How many times have you thought to yourself “Jeez, I really need to get better about this…”?
I think, no matter what business you are in, running a business means you have to wear a lot of hats and be responsible for a lot of things.
Inevitably, that means things can slip through the cracks. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, or that you aren’t trying to do your best— it’s just the nature of it.
Each time you see it, again you think “I really need to get better about this!”.
Admittedly, I had one of these things that were really burning me up, and after two years of it bothering me, I fixed it in less than 5 minutes.
In my business we pass the ball back and forth quite a bit.
I make something, send it to my customer. My customer reviews it, sends it back.
This basic process repeats itself over and over again— sometimes over 100 times during the course of a project.
In a perfect world we’re passing the back back and forth regularly, and at a nice swift pace. But, life rarely happens linearly and sometimes the ball gets dropped.
I’m a very task oriented person. My project management software keep my whole business running and when I tick something off my list, I move onto the next. My queue for coming back to something is usually when my client shouts “heads up!” and passes the ball back my way.
What if, for one of those non-linear reasons, my client drops the ball?
Typically when this happens, there comes a time when I notice that it’s been a while since I’ve heard back, and I fire off a quick message to check on things.
What I don’t like about this is that it’s a bit ‘at random’. If this processes delays it’s easy to get out of the flow we were in passing the ball back and forth.
This happens, and each time I think “I really need to get better about this!”.
I don’t think this is a unique phenomenon in my business, I’m almost certain it happens in businesses of all kinds… but after struggling with it for a couple years I finally did something about it.
All I did was think to myself “What could I do to make sure there are no longer-than-expected gaps in our communication? The answer was actually pretty simple.
I set up a rule in my project management system that essentially says: If a project hasn’t been updated in 5 days, send me a notification.
This notification is my queue to follow up with the customer. Just a quick email to ask them how it’s going, or if I can help them.
It took less than 5 minutes to implement, and not only is it saving me time, my customers are thanking me, appreciating my diligence, and projects are actually move forward faster (something my clients and I both love!).
It’s amazing that sometimes the answer to these problems is actually much more simple than we make it. Something that bothered me regularly has been now flipped, and is actually now astrength of my process.
It’s a small thing. But, making these small, incremental improvements to your business can really add up over time.
What would your business look like if you took a weakness and changed it into a strength? Imagine what that might look like if we kept doing that throughout the year… How much better would your processes be by the time 2020 gets here?
What is it in your business that has been bothering you? Can you set up a process that improves it, or better yet, turns it from a weakness into a strength?