Article #91, March, 2010
"Why Entrepreneurs Cannot Keep a Daily Schedule”
Have you tried over and over to keep to a daily schedule, but just can’t do it? There is a good reason for that! An entrepreneur’s life does not usually allow it.
When you have a very small business, or a microbusiness, you are often responsible for many tasks.
- You are the Communications Officer, meaning you answer the phone and you answer all the emails.
- You are often also the bookkeeper, so you must keep track of every dollar that comes in and goes out.
- You also make all the decisions on the budget, so you are the Finance Manager.
- Do not forget that you are also in charge of all technology, so that makes you the CIO – Chief Information Officer.
- One of your biggest responsibilities is being the V.P. of Marketing. Not only do you have to decide which strategies to use, but you have to learn how to do them all AND figure out which are the best strategies for you and your business goals. And then you have to execute them – often all by yourself!
- Oh yes – let’s not forget that you are also the Operations Manager and Customer Service Manager – in charge of fully servicing your clients.
These responsibilities do not fit nicely into a schedule. Your clients may need you at all different times. You will get urgent emails when you scheduled times to make phone calls, and you will get urgent phone calls when you scheduled time to work on email.
And you will get a ton of email that cries out for your attention all the time.
If you really like schedules, or if you just feel like having one is very helpful, I can offer some suggestions. Good and consistant planning is the key.
First, you must have a comprehensive, written action plan. This plan needs to include your goals, naturally, but also how you plan to achieve them along with specific actions. This must include quantities and timing/deadlines.
For example: Close 1 sale per week for at least $2,000 (goal)
Action step: Set 5 sales meeting appointments per week and close at least 1 sale; Call at least 40 leads per week to get at least 5 sales meeting appointments per week.
Next, set time aside weekly for planning. At the end of your workweek, Friday afternoons for most people, set aside about 20 minutes for planning and analysis. Take out your plan and your calendar and evaluate how your week was. Did you make your calls? Did you set appointments? Did you close sales? What else did you do well or not so well? What do you need to do next week?
After doing this quick analysis, write into your calendar for the next week exactly what you need to do. Around any appointments that are already set, block out some time for making your calls and make sure you have recorded all client and networking meetings.
This may be all you need, but many people have more complicated businesses and lives for this to work consistantly. If you are a wedding planner or real estate agent, for example, you very likely work nights and weekends. My biggest worry for you is that you work 7 days per week. Not only is this not healthy – you need at least one day off per week – but it actually leads to more disorganization.
Then there are parents. If you have children at home, especially if you are a single or only parent, sometimes your children will need you during your work hours! They will have doctor appointments, ballgames, exams and much more.
Besides those logistical interruptions, you have a responsibility to them to be a good, present parent. Make sure you have your priorities firmly in place as you plan your schedule. Also, have your expectations in line and resist the urge to compare your own success against others in your same industry. As long as you have your priorities in order, you will be happy with all of your success, and you will have the added bonus of being a great role model for your kids.
The life of an entrepreneur can be messy. Often, that is part of the appeal! It may never be the same two days in a row. Setting appropriate priorities, flexibility and good, consistant planning will keep you sane.