By Jennie Wong The Charlotte Observer.
In my everyday life, I talk to a lot of business owners. So I hear a lot of wishes for the future, what resolutions people are making and what their hopes are for themselves and their companies. But there's one thing I never hear, "You know what I need? I need a lot more on my plate. I just don't have enough stuff going on."
Some people may complain about boredom, but never entrepreneurs.
We struggle with too many ideas, too much to do, and getting pulled in too many directions. If you have just one business, you contend with dividing your time between clients. If you have more than one business, you contend with giving proper focus to each. And we all wrestle with allocating our time between addressing the urgent versus the important.
So whether you are looking to start a company, grow a company, or better manage the company you have, I would propose a universal resolution for business owners: Simplify. Here's how.
Simplify your mindset: As with most positive change, this one starts between the ears. You can take the first step towards simplicity by becoming aware of your self-talk. How many times a day do you say or think, "I don't have time to (fill in the blank)." Many entrepreneurs have this as a default setting, and it's a knee-jerk response to just about anything that comes up, even amazing personal or professional opportunities.
While this sense of time starvation is understandable, it's not at all useful. Try this empowering idea instead: "I have plenty of time for the things that matter." Say this to yourself as an alternative to "I'm too busy for that," and open up the possibility of a better year ahead.
Simplify priorities: Once you've reprogrammed your thinking around time and availability, the next question is, "What are the things that matter?" Not every prospect is equally qualified and not every product line is equally profitable. So ask yourself, what is the No. 1, single most important thing you need to do in Q1?
This is a special challenge for entrepreneurs. It's important to recognize that this type of discipline may not come naturally, so don't expect it to. Think of it more like learning to write with your non-dominant hand, something you'll have to practice.
Simplify next steps: Make next steps easier on yourself by breaking down the larger goal into manageable chunks and focusing on the phase in front of you. For example, if your mission critical task for the year is opening a second location, you could think of the first phase as "Assemble expansion team." Then you could break that down even further to "Select a commercial real estate broker," or even more granular to "Call and email my contacts to ask for referrals to a good broker."
Hopefully, that's the point at which you realize you really do have enough time to make that call, which is the beauty and power of simplifying. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Jennie Wong is an executive coach, author of the e-book "Ask the Mompreneur" and the creator of the product quiz website www.ABorC.com