A month of Spring has already flown by, I cannot believe it. Does anyone else feel like the year has just disappeared? You have all these intentions of getting so much done, but then the mess happens and life happens and as a sole sole trader, it just feels like WOW! All these exciting opportunities come and then priorities shift. So, yeah, the struggle is real.
How are YOU going? How are you going with your business?
I want to follow on from the last blog about the importance of seasons in business and understanding where your seasons are in your business?
Winter is over…even though I had my fire on this week with a cold snap. Generally though, everything’s blossoming and we’ve just had the Carnival of Flowers, which was a lot of fun. I shot the Tipsy High Tea which was a full of vibrant spring colour.
You’d definitely say the Spring vibe is here! I’ve certainly started the spring cleaning and decluttering, and the energies are different now. I don’t want to be curled up on the couch and eating comfort food. I want to get out there and enjoy the buds bursting, and the bees buzzing, and the freshness of a rosè with beautiful cheese. Okay, I’ll stop now. However it is time to clear the desktop, clean out your documents, clean your office, declutter your workspace. Talk to Blue Lilac if you need help seriously. These girls are brilliant! I’ve had them at my home three times now and they are worth every cent.
But what about the more…vague business spring cleaning? The stuff like filing and processes, and even the physical activity also needs a bit of a refresh to make sure all that great spring energy is used to the best of your abilities. So, let’s look at a few of them.
Systems and Processes in business
What I am finding, as a sole trader – and I don’t know if you can relate to this, as you grow, if you don’t have the systems and processes in place, you can only get to a certain point. After that, there is a breaking point, where you either bring some people on or you have to let things go. Because, if you don’t, that’s when things start to fall apart. It’s where leads aren’t followed up, where customer bookings are missed, where you actually miss diary appointments because you have been on a call, but you’ve been multitasking and you’ve never put it into Google Calender or your CRM. Does this sound familiar?
If anyone is in a service space that uses workflows and needs a system that receives the leads, sends invoices and provides automation within the workflows, talk to me about Studio Ninja. This is my CRM and, although purpose built for photographers, it is certainly something I can see any creative industry that requires leads generation using. Here is a code SO88576Y to get 20% off your subscription (full transparency: I also get a discount of my subscription).
STOP Multitasking – it doesnt work
One small positive change, and I’ve got to practice what I preach, is to slow down. Slowing down allows us to focus. It allows us to act with purpose and not react in a way that we potentially wouldn’t do if we weren’t rushing. And yes, STOP multitasking! It is actually a misnomer! According to Harvard Business Review it takes time (an average of 15 minutes) to re-orient to a primary task after a distraction such as an email. Efficiency can drop by as much as 40%. So a couple of tips.
I went to a workshop just yesterday and was suggested to write down at the end the day the top 6 priorities for the next day and then dont do anything else until they are done. This is going be, hard but I see why. We get so distracted by random ‘stuff’. In fact, Natalie from Vigour Graphics and I often joke about butterfly moments. Those thoughts that send you off on a tangent…and suddenly you’re 50-tabs deep in a search for a recipe for chai spice cookies instead of creating a runsheet for next Tuesday’s photo session. Turn off your phone, chunk down those tasks, and create a space of focus that works for you.
Learn to let go of the baby
This year has also been about being clear on what works and what doesn’t. It has been a very cathartic year both personally and in business. By letting go and clearing space in your business, just like in your home, it allows for the opportunity to take on something even better. Sometimes you have to let go of the good to be open to the great. And I’m really hanging on to this philosophy.
Have you reassessed your business deliverables lately? Do they do what they’re meant to do? If it does not meet all the caveats of what makes a good business product – desirability, viability and feasibility – then it’s not going to work efficiently, and at some point it will hold you back.
A perfect example was my cooking classes which I’ve had to let it go of this year. I loved every one of them and they filled my heart. I loved bringing everyone together. I loved the collaboration. However, due to the time and the space, it was just not viable anymore. And I had to make that decision to let them go. But what it has done is opened up the doors to an amazing opportunity that we are working on over the next two years with another beautiful Toowoomba social enterprise. It’s very exciting! It aligns to everything that’s most important to me and it’s going to have a much bigger impact in our community. It gives me goose bumps.
Harness the Spring energy in your business
I can truly say that SPRING this season is truly preparing to sow the seeds in my business. In yours it could be reconnecting with all your clients. It’s taking advantage of the spring energy and also preparing for Christmas. Preparing for the festive season. Remember to think outside the box on how you can build relationships and business ideas to stay ahead of the game. We need to be ready to take on those tasks that will test us and fill our diaries and make us work sometimes harder. That sounds like a lot but, if we have our systems and processes in place, it makes us work smarter and more efficiently.
Business Crisis Points are an Opportunity
I’ve defintiely become a convert of smarter working this year. I had been unwell and was worried I would not be able to help one of my very loyal clients. But, because I have developed and documented my whole process of doing one part of my business, I was able to bring in my work experience student and get them to conduct the photoshoot. This was a game changer! This was a crisis point moment in my business and it was saved by having the processes in place. It proved to me the importance of what I’ve been doing. I’d been documenting every single process that I do. This exercise also proved to me that my business can and is ready to be scaled. It proved to me that it doesn’t just have to be me. Oh and scaling doesn’t just mean bigger either.
All businesses have crisis points. These are points where it can grow or collapse. One of the fundamental weaknesses in a sole trader business is when we get sick or can’t be there to run the business. I have now reduced that risk through the implementation of documenting the processes. What are you going to choose at the next crisis point? Are you going to choose to grow or collapse? I’d love to talk to you more about how to implement different tools, systems and processes, or simply identify what your future crisis points will be so you can scale or at least create space within your busy day.
I challenge you to go outside, enjoy that gorgeous sun, be grateful for the details in nature and the gifts it provides, and plant your seeds ready to harvest in Summer.
If you want to connect more about any of these topics, let’s chat!