TIME - we all have the same amount of it, it's what we do with it that counts.
It's the middle of the summer holidays and children or no children, it's the time of the year when most of us hope to take some time off, whether that's to get away or simply make the most of the better weather (??) on the golf course, in your hiking boots or in the saddle (horse or cycle).
So my question to you this week is ... are you managing to have the time off that you would like?
I had a conversation yesterday that got me thinking about our mortality and the fact that we never quite know when our time is up.
Sorry, that's not very cheery I know, but it got me thinking about how we spend our time. Very often business owners started their business with dreams of more time to do X but find that the business takes over and they end up spending less time with their friends and family and doing the things they wanted to do.
This is perhaps a good time of year to stand back and see how near you are to achieving what you set out to do. If you're not getting time to do the things you thought you'd be doing over the summer then work out what's stopping you.
It might be that you're not clear about exactly what you want so you're going round in circles. In which case you need to get clear on your goals so that you know what you're aiming for.
Or it might be that you are too central to your business and you need to find ways of releasing yourself and getting things done without you.
If you want to chat about systems, processes and delegating and how that might help you get more time to do the things you want to do, I'm always happy to have a chat, just give me a call.
I know I've talked about Trello a couple of times lately but I don't apologise for spending more time talking about it this week because this tool could help you work differently and in turn allow you to take your business to the next level.
I have spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks developing the way I use Trello in my business and working with clients to implement Trello into their businesses and I thought it might be worth offering you 5 reasons why you should consider using Trello in your business ...
1. Keep your project communication in one place
Trello is built for project management and it has loads of features that help to make project management slick and easy but one of the key things for me is around project communication.
When you're working with several different people on a project (customers and/or colleagues) there can be a lot of emails flying around and if you're not careful your inbox gets overloaded and you can't always come back to the email you know you've seen a few days ago. There are a number of tools now that have been designed to take the conversation out of your email inbox and Trello can integrate with some of these. However, it also has it's own inbuilt platform with the 'Comment' feature keeping a track of what's been said and allowing you to notify specific people when you want to ensure they see it.
Also, you can email-to-boards and email-to-cards, so if you do receive email regarding your project, don't let it sit alone in your inbox, move it over into Trello with the rest of the project.
2. Bring your processes alive and make sure your team are following them
For me this is a biggie. I have spent the last few years creating process manuals for businesses to ensure that the whole team know how to do everything, should they ever need to know.
Now there's definitely a place for this, particularly if you're looking to sell or franchise your business or get a manager in to allow your (semi) retirement, but the reality is, on a day-to-day basis, people that are already working in your business are just going to carry on doing what they've always done and not look at your shiny new process manual ... BUT ...
When you turn your process into a Trello board that becomes integral to the way they have to do the day-to-day work, then you can be sure they are following the process you've set and you can see at any time exactly where all your prospects and clients are in your process.
3. Create a central hub for your business, even when you use a number of other pieces of software
I use several pieces of software in the day-to-day running of my business. In some instances Trello has taken over some of the funtionality of other software (see point 4) but in others it isn't the right tool for the job. However, I have created a central business hub in Trello so that I can come to one place and link through to the various other pieces of software when appropriate.
4. Manage your sales pipeline and customer onboarding
This is really an example of point 2 in practice and demonstrates where I have chosen to bring a process out of another piece of software (my CRM) and into Trello.
My Sales Pipeline board and Customer Onboarding boards are very visual and allow me to easily move the prospects through my process and see at a glance who's due for follow-up what the next action is with them. I find it much easier to manage this process in Trello than my CRM but I have automated and manual integrations with my CRM so the two systems work together.
5. Unchain yourself from your email software
Too many of us spend too much time controlled by our email. I have long preached about only checking your email twice a day but have been guilty of not doing this myself because I have needed to be in my email client to action emails and go through my task list.
I had previously brought my task-list out of Outlook and into Wunderlist but I still was constantly in Outlook for my time management (calendar blocking showing me what I should be working on next) and actioning emails.
I have now brought both of those things into Trello by using the email-to-board feature and setting up a weekly task management board and today is the first day that I've successfully stayed out of my email and have just gone in a couple of times during the day to process what's in there, ie. delete the rubbish, send quick responses and forward messages for action to Trello.
I could wax lyrical all day about the wonders of Trello (as I'm sure some of you have heard) but that's just 5 reasons why I think that all small businesses should be at least looking into Trello and finding out if it could transform the way they work.
I'd love to hear about how you're using Trello, if you are already on board (excuse the pun!), and if you want to find out more just get in touch.