I’ve recently started following Perry Marshall. Perry is a numbers and analysis geek, like I am, and has written a fascinating book on applying the Pareto Principle to sales and marketing called 80/20 Sales and Marketing. I’m already on my second read of the book and am sure I will read it 5 more times. I’m so excited about the information he shares, I can’t wait to start implementing the principles with my clients and their businesses.
While there are a million ideas that are floating around in my head from reading his book, one particular topic seemed critical to share this week. The month of June is typically an evaluation and potential reset opportunity for most businesses. We are now half way through the year and usually spend a little bit of time reflecting on how things have gone thus far.
If you are like most business owners, the first 6 months have flown by. Most will create a plan at the beginning of the year, put their heads down, and start working as fast as they possibly can toward their goals.
While action is great at driving out fear and self-doubt, action can also drive out thought (as stated by Richard Koch, the author of The 80/20 Principle and The 80/20 Manager). See, if you spend all of your time doing and not enough time thinking then all you do is create more work for yourself. And creating more work leaves less time to think.
According to Perry Marshall, most of us think that if we work hard enough and fast enough and get all of our tasks completed, then we’ll have time left over to think and plan and create and generate ideas. But in fact, it doesn’t happen that way. If we don’t intentionally carve out time for these types of activities, it will NEVER happen.
So, before you get into the month of July, officially reserve some time on your calendar for thinking and planning and creating. Stop what you are doing right now and get it on your calendar and then protect that time with your life. Then, when you sit down to think, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the biggest levers I can pull to catapult my business forward?
Maybe your biggest levers are to eliminate something that is a big time or energy sucker. Maybe it’s having a better understanding of how you are personally wired so that you can leverage those strengths instead of getting mired down in the areas you struggle. Maybe its understanding that you are spending your time trying to convince customers who aren’t ready instead of disqualifying them to focus on those who are ready.
Whatever they are, are there 2 – 3 things you can stop doing or start doing that will make a big difference in the growth of your company. And sometimes, stopping some activities have even more impact than adding activities – so be mindful of that.
- As I review what I’ve been doing, what are my biggest AHAs?
What are your biggest AHAs from the past 6 months? Again, this may have to do with gaining a better understanding of how you are wired which may change how you deliver your products or services. For instance, some people are editors, not creators – meaning they fix things not build things. For me, I understand that I am highly methodical, so I prefer a plan to doing things spontaneously or off the cuff. Therefore, my best client matches are with those who also like methodical approaches.
Another big AHA could be the understanding that there is more than one way to accomplish your business objectives. Sometimes we become so married to a single way of doing things that we miss opportunities that will ultimately get us there faster.
- What are the biggest results I can generate from these levers and AHAs?
Once you’ve identified your biggest levers and biggest AHAs, how can you translate those into big results? This is where you take what you’ve learned and adjust your plan moving forward with this new information.
When you stop letting action drive out thought, your movements and decisions become more intentional, ideas come to you more easily, and you stop wasting time on activities that don’t propel you forward. Ah, there’s another 80/20 in there…more on that later.