A roadmap to entrepreneurial freedom (part two)

Strategic Coach will be discussing many of these breakthrough strategies in more detail at a live event in London on 6 March. Real Business readers can get complimentary tickets here.

Read strategies one and two here.

Strategy three: Focus on your goals and become more productive.

We all realise to generate the best results, you have to maximise how effectively you use your time.

But you’d be amazed at how often entrepreneurs get caught up just firefighting and dealing with the immediate challenges of their business.

If your time is spent dealing with a whole range of day-to-day issues, you lose your focus, which can destabilise your business over the longer term because it’s too hard to plan ahead. 

The key is to shift your focus from firefighting to thinking longer term and setting specific goals; then break down these goals into quarterly, weekly and daily action plans. We call this approach a “Results Focus”. 

The most important factor for the efficiency and productivity of your business is the quality of results. Yet the majority of entrepreneurs operate their business on a “Time Focus” basis—where employees and owners are focused almost wholly on how many hours they work.

Switching to a “Results Focus” takes your eye off the clock and gets you to concentrate on what’s most important for your business—tangible results.

We recommend blocking out and protecting “Focus Time”—so you can work out and plan those priorities, crucial jobs and projects that must be completed. To really increase productivity you occasionally need to shield yourself from the everyday minutiae of your business. After all, you can still book in protected “Focus Time” for dealing with the day-to-day mess too. 

A great way to increase productivity is, in fact, to restrict the number of small tasks you do and focus instead on accomplishing the three most important crucial results each week. Over a year, you’d still be tackling the 150 most business critical tasks while allowing yourself time to manage any immediate problems that might appear.

Another benefit with committing to this approach is that you can plan it around a weekday schedule, so your weekends are clear to enjoy time with friends and family. Most important, that time is guilt- and stress-free because you’ve achieved your most important objectives.

Once your productivity begins to increase as a result of being focused on your most important goals, and the amount and quality of your free times increases, guess what? Business can become fun again!

If you haven’t already done so, as a Real Business reader, get your complimentary tickets here for the Strategic Coach live event in London on 6 March, where these breakthrough strategies will be discussed in more detail. 

Strategy four: Focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses

A popular saying of mine is “Frank Sinatra didn’t move pianos!”

To produce the best results as quickly as possible you have to spend a high percentage of your time doing what you do best; what you do better than anyone else, in fact, because it will be this which produces the most value for your business and your clients. To do this you need to delegate the activities and jobs that you either don’t like doing or aren’t good at, and therefore don’t produce the best results. 

For entrepreneurs this means first identifying what we call your “Unique Ability”. Unique Ability activities are those for which you have superior skill and real passion, and as a result produce extraordinary results. Unique Ability activities should actually give you more energy than they use and have the potential for continual improvement. Everyone has a unique talent. 

I don’t believe focusing on your weaknesses makes you a better, more rounded person in life or business. I’d argue any effort spent strengthening your weaknesses is a waste of valuable time and energy since you’re performing tasks you’re just not very good at and neglecting those you are good at. None of your weaknesses can ever become your unique strengths, so it’s more effective to delegate those weaknesses to someone who’s better at them, ideally someone whose Unique Ability lies in those areas.

The best business owners have recognised their Unique Ability, and align it to what creates value for their business and what creates value for their clients. We spend a great deal of time helping clients recognise what they do best.

The next obvious step is to develop your delegation skills—it’s that simple. Effective delegation has a multiplier effect on your business growth. It allows you to focus your attention on your Unique Ability, which invariably generates the most revenue.

My experience working with thousands of entrepreneurs in the Strategic Coach Programme over the past 20 years has shown me that whenever an entrepreneur successfully delegates a significant amount of their low-value work, there is an immediate and significant increase in their personal income.

Of course it’s best if you can delegate the right tasks to the right person with the right skill-set— which is where we’ll pick up in the next article.

We encourage Real Business readers to apply for complimentary tickets to the upcoming Strategic Coach event in London on 6 March.

Dan Sullivan is founder and president of entrepreneurial coaching company Strategic Coach.

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