. What do I mean by that? When we create goals we are more likely to complete them when we are working towards something of pleasure and not running away something that is a pain.

To keep myself on track, I created 4 types of business goals. Starting from the top and working my way down, I added more detail to each. When I completed my little weekly goals the next thing I know my monthly goals were completed and it just snowballed from there.  This is how I keep my goals from overwhelming me.

 

  1.   5 Year Plan
  2.   Yearly Goals
  3.   Monthly Goals
  4.   Weekly goals

 

One thing that Richard does with me when I am making my weekly and monthly goals, he asks me to close my eyes and asks me what I see, hear, and feel. If I don't see, hear, or feel anything, then I need to dig deeper into my goals and give them some finer details to make them more real or it might not be the goal I am looking for.

I keep track of my goals in my goal journal. I currently use the goal digger journal from MiGoals but any journal works and you should use what works best for you. Also, have an accountability partner, this person will help you stay on the right path. It really works well if your partner is a small business owner like yourself, then you can be accountable to each other and it's a great way to build your tribe. My accountability partner is my business coach Richard, who I meet with weekly.  

We are now done with part one! Congratulations! Next week we are going to dive into Task Management. See you then.

P.S.

If you are on the fence about hiring a business coach, I’m letting you know it’s a great idea, be aware though that the person should be: 

 

  1. Trained
  2. Certified 
  3. Amazing and caring individuals. 

 

Spend some time getting to know them. It will be one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. Everything I am writing about today came from working with Richard, he helped me discover the right path. I am no longer chasing my tail.

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4 thoughts on “Time Management For The Small Business Owner”

  1. Kaela Corazza says:

    Lots of valuable information here, Brooke. Well done!
    I will be sharing this with our team.
    I look forward to your next post.
    Thank you!
    Kaela Corazza

    1. Brooke says:

      Thank you Kaela! It’s amazing after you do this activity how super focused you get in everything that you do.

  2. Tanya Plonka says:

    Great breakdown of getting started! It’s so important to laydown the framework of your business so that it runs smoothly and allows you to say no when you need to!

    1. Brooke says:

      Thank you Tanya! A strong frame builds a strong house. Having that ability to say no is very powerful.

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