Category : Tips & Tricks

Why Time Management Makes A Big Difference

Being organised with your time is a key skill to learn and utilise in all areas of your life.

The benefits are endless but we’ve got some of the best reasons to keep on top of your to-dos with proper time management here…

You’re more productive

Setting yourself a time limit and knowing what you want to achieve within that timeframe is a great way to be more productive.

The more you do it, the easier it will become.

When you allocate a certain chunk of time to a task it gives you a deadline to work to and eventually, you should see that it starts to become second nature.

It can make you less stressed

Managing your time so you can tick off all of the tasks on your to-do list can give you a sense of achievement and control.

When you have a clear itinerary and time limits, the level of stress that comes from juggling multiple deadlines can be greatly reduced.

In fact, the more stressed you get then the worse your time management will become – so keep calm and focus on using your time effectively and less time worrying about it.

Builds self esteem

Having the confidence to make a commitment to complete a task, and ultimately being successful in executing that task, can be a real boost to your self-esteem.

The resulting perks of those results can be great for you professionally and personally too, especially if it’s recognised by colleagues or friends.

Don’t be reticent about your achievements either – if you’ve managed to crack time management then share your tips and ideas with your co-workers who may be struggling with a similar challenge.

Balance

Life is all about balance, but if your time management is your Achilles heel then it is likely to be affecting your work life balance – and not in a good way!

Allocating time for yourself is so important; working all the hours going can be detrimental to your health and to your relationships.

Working too many hours can also lead you to make mistakes and require even more of your precious time to correct those errors.

Achieving your goals

Time management can help you in many ways, reaching your personal goals and targets through clever and effective use of your time is another super example of why this is a great skill to master.

Timelines for where you plan to be in your career in five, ten or fifteen years can be a good way to focus.

Short term goals and long term goals are both good motivators.

Why So Many Small Businesses Fail: How to Avoid Failing

Figures show that entrepreneurship in the UK is booming – with statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirming that there are a record 5.5 million businesses in the UK today, an increase of 23% since 2010.

Of those, the government data shows that 76% of businesses only employ the owner.

Unfortunately, studies also show that almost half (four out of 10) small businesses don’t survive to year five.

So why is this?

What causes small businesses to fail and what can you do to ensure your new enterprise goes from strength to strength?

#1 You’re in the wrong industry

The sector you choose has a lot to do with whether your small business will be thriving or dying after year one.

Property businesses are most likely to fail after year one, according to Ormsby Street’s business survival calculator.

Food services and business admin all have poor long term survival rates.

How to avoid this pitfall

Do your research when you land on your business idea.

Investigate the sector and conduct a thorough analysis of the marketplace before you go full steam ahead.

What are industry predictions for the next one to five years?

Is confidence in the sector high?

Are there a large number of similar businesses struggling in your area?

#2 Cashflow

Poor cashflow is the small business killer and one of the biggest causes of small businesses going under.

This will be an all too familiar scenario for some – you’ve delivered a product or service, paid your own supplier but are waiting for your own customer to pay you.

Suddenly you have a deficit and a hole where cash used to sit that you need to plug.

Many a small business owner will bemoan the hassle of late payment – with some saying larger firms are often the slowest to pay.

How to avoid this pitfall

You need to address cash flow issues as soon as they start to become a problem and have a plan in place to ease woes so you can continue to trade if you late payments from customers cause you headaches.

Be strict about payment terms with clients from day one and make sure you have a plan of action to deal with non-payment, such as legal remedies to recover funds due.

#3 No marketing

Marketing is the lifeblood of any businesses but when you’re juggling a mountain of to-dos, taking time to update your website or send that email can seem like a job that can wait.

The result is that you fail to build awareness and will struggle to find customers.

How to avoid this pitfall

As a new business, funds are probably tight too but investing in marketing should be non-negotiable.

If you can’t do it yourself, find a marketing service you can trust and be consistent and proactive about marketing.

Whether that’s running Facebook ads or attending local networking events, you need to make marketing a priority to see your small business succeed.

Tips On Attending Your First Client Meeting

Like any new situation, the first time meeting a new client can be daunting; if it’s crucial to your job or business that the meeting goes well then there’s also extra pressure to take into account.

Read on for our top tips for approaching the situation with confidence.

Research

It should go without saying, but researching your client and their business beforehand is crucial.

Knowing some of their history and work practice will make them see that you’re truly invested in working with them going forward.

Being armed with this background knowledge going in will also help to settle any last minute nerves.

Ask questions

Another no brainer but surprisingly many people don’t remember to prep these in advance.

If you need certain information to help you drive the new client relationship forward, prep a series of questions that you can ask to glean this information so you leave the meeting with all of the facts, data and input you need.

Asking questions also shows you’re interested in your new client and, if you’re really nervous, can buy you some time to calm down as the client answers.

Get to the point

Everyone is busy so create an agenda that will keep the meeting on track and moving forward efficiently.

Having a clear direction of what needs to be covered not only stops the meeting dragging on, it also demonstrates your efficiency and effectiveness.

Don’t be over friendly

It’s easy to let the nerves take over and waffle a little, but be conscious that this is still a business meeting and your client will expect you to be professional.

Telling them about another client who doesn’t pay invoices for example might seem like you’re safeguarding against it happening again but if could be considered flippant by your new client.

Take notes

It isn’t rude to makes note of important information the client shares with you.

They’d rather you have a concise record of the meeting than have to go back to them for the most basic facts after the meeting is over.

If you don’t know then don’t try and bluff it

You can’t be the subject matter expert on everything and a new client might throw you a question you hadn’t anticipated in advance.

If this happens, reassure the client you will find out for them and come back with an exact answer.

It’s far more embarrassing to make a guess and then have to either correct it or worse, stand by it!

Agree the next steps

What’s next?

Clearly set out to the client what you will do next and confirm with them what you require from their side.

Follow up

The follow up email or call is really important.

The client may have more questions for you or be unsure of something, giving them that follow up opportunity could also mean getting some feedback which you can use to plan your next meeting.

decision-making

How To Become A Better Decision Maker

Can you make decisions in an instant? Then you’re one of the lucky few!

Many struggle to make decisions on a daily basis, whether it be in their professional or personal lives, and this can hinder their chances of achieving success.

There are steps, however, that you can take to help become a better decision maker.

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Ask someone you trust what they think

It’s important to confide in people you trust and know the circumstances when facing difficult decisions.

Getting another person’s perspective on a situation can help to shine a new light and ensure you feel confident going forward with any decision you make.

 

Take emotions out of the equation

Decisions led purely by emotion are never a good idea. If you find yourself emotionally drawn to something, it’s best to take a step away and come back to it at another time. Although you do need to trust your instincts, making big decisions when you’re not feeling level-headed can result in you making a bad decision.

 

Be confident about what you’re doing

Even if you don’t feel completely confident about the decision you’re making, tell yourself you do. Trust me – you’ll feel so much better for doing so!

 

Trust your instincts wholeheartedly

Going with your gut instincts is probably the soundest piece of advice you can get. To put it simply, going with your gut can help you decide when something is right – and when it isn’t. So if you feel anything isn’t quite right about a situation, it probably isn’t.

Trust this feeling and you can’t go far wrong.

 

Don’t change your mind

We’re all guilty of changing our minds every now and again, but once you’ve made a decision, don’t talk yourself out of it or into another.

Be honest with yourself and others

The only way you’ll make a decision that’s right for you is to be completely honest. If you ask yourself questions and honestly answer ‘no’ to many of them, then it may be time to re-think the direction you’re thinking of going in.

 

Think about the future and goals

Are you wanting to reach certain goals before you hit a certain age? Then considering this in your decision-making will help make life much easier. If doing one thing will help you achieve what you want to, then, ultimately, you need to stay on that path.

 

Look at the bigger picture

It can be all too easy to focus on one good thing or sparing a thought about a bad situation. But if you can remove this negativity and look at the situation as a whole, you’ll make better decisions going forward – guaranteed.

 

Do you have any tips for making decisions for those who struggle? Feel free to share them on social media or via the comments section below!

Presentation

How To Ace Your Next Presentation

Whether you’re pitching for new clients or presenting your latest work to other departments, presentations can be nerve-wracking experiences.

With a lot riding on them, getting presentations just right is often at the back of your mind when you’re preparing.

With these useful top ten tips, you can ace your next presentation with ease.

1. Check your brief

Misreading or misinterpreting a brief is a simple mistake to make, so make sure you fully understand what’s expected.

Not only will it help you feel in control but it ensures that you avoid any embarrassment or unexpected questions on the day.

2. Don’t underestimate the importance of research

Conducting plenty of research not only means you can go the extra mile with your presentation, it can help you feel more prepared too. Set aside plenty of time before you get started on your presentation to get stuck into research.

3. Think about your structure

The flow of your presentation is important for keeping your audience interested throughout. Consider how best to structure your delivery to ensure that it seamlessly goes from one topic to the next rather than jumping around.

4. Add some style

You don’t have to go crazy making your presentation look pretty but adding some style can give your audience something to focus on. Include visuals such as graphics, graphs, and more so that your presentation isn’t one dimensional.

5. Prepare for a Q&A session

The dreaded Q&A session following a presentation can be a stumbling block for even the best. Anticipate the questions you’ll be asked and have answers prepared – but expect some curveballs too!

6. Practice Practice Practice

We all know the phrase, but practise really does make perfect! There’s no substitute for rehearsing your completed presentation; whether with colleagues, friends, or simply in front of a mirror, practice as much as you can.

7. Inject some personality

Presentations can be dull.

Adding a touch of personality can help yours stand out from the crowd and keep your listeners interested. Use some anecdotes, be interactive, and, most importantly, be yourself!

8. Get into a calm space

Before your presentation, leave some time to get into a calm space and quickly go over all your key points. If you’re feeling anxious, try taking some deep breaths, releasing tension in your muscles, and focus on how well prepared you are for this.

9. Find a focal point

If you’re never sure where to look during a presentation and the thought of making eye contact fills you with dread, picking a focal point can help. Choose a point that’s towards the back of the room and at around eye level.

10. Remember that nerves aren’t always a bad thing

If you hate public speaking, presentations will inevitably make you nervous. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, nerves can give you a boost of adrenaline that can help you deliver a better performance. Of course, you need to keep your nerves in check but you can use them to your advantage.  

Got any of your own tips? Leave a comment in the box down below!

Stop Procrastinating & Start Doing: 5 Tips To Be More Productive

Did you know that if you are logged on to the Internet you can waste up to half of your time procrastinating?

This can cost yourself or your company valuable time and money.

Change agent and marketing visionary Trevor McClintock shares his top tips for minimising those pesky distractions and getting down to business sooner rather than later.

Set realistic goals – not unattainable goals

To ensure maximum productivity you must ensure you set clear aims out of what you wish to achieve.

Each day write yourself a realistic plan of what you will set out to achieve and by the end of the day review where you are up to and measure your progress compared to the rest of the week.

By the end of the day where do you want to be?

Are your goals attainable?

Always have a clear goal in mind when you begin a task.

If the task is not helping you achieve your daily goals is it worthwhile or just a task that could potentially take up a lot of time without any tangible gain?

Think deeper and ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing?

Do one thing at a time

In the world of technology, it is more difficult than ever to get on with one thing at a time when there are constant distractions to contend with.

We are all victims of information overload and it’s important to minimise this and regain focus on what is important.

Depending on what you are trying to achieve, you want to distance yourself from technology to focus single-mindedly on the task in hand.

One practice that can help with this is to avoid connecting to anything before you begin.

Achieve focus by just getting on with the task in hand.

Clear your desk of distractions, close all unrelated windows on your computer, or shut off the Internet all together.

Multi-tasking can also make you less efficient even though it feels like you are really busy.

Know what actually matters

It’s easy to busy yourself with unimportant tasks.

Ensure you prioritise what actually matters.

Ensure you make time for the important things in life to keep the balance

People are essential for being engaged and motivated.

Ensure you have adequate social interaction in your day to stay inspired and connected. Eat well and exercise regularly.

Take care of yourself and productivity will follow on from this.

It sounds like common sense but sometimes people do not take care of the basics.

Time to daydream is essential for creativity.

Sometimes people fail to make space for this.

As productivity expert Chris Bailey once said, “Some of our best ideas happen when we give ourselves mental space to make connections”.

Have focus

All time is finite.

It’s what you do with the time that you have that determines how things turn out.

If you have less time but more focus and energy, then you will still achieve more than if you had more time but lacked focus and energy.

How much do we accomplish by the end of the day?

When we achieve what we set out to, we have been perfectly productive.

Sort out what is important compared to what isn’t.

Eliminate your distractions and have an attributable intention behind everything you do.

Make sure you make the most of your time and plan according to your goals.

When you haven’t achieved your goal for some reason, ensure you question why it hasn’t happened in order to achieve the desired structure for the next day.

Do you need help achieving your productivity goals?

Why not drop me a tweet or write a comment below.