Annie Browne from Hello My PA does it all. She runs workshops for us, talks at our 5-9 Club, offers 121 advice at Meet the Experts and is a mentor to fellow members. On top of all this, she’s grown an amazing business. No wonder she was voted Member of the Year 2019! But how does she stay on top of it all? Find out in this Guest Blog.
As a busy entrepreneur, starting and growing a successful business whilst maintaining a social life, raising a family and looking after your own well-being is no mean feat.
In 2015 I launched my virtual assistant business, Hello My PA and a year later, founded what is now a 7.5k strong UK freelance community. As a mother of 2 young boys, married to a globetrotting academic and living 4 hours away from any family, I can completely empathise with the plate spinning nature of this aforementioned lifestyle. Needless to say, I would consider myself to be a very organised kind of person.
Being organised is a very divisive subject though, don’t you think? You either fully subscribe to the concept of being a super organised, app loving, stationery enthusiast or you can’t stand the idea of either TRYING to be organised or being restricted by systems.
Organisation however, has become a misunderstood and cliché concept. Not matter your relationship with ‘being organised’ I want to give you different perspective; I want to unpick what you know about being organised, explore why organisation is key for business growth and then give you 5 actionable things that you can do to optimised your business organisation for business growth.
What does being organised mean?
Forget what you know about being organised. I have met so many people trying to apply systems, apps and tools to what I can only describe as chaos. These are normally the same people who are then spending much of their hard-earned profits on tools that they just do not need. Numerous times I have been asked: “I need to get organised. What apps do you recommend?” and “How do you keep yourself organised?”
If you have been wondering the same thing (and you may have been which is why you are reading this blog post) I would ask you one thing: What are you trying to achieve?
Being organised is not an end result. It isn’t about applying systems and processes to complete chaos. It is going back to the start, deciding what you need to achieve and then choosing what is the most effective way to get there. As A.A.Milne wrote:
“Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
Does being organised really affect business growth?
Being organised on a personal level, as well as within your business, is incredibly important for business growth. Even if your business grows without focus on the systems and processes in the short term, long term it will not be easy to maintain, effectively grow a team or optimise productivity.
In short, being organised will increase your business productivity and in turn, your profits;
- Imagine having a system in place that saves time for you and your team; time which can be better spent on something else.
- Imagine having processes in place which create efficient communication in your work force so that you are always on the same page; so that nothing is missed.
- Imagine the amazing experience your customers would have with your brand if you had an effective marketing plan and efficient customer service process.
- Imagine feeling that your business was able to run without constant input from you, thus giving you creative freedom to put fresh new ideas into your business.
5 ways you can be more organised
I am sure that at some point in your business journey, you have felt a sense of overwhelm. This is never eased by clutter whether it is physical or mental ‘clutter’. With the line between your home and work life blurred as self-employed entrepreneur, clutter in any aspect of your life can cause overwhelm.
Get started by de-cluttering your home, your bag, your car, your computer and most importantly, your workspace. From your living space, to your working environment; clear out everything you do not need. Delete old files, get rid of old papers, keep only items of value. For everything that you keep, action it or give it ‘a place’. Create efficient storage solutions and create a calming and un-distracting environment.
Plan your goals
Write a plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can write a 1, 5 and 10-year plan, a list of SMART goals or short-term goals. Whatever works for you. The idea is that you are writing down what it is you want to achieve. Make sure you include timelines. This gives you something to work towards.
Once you have a plan of what you want to achieve and when by, focus your energy around these goals.
For example, if you know that you aim to sell X amount of product over the next 12 months, break that down into monthly, weekly and daily goals. Decide what you need to sell every day to reach your target. Plan how you will do that and track it. Keep your focus on reaching your daily target. Everything that you do, should be with a view to reaching this goal (or one of your other goals)
Having your goals written down is invaluable when you think you are going off track.
Manage your time
The people who don’t worry about time, are the people who are in control of their time. Take time to really reflect on your time and what it means for you. Ask yourself:
- Do I have set times to work?
- Do I have commitments that cannot be changed?
- When is my optimum time for working?
- Do I work best on a time or project basis?
- Do I work well under pressure?
- Do I know what I need to do and when?
- Do I make time for myself?
- Do I need a set routine?
Once you have more clarity on these questions, work out your schedule and map your goals onto that schedule.
Choose your tools
Firstly, decide on how you will plan and keep track of your time and your goals. Whether it is iCal, Google Calendar, a desk diary or a wall planner; choose something that reflects your needs when it comes to managing time.
Once you have a diary or calendar in place, decide on what tools you need to achieve your goals. Need to improve you customer experience and create a central process for managing customer enquiries? Invest in a CRM. Want to improve staff communications and workflow? Look at team and project management tools.
Do your research but ask the question, “what tool do I need to achieve X?” Shop around and be sure to take advantage of free trials to ensure the tools work for you and achieving your goals.
Then keep your focus.
Look after you
One of the most underrated things you can do to improve your organisational skills, your productivity and the growth of your business, is focus on you.
YOU are the central cog. Everything else around you is turning because you give it the energy to do so. It only works because you do. If you stop working, so will your surrounding cogs, so look after yourself; mentally and physically.
Making time for yourself will be your most valuable investment. Eat well, get good sleep, exercise, do things you enjoy daily, take time to reflect on where you are putting your energy and say no to things that don’t work for you, make you feel happy or help you to achieve your goals.
Ready to grow your business? Get help to stay on track, receive real actionable tips and inspiration for better organisation and increased productivity, straight to your inbox here.
About: Annie Browne runs Hello My PA. They offer virtual assistant services including administrative support and marketing assistance to SME’s and freelancers in the UK. Find out more.