Business Coaching articles to help you free your time to work ON your business and not IN your business.

6 Habits Business Owners DON’T Want

Learn how to avoid these common small business pitfalls so you can work smarter and truly enjoy being your own boss.

Advanced Business Coaching Vision Mission and CultureAs a small business owner, you’re building a company from the ground up, and there are a lot of competing priorities and pressures. When you’re caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of running your business, it can be easy to fall into some bad habits along the way.

Below we’ll explore six of the biggest bad business habits and reveal how to break them.

1. The Habit: Wearing Too Many Hats

In a recent survey, 35% of small business owners said they wished they could take on fewer roles and responsibilities.

Numerous studies show that multitasking is harmful for a variety of reasons—it increases stress, decreases productivity, and you’re far more likely to make mistakes in your work—but many entrepreneurs find themselves trapped wearing too many hats.

How to Break It: Delegation is key, but having someone to delegate to is the first step. Building a strong team that you trust allows you to feel more comfortable placing responsibilities in their capable hands. So, take your time during the hiring process. Reach out to reliable contacts in your industry to widen your net, and consider not only work history, but also disposition and personality when interviewing.

2. The Habit: Getting Hung Up on Old Ideas

You probably dreamed about your company for a long time before you actually opened for business, and that means you have a strong vision for what you want it to be. While it’s important to have vision, trying to stick to a plan for achieving that vision—even when the plan has proven itself outdated or flawed—can cause big issues.

How to Break It: In order to change course, you have to be willing to let go of what was once a brilliant idea. As Dr. Alex Lickerman notes in Psychology Today, we tend to form biases towards our own ideas and opinions. Releasing those biases allows you the latitude to regroup and re-strategize as your company changes and grows.

3. The Habit: Over-Promising

Many small business owners have the urge to say yes to every request. However, agreeing to something that your company’s infrastructure or team can’t support ends up creating more ill will than just saying no in the first place.

How to Break It: Know your limits and stick to them. Take time to consider the request, but if it’s really something you can’t do, then offer a firm and simple “no.” Don’t go into details, as that invites the requestor to push the issue, and try to decline in-person or over the phone, since the tone of an email can sometimes be misconstrued.

4. The Habit: Not Taking Risks

The flip side of over-promising is not taking enough risks. Whether it’s fear of rejection, embarrassment, or financial failure, some small business owners lose their nerve just as their company is on the brink of a big breakthrough, thereby becoming their own worst enemies.

How to Break It: The first step to overcoming fear of failure is acknowledging that it exists; speak to trusted colleagues, friends, or family about your fears. The next step is focusing on things that are within your control. Turn your attention to tangibles, like redesigning your website or creating a new organizational tool for your merchandise.

5. The Habit: Micromanaging

Your business is your baby, and you want to do everything possible to make sure it succeeds. But micromanaging your employees is a guaranteed way to breed disengagement and resentment amongst your staff.

How to Break It: The urge to micromanage frequently springs from your own fear of failure or feelings of powerlessness. Facing those fears (see habit No. 4 above) will allow you to let go of those control-freak tendencies. Also strive to create a workplace culture of open communication; if your employees feel comfortable speaking to you when an issue arises, you’ll be at ease granting them more freedom.

6. The Habit: Not Taking Care of Yourself

With only 24 hours in the day, many small business owners aim to dedicate as many of those hours as possible to their business. Sleep, healthy eating, exercise and vacation time are de-prioritized or forsaken altogether. Not only is this dangerous for your physical and mental health, it can also take a toll on the health of your company.

How to Break It: The normative social influence, a force defined in social psychology, drives us to conform to a societal standard or preconceived notion of our role. Since the entrepreneurial role is seen as someone who works day and night, that’s what entrepreneurs feel pressured to do. Letting go of this pressure frees you up to achieve a healthy work-life balance, and to work with more focus and efficiency during the hours you do dedicate to your business.

Running your own business can be challenging, but it can also be one of the most rewarding endeavors you ever pursue. When you know how to avoid these common pitfalls, you’re able to work smarter and truly enjoy being your own boss.

To-Do List vs Time Blocking Which is best for you?

time tredmillA few years ago, my to-do list was an endless source of frustration. At the end of every day, it seemed like it had more items on it than when I started. I never seemed to get it all done.

So, in an effort to understand what was going on, I began to track how I was spending my time and saw some interesting patterns emerge. As I learned more, I started applying a productivity-changing principle to my daily “get it done” list: TIME BLOCKING.

Time-blocking is essentially organizing your day in a series of time slots. Instead of writing a list of tasks that take as long as they take, with a time-blocked approach, each of these time periods is devoted to a task or tasks. It immediately lets you see where you’re being unrealistic about your time and keep yourself focused on what you’re supposed to be doing.

Giving every hour a job typically lets you make much more efficient use of your time, says Georgetown University professor Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. “This follows because it allows you to schedule work for the time where it makes the most sense—batching together small things, tackling hard things when you have the long stretches to make progress, and so on. The other advantage is that it provides you more accurate feedback on how much free time you actually have most days and how long certain recurring tasks actually take,” he says.

WHY TIME BLOCK?
Organizing your day through time blocks instead of to-dos makes sense because of the discipline and order it applies to your tasks, says time management expert Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. Research by productivity blog I Done This found that 41% of to-do list items are never completed. In Kruse’s own research he says the high-performers he interviewed never talked about their “to-do lists,” but instead talked about their calendars and how they were organized.

Organizing your time instead of your tasks also has psychological benefits, Kruse says. There is also a psychological reason why time-blocking makes more sense. In what is known as the Zeigarnik effect, which basically states that we remember what we haven’t done better than what we have done, and uncompleted tasks weigh on us. “This can lead to stress and insomnia. However, when we have all of our tasks placed into a specific date, time, and duration, we sleep more soundly knowing everything that needs to get done is in its place,” Kruse says.
So, if you’re ready to give it a shot, pull out your calendar and keep these tips in mind.

PAY ATTENTION TO CYCLES

Before you start slotting in tasks every 30 minutes or hour, think about how your energy and work both flow, says business strategist David Horsager, CEO of the Trust Edge Leadership Institute, and an avid time-blocker. Are there work cycles that could affect how much uninterrupted time you will have? And what times of day do you have the most energy or are best suited to do the tasks you need to do?
For example, if you know that Fridays are typically very busy in your office, you might want to allow more slack in your schedule than you ordinarily would. Also, if you know you hit an afternoon slump at 3 p.m., don’t schedule work where you’re going to need deep focus or creativity, as you’re likely to come up short, he says. Look at the times of day when you’re at your best and least likely to be disturbed and, as much as you can, plan your work accordingly.
“Don’t schedule a hard task in a time of day where you typically lag, and don’t schedule a big task in a small amount of time. Wishful thinking can’t change the reality of your schedule,” Newport adds.

ALLOT ENOUGH TIME

“We chronically underestimate how long things will take,” Kruse says. So, we are constantly running over our time allocations and not getting to the things we have on our schedule. Kruse suggests including time-block buffer zones. In other words, add one to three 30-minute blocks of time so if you run over, you can bump another appointment into the buffer zone. And if you are on schedule, you can use that buffer time to think and recharge, or to get a jump on another event, Kruse says. If you’re chronically running late, revisit the amount of time you’re devoting to your tasks.

OFFLOAD DISTRACTIONS

You can be pretty sure that, as you’re being so productive in your time blocks, interruptions will try to take their toll, Horsager says. Do your best to eliminate them by turning off push notifications and, if possible, turning off your phone and letting calls go to voicemail. “I keep a stack of Post-it notes nearby so when I think of something else that needs to be done, I just jot it down so I remember it, then keep working on what I’m doing,” he says. He and his team also integrate a “power hour”—which is actually a “power 90 minutes”—where employees can focus on their work with no meetings and minimal interruptions, he says.

MAKE IT FLEXIBLE
“People’s biggest misconception with time-blocking their day is that the goal is to stick with the schedule no matter what,” Newport says. A better ways is to rework your time blocks throughout the day as circumstances change. The goal is to make sure they you always have an intentional plan for the time that remains in the workday, he adds.

If you would like learn more about how you can make better use of your time and train your team to be better stewards of their time , call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.

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PXT SELECT ™ : MAKING THE VERY HUMAN DECISIONS ABOUT HIRING

PXTSELECTtm-AWB A UNIQUE SELECTION ASSESSMENT THAT FILLS THE GAP BETWEEN THE RESUME AND THE INTERVIEW,

PXT SELECT ™ HELPS ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Get a clear picture of candidate’s thinking style, behaviors, and interests,  giving you a meaningful edge in making the right hiring decision.
  • Start the selection process on the right foot. Explore an expanding library of job functions to which you can compare candidates.
  • Interview with confidence! Ask tailored questions and keep an open ear  for “what to listen for” based on a candidate’s assessment results.
  • Identify ways to enhance performance and maximize an individual’s  contribution to an organization.
  • Match people with positions in which they’ll perform well and enjoy  what they do.
  • Reduce turnover and boost employee engagement, which results in  happier employees!

ONE ASSESSMENT. ACCESS TO A FULL SUITE OF REPORTS

Having the right people in the right jobs is truly powerful. PXT Select™ not only helps you find the right people,  but also helps you shape the overall employee experience. PXT Select’s suite of reports helps you select, on-board, coach, and develop employees to reach their full potential.

EMPOWER YOUR ORGANIZATION WITH PXT SELECT™ REPORTS

  • COMPREHENSIVE SELECTION REPORT – Is the candidate a good fit?   This powerful report helps you make smarter hiring decisions with confidence. Featuring tailored interview questions and tips on “what to listen for” with each candidate, this report gives you a meaningful edge in your hiring process.
  • MULTIPLE POSITIONS REPORT – Which positions might be best for a particular individual? Compare a candidate or employee to multiple jobs in your organization.
  • MULTIPLE CANDIDATES REPORT – Make hiring decisions with ease.  Compare multiple candidates for a single position
  • PERFORMANCE MODEL REPORT – Understand the range of scores and behaviors for the position you’re trying to fill. Learn about the ideal candidate for that role.
  • TEAM REPORT – See how a potential candidate fits an existing team, or address your current team’s dynamics and strengths.
  • MANAGER-EMPLOYEE REPORT – Help managers discover how they can work more effectively with their employees.
  • INDIVIDUAL’S FEEDBACK REPORT – Candidates can learn from PXT Select, too! This narrative report doesn’t reveal scores and is perfectly safe to share with applicants.
  • INDIVIDUAL’S GRAPH – Are you more of a visual person? The graph illustrates a candidate’s results that you can view at a glance.
  • COACHING REPORT – Wish you had coaching advice tailored to each employee? This report gives you exactly that and more!

APLinkedInTo learn more, contact me, your PXT Select™ Authorized Partner.

Michael Stelter
ADVANCED BUSINESS COACHING, INC
W159 N10177 COMANCHE CT.
GERMANTOWN, WI 53022
Michael@ABCBizCoach.com
262.293.3166

 

Final 3 Culture Points From Successful Entrepreneurs

exit-strategy7. Be Transparent

Honesty is the best policy, and being transparent with your employees will build trust and help keep the communication lines open
between workers. One way to do this is to broadcast company milestones and key metrics on laptops and T.V. monitors within the office, so everyone feels aligned and involved.

— Mike Smalls, Hoopla

 

8. Make Time for Social Fun

In order to have a positive company culture, you need to make time for social engagements among your staff. One of the greatest ways to make your staff feel valued is to take the time to learn about them. Social outings – lunches, weekend retreats, or happy hours – allow your staff to feel more connected to the company and each other, fostering better teamwork and a more productive work environment.

— Simon Slade, SaleHoo

9. Give Your Employees the Chance to Work as a Team

Give your team the ability to create something as a group. Create opportunities for everyone on staff to cross-pollinate a little and share their wisdom and creativity on a wider level.

Whatever your needs, if you want your people to act like a team, you need to give them teamwork opportunities where they can stretch their wings a bit and create something or solve a problem as a collective.

— Jennifer Martin, Zest Business Consulting

If you would like learn more about how you can create a powerful Culture in your business, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.
We have a series of FREE E-Books designed to provide you powerful information when searching and hiring your ideal employee. Click Here To Learn More.

3 More Culture Tips From Successful Entreprenuers

Advanced Business Coaching Vision Mission and Culture4. Write a Manifesto

Write a one-page, bulleted manifesto. Start with 3-5 core principles you want to convey to everyone, both inside and outside of the organization. These should be general ideas about what people will take away from interacting with your business. Ours, for example, were: service, quality, challenge (as in the status quo), individuality, and fun.

All written and photo content, in-person interactions, and pretty much every touchpoint with a customer or prospective/current employee, should leave people feeling at least one (ideally two or three) of these principles.

Refer back to the manifesto often. Use it as a measuring stick when you hire. We check off each principle directly on the resume when interviewing prospective hires.

— Michael Koranda, Pacific Issue

5. Challenge Your Employees

People need excitement. You have heard the old saying, “Variety is the spice of life.” It is true of so many aspects of life. Many high-quality employees leave the best companies when they feel there is no room for growth.

The growth these employees are speaking of isn’t always promotions and new positions. It often means room to grow in their current position. They want the opportunity to be challenged, to explore, and to innovate. The best companies give employees the freedom to create and grow the company.

— Aleania Orczewska, Carte Blanche

6. Hire Smart

Over the past eight years, I’ve had startups ranging from a travel company for expats and college kids in Santiago, Chile, to my current project, Givebuy.org. One thing I realized is how easy it is to visualize a Google-type atmosphere and then fall flat on your face when all of your employees (whether it’s two or 2000) are not happy.

An employee is an essential asset for a startup, especially a low-budget one. With my first startup, I hired two college students because I thought they would connect with potential clients better than someone older with experience (we were targeting exchange students for ski trips). I was wrong. They were terrible, and I was essentially paying them the little money that I had to not really do much at all. That money could have gone towards a hundred other things, and I didn’t realize how difficult hardworking people are to find.

So, in short, my advice is to hire smart. Get people who will not only work hard to better your startup, but also help create a positive atmosphere. The opposite can ruin a startup.

— Andrew Parker, GiveBuy

If you would like learn more about how you can create a powerful Culture within your business or organization, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.
We have a series of FREE E-Books designed to provide you powerful information when searching and hiring your ideal employee. Click Here To Learn More.