Manage Time Like Money and Profit Through Time Management

Manage Time Like Money and Profit Through Time Management 

Why did you get into business for yourself? Was it to be your own boss? Choose your own hours? Have more time with the family? Spend more time doing what you love? How do you manage your time? Chances are, you answered yes to all these questions.

These days, you probably wonder where the time went. Why you spent 12 hours at work and barely make a dent in your to-do list? We already know that time is a key resource for you and your business, but it’s also a key resource in your life. Harnessing and leveraging time is the only way to enjoy life, and have a profitable business at the same time.

A few years back I was working with a client who told me that he hadn’t had a date with his wife in years! He was running a million-dollar business with ten employees but he didn’t take any time off for himself. We were able to restructure the business that made him more profitable and he was able to get regular dates with his wife.

The Pareto Principle in Business

time management

You may be familiar with the Pareto Principle; 80% of your results can be attributed to 20% of your efforts, while 20% of your results can be attributed to 80% of your efforts. As the leader of your business, you want to focus your efforts on the activities that yield the greatest results.

Most business owners carefully manage their financial and personnel resources, and pay due attention to their performance. Marketing plans and budgets are created, people are hired and fired. What most business owners don’t realize is that time – and the time of all employees – requires the same attention and diligent management.

Time will never manage itself.

Time is invaluable when you are running a business. That is why it is important to manage your time like money and profit through time management. Time will never manage itself. The decision to make a pro-active effort to manage your time must come from you. Once you have committed to taking ownership for your own time management, there are a host of tools available to you. But first, you must understand how much your time is actually worth, and where you are currently spending it.

What is Your Time Worth?

Ever wonder what your time is actually worth? Here’s a quick way to figure it out:

Target annual income A.

Working days in a year B. 235

Working hours in a day C. 7

Working hours in a year D. 1,645

A/D = YOUR HOURLY WORTH (before tax + expenses) E.

This is a very simple calculation intended to put your time in perspective. In reality, no one is productive for each of the 1,645 hours. Various studies have put actual productivity at anywhere between 25 minutes and four hours per day. Either way, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

How Many Days Do You Have Left on Earth?

Let’s look at it another way:

Your age A.

Days in a year B.

Days spent on earth to date (A x B) C.

Average life expectancy D. 70

Total projected days on earth (D x B) E.

Estimated days left (E – C) F.

This exercise isn’t intended to scare you, but bring your attention to the importance of choosing how you spend each hour you have available. It is a choice! By developing the skills required to manage your time, you will not only have a profitable business but rewarding and balanced life

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about small business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.
~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

The Five Culprits of Time Theft

Chances are – if you’re like most people – you have no idea where your time goes. You’re likely frustrated by the fact that you can spend 10, 12, even 14 hours a day working, and not make a dent in your to-do list, or only bill half of those hours.

When we’re too busy and overloaded with work, we often switch into reactive mode. We can’t make it to the bottom of the pile and end up handling issues and making decisions at the last minute. One of the great benefits of choosing to become proactive in time management is that you can become proactive in all other areas of your business. When in a proactive mode, you can take steps to grow your business through networking, building programs, and establishing systems.

Before you investigate where your time goes, let’s take a look at the top five culprits of modern-day time theft:

1. Time Management and Your Email

Make profit through time management and managing your email. How many times a day do you check your email? Is Outlook or Mail constantly running on your desktop? Email – internal, external, personal and business – clogs up your day like no other communication channel. For many of us, it is possible to spend the entire day writing and responding to emails without even glancing at our inbox. The number of emails sent and received each day by the average person in 2007 was 147. Multiply that by an average of two minutes per message, and you have spent almost five hours on email in a single day.

2. Time Management and Your Mobile Phone

Cell phones have created convenience, security, and the luxury of telecommuting. PDAs and cell phones have also created a society that expects to be able to reach you at any moment or at least receive instant responses to their calls. Your cell phone or PDA not only robs you of your time during the day but also during the evenings and on weekends when you are not at work.

3. Time Management and Your Open Door Policy

If you make it easy for your staff and associates to interrupt you, they will. Too often, open-door policies are set up by human resource departments to create clear communication channels. Instead, they create a clog of employees lined up at your door seeking immediate answers to non-emergent issues.

4. Time Management in Meetings

You can profit through time management if we also manage our meetings well. How many times have you been to a meeting that was scheduled to be an hour, and ended up lasting three? How often do you attend unnecessary meetings? Or meetings that run off-topic? Meetings can be a huge source of wasted time – your valuable time that is why it is important to manage your time. In a senior management or ownership position, your day may consist of back-to-back meetings, leaving only your evening hours to complete the tasks that should have been done during the day.

5. Time Management: YOU!

Every person has daily habits that sabotage their ability to work productively and efficiently. Many entrepreneurs and business owners can’t separate business hours from leisure hours. Some get caught in a time warp while surfing the internet. Others – mainly overachievers – can become paralyzed by perfectionism or procrastination. Mainly we just don’t have the tools to schedule and structure our time in a way that fits with our working style.

Where Does Your Time Go?

So far we’ve seen that time is a resource that should be as carefully managed as cash, we’ve figured out what your time is worth, and looked at the top five culprits of time theft. You’ve committed to taking steps to become a better time manager. What now?

time management

Personal Time Management Research Exercise

The next step is to take a good, (and honest!) look at how you spend your time. Once you understand your patterns and habits, you begin to implement the strategies in this chapter that will make you manage your time better.

Step One: Time Audit

Use the Time Log Worksheet at the back of this chapter to record how you spend your time for three working days in a row. Be honest, and be specific. Include time spent in transit, surfing the web, interacting with clients and colleagues, as well as how your time is spent at home in the evenings. The more information you can record, the easier it will be to analyze your time management skills in step two.

Step Two: Time Categorization

Once you have recorded your time for three days, sit down with all three sheets in front of you and identify the following using different colored markers or highlighters:

  • Driving, public transportation or other travel
  • Eating, including food preparation
  • Personal Errands
  • Exercise
  • Watching TV
  • Sleeping, including naps
  • Using the computer, personal use only
  • Being with family/friends
  • Emailing, including checking, reading, and returning messages
  • Talking on the phone, including checking and returning messages
  • Internal meetings
  • External meetings
  • Administrative work
  • Client work
  • Non-client, non-administrative work

Step Three: Time Analysis

Now that you have identified how you have spent your time, go through the worksheets one more time and identify if you have spent enough, too much, or too little time on each main task.

Then, based on your observations, answer the following questions: Download the Template Here

  1. What patterns do you notice about how you spend your time during the day? (i.e., When are you most productive? Least productive? Most or least interrupted?)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Write down the four highest priorities in your life right now. Does your timesheet reflect these priorities?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. If you had more time, what would you do?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. If you had less time, what wouldn’t you do?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Could you remove the items in question four and add the items in question three? Why or why not?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Is procrastination a problem for you? How much?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Strategies for Profitable Time Management

There are many ways to curb time theft and refine your time management ability for you to manage your time well. Through a solid understanding of how you currently spend – and waste – time, you can determine which strategies you need to implement to correct unproductive behavior.

Here are 17 ways you can turn less of your time into more money:

1. Set Clear Priorities

The foundation of time management is a clear understanding of what your time is best spent on. Once you accept that you can’t do everything, you need to decide what needs to be completed now, what can be completed later, and what someone else can complete in this way you can manage your time effectively. Each to-do list you create should be put through this filter, and reorganized so the highest priority items are on top, and the lowest priority items are less visible, or on the bottom.

Once you have established your priorities – which will also naturally reflect the priorities and goals of your business – stick to them. Just because someone else feels something is of a high priority doesn’t mean it holds the same status next to your other tasks.

Prioritization is also helpful in your personal life and leisure time. Your spare time is precious – so make sure are clear on how you would like to spend it.

2. Use Your Skills – Delegate Your Weaknesses

As a business owner, your day naturally consists of tasks you dislike doing. Some are essential – signing checks, reviewing financial statements, and other business maintenance – while others are simply not within your skill set.

If you are a strong public speaker but struggle with report writing – delegate to a copywriter or editor. If you own a retail store and have no experience in design – outsource your signage. These freelance professionals often cost half as much as you and take half as long to complete the task. It is a great idea, especially if you struggle with time management. Your time is saved for tasks that use and strengthen your skills effectively, your stress is managed, and ultimately a better product is produced. Delegating your weaknesses or tasks that can be delegated to your team is one of the best strategies for you to manage your time effectively.

3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

As a small business owner, the only way you will ever get everything done is by delegating. Delegation is a vital skill that needs to be refined and practiced, and once mastered is the key to profitable time management.

time management

Too often, owners and managers believe that it will be “faster” or “more efficient” to complete the task themselves than to train and monitor someone else. Other times, there are no internal resources to download assignments.

As a result, the following trends can be seen in many small companies:

  • Owners and senior staff are stressed and overworked, while junior staff is underutilized and under capacity.
  • Staff members are not given an opportunity to grow and develop in their roles and may perceive a lack of trust or confidence in their ability. The company loses good people.
  • Owners and senior staff are always in a reactive state, instead of a visionary or proactive state.
  • Delegation happens at the very last minute, and junior staff has little understanding of either the overall project or expectations for the task.

The easiest way to fix this problem is before it starts. Create a solid team of staff members around you who are well-trained and prepared to support the business. Attract and retain qualified and quality people who can be cross-trained and promoted within the company. Ensure that communication flows throughout the business, so everyone has the product and service knowledge to step in and assist when necessary.

4. Learn to Say “No”

It’s easy to fall into the habit of saying yes to everything. You are, after all the business owner, right? No one can complete these tasks as well as you, right? You’ll lose that customer if you don’t help them with their garage sale, right?

Wrong. The most successful business owners have a keen understanding of time management and delegate the remaining responsibilities to trusted others. It’s too easy to say yes to every request in the moment, and later feel overwhelmed when it’s added to your to-do list. You may not ruffle any feathers, but what toll does it take on your stress level? Your workload? Your time is valuable – so manage your time well and protect it!

Remember that if it is too challenging to say no immediately, you can always request some time to think about it. This way, you can evaluate your workload and realistically decide whether or not you can take on a new project. Then, stand by your decision, or assist in bringing in the necessary resources to get it done. 

5. Create (and keep!) a Strict Schedule

While multi-tasking is a desirable skill, it is also often a time thief. Attempting to do too many things at one time ensures that nothing gets done. As a business owner, you need to be able to focus and concentrate on essential projects without interruptions.

The only way to do this is to commit to a strict schedule. Once you understand your work style and concentration patterns, you can allocate periods of the day to specific tasks. This includes personal and leisure time – schedule it, and stick to it.

Doing a time management by creating a schedule time for list-creation + prioritization, email messages, telephone messages, internal meetings, client meetings, meeting preparation, “me-time”, family time, recreation + fitness, daily business tasks, and blocks for focused work.

Remember that there is a training period involved in beginning a new routine – for yourself and those around you. Use your voicemail, out-of-office email message, and a closed-door to begin to let people know when you will not be disturbed.

6. Make Decisions

The choice to not make a decision is a decision in itself. The most successful business owners have the ability to make good decisions quickly and efficiently and do not waste time deliberating over simple choices.

In leadership positions, often people are afraid of making the wrong decision or looking foolish if they make a mistake in front of junior staff. What they don’t realize, is that hesitating or avoiding decision-making impacts their leadership just as much or more than making the wrong decision. Not only can being indecisive be personally stressful, but it is also stressful for those around you whose tasks are waiting on your choices.

Remember, you must make the best decision with the information you have, in the time frame you have to make the decision. No one expects you to be a fortune teller – be decisive, make some mistakes, and learn from them.

7. Manage Telephone Interruptions

This is a huge source of time theft that can easily be managed and avoided. If you are available to take phone calls at any time of day, you are setting yourself up to take work home in the evenings. The phone will always ring when you are focused on an important task, and this is something that can easily be avoided.

Figure out when you are most productive. Is it in the morning or the afternoon? Before, during, or after lunch? Once you have identified this time period, set your phone on “do not disturb” or have your calls directed to voicemail. If you do not have a receptionist, a variety of automatic answering systems are available for a nominal fee. To structure your phone time further, let callers know on your voicemail what specific time of day is best to reach you via phone. Then, set that time aside to receive and return phone calls.

8. Keep Your Work Environment Organized

Have you ever tried to make dinner in a messy kitchen? More of your time is spent looking for (and cleaning) dishes and tools than actually spent cooking the meal.

The same goes for your work environment. If your desk and office is in a constant state of chaos, then your mind will be too. In fact, some studies have revealed that the average senior business leader spends nearly four weeks each year navigating through messy or cluttered desks, looking for lost information. Does that sound like a productive time for you?

Once you make the initial clean sweep, it’s easy to maintain order in the chaos:

  • Tidy your desk at the beginning and end of each day. Attach pertinent documents to your to-do list, or have clear and organized folders for loose papers.
  • Organize your supplies drawer so you have easy access to stationery like pens, post-it notes, staplers, and highlighters. Every minute counts!
  • Only have the documents and files you are working on, on your desk. The rest should be neatly filed on a side table for later retrieval.
  • Keep personal items (like photos or memorabilia) out of your primary line of vision. These can be distracting and encourage daydreaming.

time management

As for your office or store, there are many ways to make its layout more conducive to effective time management. Try:

  • Minimizing the distance between the reception desk and electronics like photocopies and fax machines.
  • Keep a clear line of sight between your office and the most productive area of your business, so you are aware of what is happening amongst your staff.
  • Organize shelves and filing cabinets so files are not only easily accessed, but out of sight when not being used. Consider putting sliding doors or cabinets in storage areas, and remember that the floor is not a storage cabinet.

9. Keep Your Filing System Organized

If your data isn’t organized properly, you will waste hundreds of hours searching for documents you need on a regular basis. This includes both electronic and hard copy files; they need to be organized and up-to-date.

Customer databases and inquiry records are worth their weight in gold. You can’t afford to get behind when updating this information, or poorly store it for later retrieval. There are many easy to use software programs that will manage and organize customer databases for you; it doesn’t need to be a time consuming or tedious exercise.

A simple way to manage information is to keep it in short, medium, and long term files for both hard and electronic copies. Create shortcuts on your desktop for folders or files you constantly access. Have short-term files available on your desk, medium-term files available within an arm’s reach, and long-term files stored in cabinets.

10. Clearly Communicate – Never Assume

One of the biggest issues for time management in business – and likely the world – is miscommunication. This is a dangerous issue that can cripple any business, including yours. Establishing and enforcing clear policies on things like accurate note-taking, task assignments, and phone messages will ensure your staff understands the importance of clear and accurate communication.

The easiest habit to start to curb miscommunication is simple: write everything down. Carry a notepad, and jot down key points, figures, agreements, and deadlines. Don’t assume you’ll remember later – you have at least a hundred other things to remember.

Some other simple strategies are:

  • Return all communication promptly, including email, letters, faxes and phone calls
  • Repeat back phone messages, phone numbers, and other figures to confirm you recorded the information correctly.
  • Record appointments in your PDA or agenda the moment you make them. Otherwise, you will forget.
  • Double-check and confirm everything – addresses, phone numbers, meeting locations and times.
  • Maintain accurate customer contact logs with dates, times, and phone numbers.
  • Post checklists in your store or office for routine operations procedures.
  • Announce any changes to the policies and procedures manual immediately.

11. Stop Duplicating Efforts

This is a key element of time management that is closely related to effective communication. Studies have continually shown that many businesses often duplicate and triplicate efforts that need only be completed once.

When you have clear systems and procedures in place, your staff will not need to “reinvent the wheel” each time the task needs to be completed. Meeting minutes and individual task assignments will ensure everyone is on the same page and understands their personal responsibilities.

Simple examples of this include re-reading your to-do list each hour to determine what the next important item is. If your list is already structured by priority, this is a needless task. If two staff members are working on similar projects, but unaware of the other, the work will not only be inconsistent, but the efforts will be duplicated. These are easy problems to fix, once they have been identified and communicated.

12. Say Goodbye to Procrastination + Perfectionism

If you want to manage your time effectively, then, procrastination is something you need to get rid of. We all face procastination at one time or another – and likely have since our school days. However, given the pace that the world operates at today, you will only fall behind your competitor if you allow procrastination to rule your day. So how you do avoid it? It’s simple. Stop, and just get started, no matter how boring, tedious, or painful the project may be. Reward yourself by crossing each step off your to-do list.

Many small business owners also fall victim to perfectionism, which can be paralyzing. The fear that there isn’t enough time or resources to “get it perfect” will sometimes stop you dead in your tracks. Perfectionism can also hinder your ability to delegate and say no to tasks you believe no one else can complete “better”. Do the best you can with the time and resources you have – and just get started.

13. Avoid Needless, Impromptu + Unstructured Meetings

This may seem like a time theft issue that is out of your control, but it’s not. You are in control of your own time and able to manage your time, and through strict scheduling can establish a structure for internal and external meetings that everyone around you can work within.

Minimize impromptu internal meetings by letting your staff know when you’re available for a “quick chat” and when you are not. If it is important, ask them to schedule a time to meet with you that works with both of your schedules. This not only saves you time, but encourages staff to find solutions to their own issues, and only approach you with more urgent or challenging matters.

You can’t avoid having meetings, but you can avoid having unstructured meetings. Ask for or create an agenda for each meeting you attend, with a clear objective and an amount of time allocated to each item. This will keep your meetings focused and on task. If a meeting does run late, give yourself a reasonable buffer, and politely leave for your next appointment. You can always follow up with a colleague to catch-up on the pertinent items you may have missed.

14. Establish Clear Policies + Procedures

A clear policy and procedures manual is like a marketing or business plan – it takes time to create, but ultimately saves everyone in your company time, money, and effort. A step-by-step guide to “the way we do things here” is an invaluable resource for your existing and new staff, and provides clear expectations for how you like things done.

Too many businesses make up policies and procedures on the fly – creating dangerous scenarios where mistakes are made and expectations are not clear. Some items that should be included in a comprehensive policy and procedures manual include:

  • Recruitment
  • Customer relations
  • Customer inquiries
  • Customer complaints
  • Returns
  • Exchanges
  • Late Payments
  • Salary structure
  • Bonus structure
  • Employee review
  • Theft
  • Harassment

15. Keep the Right Set of Tools

The equipment your business needs to operate (and grow!) effectively should always be on hand, or easily contracted out. This is specific to each company, and closely related to costs – including the cost of your time.

Whether you are a high-tech business or local retailer, knowledge of the latest advancements in technology will increase your efficiency. It will help you stay on top of the competitor, maintain your position as an expert, and perhaps provide an easier way of getting things done.

Always ask yourself if these purchases are essential to your business –could you perhaps make these purchases from a second-hand dealer to minimize cost? Is it more cost-effective to outsource or sub-contract the tasks to someone with access to this equipment, or to buy the equipment yourself?

If your business relies on tools and technology for daily tasks (such as the trade profession) then obtaining the best quality you can afford is crucial.

16. Maintain Your Equipment

This may seem obvious, but you’ll understand the importance of your network server has ever crashed, or point of sale system has malfunctioned. Your business can be slowed to a stand-still if your equipment is not in good working order. Of course, there are instances that can’t be predicted, but regular maintenance of your essential equipment will reduce these occurrences and help to anticipate when old equipment needs to be repaired or replaced.

Personal Time Management Strategy

Choose one from the top five tips that you think will help you the most, given your personal time management study. This time management study will help you finish all your important tasks and appointments on time.  Write them below, with three corresponding actions that you will start tomorrow.  For example, if you are going to set a strict schedule, three actions might be to establish the schedule, communicate it to your staff, and re-record your voicemail message. Download the Template Here

1.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

2.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

3.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

4.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

5.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

Timesheet | Day Three Download the Template Here 

Timeslot Activities More/Less/Enough time?
7:30 – 8:00
8:00 – 8:30
8:30 – 9:00
9:00 – 9:30
10:00 – 10:30
10:30 – 11:00
11:00 – 11:30
11:00 – 11:30
11:30 – 12:00
12:00 – 12:30
12:30 – 1:00
1:00 – 1:30
1:30 – 2:00
2:00 – 2:30
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 4:30
4:30 – 5:00
5:00 – 5:30
5:30 – 6:00
6:00 – 10:00

(Evening)

Daily To-Do List | Business Download the Template Here

Task Priority (1-10) Deadline Delegation?

Weekly To-Do List | Personal (Family, Leisure, etc.) Download the Template Here

Task Priority (1-10) Deadline Delegation?

There you have it, then. I hope this post will help you manage your time so you can attain the results you were hoping for.

Do you need help taking action on all this information? Then book a free call with one of our small business coaches today.

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6 Ways A CFO Can Guide Your Business Through The Pandemic

CFO

While governments work to safeguard society against COVID-19, businesses must move quickly to protect critical stakeholders and their finances. The abrupt interruption created by the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a global economic collapse. Financial and operational issues happen, and it’s up to business managers and owners to overcome them. While CEOs will use their expertise to steer their firms through difficult times, they will heavily rely on the chief financial officer or CFO inputs to make business financial decisions.

A CFO is a single corporate executive officer or entity who performs the duties of a chief financial officer for a corporation. Many startups and corporations are trying to outsource services to save staffing costs including CFO. Because of this, it increased the amount of virtual CFO services hires rather than hiring a full-time in-house CFO.

Here’s how a CFO could help a company get back on its feet through the pandemic:

  • Analyze The Present Financial Situation

CFO

To get achievements, successful leaders do three things well: set priorities, work with the right people, and manage connections. To keep the business afloat, they would need to pay close attention to cash flow and raise any capital they could. 

The current scenario is difficult for many. Collecting payments from delinquent customers should be a priority to boost the company’s financial status. When working capital is low, CFOs may seek a line of credit, joint ventures, or divestitures to raise funds. They may also desire to seek debt covenant relief. Currently, real-time liquidity tracking is required.

During a crisis, transparent and proactive communication with investors and boards is critical. The first several months are crucial for increasing communication frequency and transparency, and the CFO is responsible for this.

  • Implement Cash War Room

Cash is king in uncertain times, and liquidity is vital. Also, future financial shortages aren’t just a concern, but a reality for many.

To enforce strong expenditure controls across firms, CFOs need to create a cash war room. Customer payment delays require organizations to keep track of their cash on hand, as well as any additional capital they acquire, and CFOs to understand how all those assets are being utilized. CFOs will realize when working capital isn’t sufficient anymore. Finance leaders will require reliable technologies to give actionable knowledge that drives the organization. Establishing a cash war room is a smart starting step.

  •  Improve Productivity Through Digitalization

To cope with the pandemic, many people may need to work remotely, utilizing digital collaboration tools. But the finance team’s use of technology to assist the company is not exceptional. Automated closings and real-time predictions are now possible. After the crisis, the CFO and finance team will push for enterprise-wide digitalization. Financial tools like the cash war room, rolling forecasts, and collaborative dashboards can benefit the entire firm. In future emergencies, reliable reporting, informed decision-making, and company continuity are important.

CFOs undoubtedly have a lot on their plates. Modern software can solve many of the CFO’s greatest difficulties. Enterprise resource planning or ERP systems, for example, include modules for financial management, production, procurement, supply chain management, warehouse, and fulfillment. In addition, reliable, robust data combined with real-time speed and strong analytic tools assist CFOs and their teams offer the correct information at the right time for sound decisions.

CFOs will manage creative company strategies. Giving the right people the proper technology and data to manage risks, achieve compliance, and drive their enterprises to innovative growth is their biggest challenge.

  • Succeed In The ‘Next Normal’

A CFO must plan for a transformation mindset when allocating corporate resources if they want their business to prosper following a devastating economic crisis.

The CFO’s team should assess the company’s investment portfolio and focus on each business unit’s maximum potential.

During the previous economic crisis, resilient corporations divested 1.5x more than non-resilient companies. During a recession, profitable organizations can benefit from mergers and acquisitions. This may improve a company’s investment in mergers and acquisitions or M&A.

Remote working has become popular and productive for many firms since the COVID-19 outbreak. After the crisis, most companies should continue the practice. When the pandemic problem is over, CFOs should check the financial implications of a digital workforce. The CFO team can help the entire company and its subsidiaries scale financial predictions and collaborative dashboards.

  • Reassess Investment And Strengthen Balance Sheet

During a crisis, CFOs should examine goodwill impairments, reduce inventory, refinance debt, lower accounts payable and receivable terms, and so on. Balance-sheet cleaning can increase financial flexibility while keeping everyone focused on essential indicators during a tumultuous period. CFOs should help peers examine important R&D, IT, and capital allocations to improve the company’s investment portfolio. The pandemic is quite likely to have altered business units’ initial estimated returns on investments.

  • Manage Profitability

CFO

In the short term, companies are looking at their costs to flex and cut them. When the market takes up again, the challenge will be to balance cost reduction with rapid expansion. Critical resources may have been underestimated to the point that they cannot support future growth.

Finance should look at both sides of the profitability equation to avoid this error. Actions to reduce costs and generate revenue should be prioritized. Desperately seeking higher profit markets or goods, firms could shift resources. To minimize over-discounting by salespeople who are eager to make a sale at this difficult period, sales support could be focused on monitoring pricing.

Moreover, the analysis should probe the business, the operating model, the added value of activities, the sourcing model (in-house or outsourced), the demand/supply chain network setup, and so on. The CFO should aim high for a business-wide transformation. Now is the time to rebuild the fundamentals, to completely revamp the business model, and to prepare for the competition that’ll follow once we all emerge from this catastrophe.

Conclusion on Having a CFO

The CFO will keep all employees informed of the company’s crisis management plans. Effective communication dispels rumors, keeps staff focused and motivated. When planning initiatives, CFOs must evaluate both the best- and worst-case scenarios. No one knows how this global crisis will end, so they must consider all stakeholders, suppliers, customers, and employees.

 

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The Ultimate Manager’s Guide For Leading Remote Employees

remote employees

Ultimate Manager’s Guide For Leading Remote Employees

It’s no secret that remote employees are profitable for business. There is both a reduction in office maintenance costs and an opportunity to choose the best employees without being tied to a specific location. But how to get people you’ve never seen in your life to work effectively is a mystery to many leaders. Unfortunately, in such a situation, classical managerial skills are not enough. Soft skills come to the forefront in this system.

Confidence

Remote employees need to be trusted much more than the team that sits with you in the same open space. To be able to trust your employees, select future remote employees as carefully as possible, taking into account all the features of your company. 98% of leaders of remote employees fall into the trap of distrust. Usually, this disease is cured by the first emotional burnout or the first dismissal of a subordinate. Then, either you learn and rebuild, which is always painful, or realize that remote management is not your strong point and change your career priorities.

Carefully select remote employees for the team and lower the level of expectations. The result will please you very much.

Communications

The bad news is that a person assimilates up to 60% of information through non-verbal. The team loses this valuable 60% working remotely, which means they need to be replenished through an accessible and coherent communication system. It would be best if you found a task manager that is convenient for everyone. It is essential that tasks are not confused, lost, or duplicated. Everything should be transparent and straightforward. Next, create a single information space where public documents and everything necessary for comfortable work will be posted. It is also your team’s responsibility to know what technology tools to use to exchange information and how to send large files. And, the most crucial rule, always ask remote employees to talk about how they understand the task – this will save you a lot of time, effort, and nerves.

The most challenging thing is to drive the entire team into a single task manager and require all participants in the process to use it all the time. Here only time and consistency will help you, and then a habit will develop. A single information space and summaries of accepted tasks will help you make sure that everyone speaks the same language – the language of your business.

Motivation

Unfortunately, not everything depends on the salary. To get a person to work with a cozy and warm sofa with Facebook, and TV shows nearby, you need to give the team a little more than just a salary. The remote team needs common motivational meetings: all project participants must understand where the company is coming from and where, the difficulties, and what will allow the team to be even more effective. Be sure to support and implement employee initiatives. Try to praise and be grateful – more and more often than we are all used to.

Practice shows that only an employee who believes in and shares the mission and values of the project can work effectively remotely. Define and clearly articulate your goal, mission, and objectives. Please make sure everyone knows, understands, and shares them. And don’t forget to praise and support employee initiatives.

Rules

Unfortunately, all the skills indicated above will not help you if you do not have clear and unambiguous rules followed by all team members. Creativity and self-organization are great, but not where you do business. Achieving goals requires a system and regulations that are easy to read and understand. Build an organic and stable system out of everything. With your personnel selection use clear criteria and assessment systems.

Motivation

Establish Key Performance Indicators with a transparent reward system. The rules must be uniform and equally valid for all team members.

This point can be a revelation. After all, it seems that if you trust your remote employees in your team, everything is in order with communications and motivation, then the puzzle has solved. But no! It is important not only to define sane boundaries and clear rules of the game but also to reinforce the boundaries with all employees. The situation when everyone is equal before the standards precludes many contradictions and disagreements.

Summary

For the effective work of a remote team, you need to mix in equal proportions trust, intelligible communication, and clear motivation, and then season it all with rules. Congratulations, your remote team is ready to be managed!

 

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Top Ten Feats of Small Business Owner Superheroes!

That’s how you ended up a small business owner. Ok, admit it. You have always aspired to be a Superhero. That’s why when you were a little kid you read comics and watched cartoons. Recently you have watched many of the Superhero flicks. Inside of every small business owner definition is a Superhero. Superheroes are effective leaders.

You started your business to save the world. Only you can save customers as well as you; right? Then why are you suffering burnout? Why do you like Spiderman struggle to pay your bills? Why do you like Iron Man have a problem with getting help from others? Why do you like Batman have drama with your employees? You may be Wonder Woman, but you have issues too.

Small business owner superheros

The point is that no small business owner Superhero is perfect; we all need some help. It all comes down to effective leadership.

Top Ten Feats of Business Superhero’s

Here are some pointers for you to make sure your business can support your, ahem, hobby:

1. Do what you love in business.

Otherwise, learn to love what you do. The biggest reason for small business owner failure is a lack of persistence. The biggest reason for not persevering is that entrepreneurs don’t love what they do. Spiderman is always struggling to make a buck taking photos, but he needs to remember that it’s all about the big purpose. He needs to learn how to negotiate; he could make a killing on those photographs. He needs to become his very best at earning a living. Love what you do or get some help.

2. Be “the man with the plan” in business.

That, of course, includes you Wonder Woman. Every Superhero has a plan. Develop clear long term and short term plans. The important elements of a plan include your vision, your values, and your mission, along with specific goals and daily actions.

3. “Lead, follow or get out of the way” is not an option.

Thomas Paine’s famous words will not help you save the world. Superheroes lead and take action! Once you have developed your plan, you must translate the plan into daily actions and activities. Keep taking a bite out of the “elephant” daily. You will eat the whole thing over time.

4. Tell your business story again and again to prospects.

Learn to say who you are, “I am Iron Man.” Your story for your prospects is the part of your Vision, Values, and Mission that eliminates your prospect’s pain and solves his problems. Develop and memorize at least three versions of your story: a 30-second version, a 5-minute version, and a 20-minute version. Tell your story to anyone that will listen.

5. Tell your business story again and again to everybody else.

Tell your story through meetings, memos, advertising, employee manuals, etc.

6. Listen first and then twice as much as you talk. Notice that all good Superheroes listen before they take action. Diagnose the problems first. Otherwise, you may save the wrong person.

7. Keep the main thing the main thing in your business.

Focus on what’s important. Decide at the beginning of every year what will be your primary focus. Keep yourself and your sidekicks focused on that thing during meetings, and throughout each day.

8. Know the score in your business.

Batman and Iron Man have their technology and instruments and they use them to keep score. Is your cash flow important? You better have a report. Do you use monthly financials to make decisions? You better start.

9. Never stop getting better in business.

Iron Man built a better suit. Batman built a better mansion. All business superheroes are constantly learning and growing. Don’t forget your team (sidekicks); they need to learn too!

10. Develop deep relationships with sidekicks and victims.

Know your villains (competition) well too! Customers are victims as long as the villain has captured their service. Start developing deep relationships with those you want to save. Make sure your sidekicks are happy and stay on your team.

Conclusion

My editor tells me that this adventure has to end. Do the above as a leader and soon you will be known by the world as the small business owner Superhero that you really are. The next time you need to make a decision, ask yourself what your favorite Superhero would do in your situation. Soon you will be able to say along with Superman about your business, “Up, Up and Away!”

In the next article, I will focus on Strategic Planning.

About the author:

Alan Melton is president of Small Business Coach & Associates. He and his team work with an amazing group of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and executives who are getting on the fast track to achieving their personal goals. Alan has started ten businesses and acquired six more. Recognized by two U.S. presidents, Alan is a nationally known speaker, author, and award-winning business leader.

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