20 Simple shortcuts to small business success by Kelly Exeter shows that building a small successful business is more than doing all the normal things we usually read about when it comes to setting up a small business. Kelly gives us 20 shortcuts that can be helpful to us all. Following is a brief review of each shortcut in their respective sections in the book.
SECTION 1 – HEALTH
Shortcut 1: Eight great nutrition tips for a maximum energy day: To achieve more you’ve got to have maximum energy. Some ideas to help with this are:
- Start your day with two big glasses of water.
- Have a green smoothie for breakfast.
- Always take a lunch break.
- Don’t buy your lunch from the lunch bar.
Shortcut 2: Stop sacrificing sleep: Get better quality sleep.
- Schedule out the next day.
- No coffee after 3pm and no alcohol less than two hours before bedtime.
- No screens in the last hour before bedtime.
Shortcut 3: Manage stress better (be the egg not the potato) – learn to manage stress:
- Only the controllables can be controlled.
- We can always deal with the now.
- Stress is only as bad as you think it is.
SECTION 2: NUMBERS
Shortcut 4: You attract what you track – this is about ensuring you track the right numbers. Key advice here is to track what will make your business more profitable and not vanity metrics.
Shortcut 5: Invoice smarter for better cashflow – don’t invoice too late. Do it as soon as possible. With today’s technology you can do it immediately. Some suggested ideas are:
- Invoice a job as soon as it is finished.
- Shorten your payment terms.
- Get deposits for large jobs.
Shortcut 6: Make it super-easy for people to buy from you. Put things in place to make it easy for people to purchase from you. Use online tools for appointments and payments.
SECTION 3: PRODUCTIVITY
Shortcut 7: Get up earlier (as opposed to ‘Early’) – Get up earlier to give you time to do things so you are not under pressure or rushed. This can affect your mood and make you a better person to do business with. It can also make you think clearer.
Shortcut 8: Practise strategic procrastination: While this sounds strange three ideas are presented under this shortcut:
- Understand just because you can do something quickly doesn’t mean you should. For example you don’t need to go through all your emails now just because you can. That may not be the most value-adding thing to do.
- Practise productive procrastination. This involves giving yourself a break to do something later at a time when you will be more productive at doing it.
- Give important things time to marinate. This is giving yourself the opportunity to spend time thinking about decisions or actions you need to take.
Shortcut 9: Stop starting again and eat the frog first – Get the important tasks out of the way. Stop spending your time on unimportant tasks just to avoid doing the important ones.
Shortcut 10: Rethink meetings – Avoid unproductive meetings. So do this:
- Reduce the number of meetings in your life.
- Make the meetings you do attend more productive.
- Re-think the sit-down meeting.
Shortcut 11: Embrace routine – this shortcut is about creating a routine that will make you much more productive. According to Kelly having a routine can:
- Reduce cognitive load.
- Reduce reactivity and stress.
- Instead of starting each day with a blank slate, routines provide a structure around which to build your day.
- When things don’t go the way you want, routine can help you get things under control.
Shortcut 12: Practise the one-minute rule – if it will take you less than a minute to do a task, then do it now.
SECTION 4 – MARKETING
Shortcut 13: Leverage the power of storytelling – Find ways to tell compelling stories of what you do. It can influence people to buy what you sell.
Shortcut 14: Market your business in 10 minutes a day – marketing actions you can can take in 10-minutes. There are 25 of them and here are six:
- Email a client you haven’t heard from for a while with an article you think might interest them.
- Join relevant business groups on Facebook or small business discussion forum.
- Visit those communities at least once a week, find a discussion you can contribute to meaningfully, and leave a considered comment.
- Leave a review for your favourite podcast on iTunes.
- Leave a review for that great business book you’ve just read.
- Check your LinkedIn profile and ensure it’s up to date.
Shortcut 15: Get people to crave you – do something that makes people want what you provide.
SECTION 5: MINDSET
Shortcut 16: Stop saving, start investing – in yourself – Invest in things that are good for you and your business such as:
- Hiring a bookkeeper
- Going to a conference
- Paying someone to learn something from them.
Shortcut 17: Put yourself out there – learn the art of asking – in business if you want to succeed you will need to learn how to ask for what you want. Here’s some advice on that:
- Never ask unless you’re really clear on what you want.
- Make sure you’re asking the right person.
- Time it right.
- Try and make it a win-win.
- Don’t write an essay (when asking for something).
- Don’t ask for more than one thing at a time.
- Ask for small before you ask for big.
Shortcut 18: Be willing to narrow your focus – don’t try to implement too many strategies at the same time.
Find an important thing that will move your business in the right direction and focus on it. In shortcut 4 Kelly discussed a formula which is:
Prospects X Conversations = Customers
Customers X $ amount X frequency % margin =profit
Focusing on just changing one of the elements of the formula, for example, increasing customers can be a business game changer.
Shortcut 19: Set yourself up to make better decisions – running a business requires making good decisions. Some of what can help you to do this are:
- Have routines.
- Build good habits by making certain things non-negotiable
- Use a calendar instead of a to-do list.
Shortcut 20: Get comfortable being uncomfortable – having your own business is never going to be straightforward. You will constantly have to deal with uncomfortable situations, so you need to get used to it.
This is a book with lots of ideas. Each of the 20 shortcuts discussed has lots of more detail than I’ve reviewed here and will surely give you a couple of ideas on how to run a small business more effectively.
It’s a relatively small book and very interesting to read. Time spent reading it will turn out to be a good investment.