Management Tips

“If you don’t know what your time is worth, you can’t expect the world to know either.”

Every time I go through this exercise with people it completely changes their perspective on what they do with their time. Underst anding the true VALUE of your time will literally change your life!

Dan Kennedy’s Time Management for Entrepreneurs is a must read for any business owner! I’m sure you have read time management books before, but this one is a little different! What I go on to describe below is one of the BIG NUGGETS I took away from this book. It changed my perspective and I’m certain it will change yours too!

In the book Dan describes how he manages his time when doing his thing, it’s not theory…it is practice. He describes how he applies time management to his life and how he gets the best out of his time. The great thing is that he doesn’t prescribe action, he just tells you what he does and you can take away what you want from his advice.

Underst anding the value of your time

This is a simple exercise but the value it adds is incredible. This is the value it will add to your life: –

  • You will know and underst and the value of your time and therefore every time you work on a project you will put that amount of value into it, regardless of what it is;
  • You will choose carefully the projects you take on to ensure that it is worthy of your time;
  • Underst anding the value of your time will develop your underst anding and respect for the value of other peoples time;
  • You won’t waste time and you will choose your actions more carefully, e.g. I try to have no more 40 minute telephone conversations – I answer the phone when I have time; I remove myself from distraction and I don’t spend time doing things that are not worth my time;
  • Other people will start to underst and and respect the value of your time.

A great example in the book is where Dan kennedy goes off on one of his rants about $5 per hour jobs. It might come across as quite strong, but I think it is needed to get the point across!

“It used to make me crazy to drive around and see somebody in my sales organisation out shovelling, mowing, or raking. I’d say: if your time isn’t worth more than the $5 an hour that you could give to some neighbourhood kid, then you should be shot. Plus you are robbing some kid out of the money.”

Think about all the things you could stop doing so you can spend time on the things that are much more valuable to you!

Calculating the value of your time

“This little number may just change your life”

Step 1
Work out what your base earnings target is for the next year – how much do you want to earn in a year?

Step 2
Divide this by the amount of work hours in a year

– There are 45 working weeks allowing for 7 weeks holiday, multiply by 5 working days = 225 working days
– Multiply by 8 hours to get the total work hours in year
– 1800 working hours per year

Step 3
Times productivity vs. non productivity multiple (x3) (The productivity multiple used by Dan Kennedy is one-third productive, two-thirds other, which is very generous)

Step 4
The calculation result is what your time is worth per hour.

Worked example:

Base Earnings target = £100,000 per year
Base Hourly Target = £100,000 per year / 1800 working hours per year = £55.50
Account for non-productivity = £55.50 x 3 = £166.60

In this example your time is worth £166 per hour.

Why you need to do it

“If you do not have a base income target, then you cannot calculate how much your time is worth, which means you cannot make good decisions about the investment of your time, which means you are not exercising any real control over your business or life at all.”

What you should do now

A lot of your decision making gets easier with this number staring you in the face!

Write the number down on large post-it notes and stick them up in your office or anywhere you will see them often. I have mine displayed on my computer monitors, my white boards, etc.

Reference

This blog post is based on Dan Kennedy’s Time Management for Entrepreneurs, Chapter 1, Pages 3 – 10

Buy The Book

Comments & Feedback

(The Facebook Plugin may take a few seconds to load)

As you probably know, there are many different techniques that can be employed to collect customer feedback.

Ideally you want to collect constructive feedback that you can use to improve and develop your products and/or services.

There are several benefits for constructing and implementing a feedback system for your business, including: –

  • Your customers know that you are prepared to listen to them;
  • You can improve and tailor your service to the needs of your customers;
  • You can strengthen your relationship with your customers;
  • Your team know what decisions are being made; customer feedback can be used to strengthen your business decisions.

I have detailed in a pdf file many ways to collect and use customer feedback, which you can download here for FREE!

Assumptions

I have made some underlying assumptions for the implementation of a customer feedback system, in that you know:

  1. Your objectives for carrying out a feedback process;
  2. What you are trying to find out (which will guide the technique and questions you ask);
  3. How to implement the techniques effectively to get what you want (ethically and morally).

You may have to do a little background reading and some studying to find out how to use each method and ensure you get the best results from your efforts.

Involve Your Team

When it comes to collecting customer feedback, get your team behind you 100%. Your front line staff will be able to encourage your customers to complete feedback slips, questionnaires, etc. Also, your team are more likely to engage with the customer and have the ability to collect verbal feedback.

Never Miss an Opportunity

Gather as much information from your customers as possible with they are consuming your products and services. To do this effectively you will have to give them a few different options and different stages of the process.

Mix it Up!

It is important to not rely on just one channel and that you give your customers feedback choices at different stages. It is likely that different techniques will appeal to different customers at different times.

Anonymous Feedback

Make sure there is at least one option to give feedback anonymously. Sometimes you are more likely to get a honest response this way.

Closing the Feedback Loop

You will see this in the document that you can download.

To explain further…in your organisation there is a system in place for systematically collecting and collating customer feedback. The feedback is then reviewed and quickly responded to. This is a great system to have in place; your customers will know that you listen to the feedback you get and you will in turn begin to build and strengthen your relationships with your customers.

FREE Download

Download the pdf file and have a good look at it. If you have any questions or thoughts regarding the document please get in touch with me by leaving a comment below.

I know that I haven’t covered everything regarding customer feedback and if you have any comments or feedback please do not hesitate to comment below or contact me privately.

Thanks,

Chris.

Recently I have been asked to write a few references, mostly in the capacity as an employer.

Writing a reference is not all that difficult and to make it a little easier I have put together some of my thoughts and tips for writing an employment reference.

Language used:

  • ‘The applicant’ is the person that you are providing a reference for
  • ‘The employer’ is the person that has asked you for a reference for a new post

First of all it is expected that the applicant will ask you politely if you would like to be put forward as a referee prior to be contacted by an employer, this is only courteous.

Under most circumstances an employer will supply you with some sort of form to complete along with a job description of the job that the applicant has applied for, which will help you to figure out what is and is not relevant.

You may be faced with some tick boxes, complete this as required. In most cases you will be provided with an area for free text, where you can write your personal reference or recommendation. Please take the time to add something in the free text, which will greatly help the new employer make a decision about the applicant(s).

Keep in mind that the new employer reading your reference will not be aware of what is or has been required in the current or previous role held by the applicant (of which you are going to comment on). It is a good idea to give a little background about the current role and operations, just to provide some context.

Think about the following points to help you construct your reference: –

  • The capacity in which you know the applicant
  • How long you have known the applicant
  • Key characteristics of the applicant – friendly, approachable, empathetic, etc
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses – You need to be able to word any possible weaknesses very carefully.
  • Qualifications – Any relevant qualifications?
  • Career Aspirations
  • Experience
  • Key achievements
  • The applicants suitability for the role

Transferrable Skills

Make sure your reference is relevant to the position that the applicant has applied for. Even if the two roles are dissimilar in nature you should be able to pick out the transferrable skills that the applicant will be able to apply to the new role.

Examples of transferable skills: –

  • Team work
  • Communication
  • IT skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Multi-tasking
  • Good written work

Be careful…

If you do not want to give a reference then you can refuse to do so, do not be tempted to write a bad reference as this can be seen as unprofessional.

Also, remember that with all references the applicant can request a copy of what you have written, so when you are writing it make sure you would be happy for the applicant to read it. In most cases I send the reference to the applicant myself to make sure they are happy with it prior to sending it to the new employer.

I hope this has helped. Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Thanks for reading,

Chris.

I use Dropbox for absolutely everything, it’s a really great tool… and it’s free! I don’t carry any portable media with me any more!

“Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. Dropbox also makes it super easy to share with others, whether you’re a student or professional, parent or gr andparent. Even if you accidentally spill a latte on your laptop, have no fear! You can relax knowing that Dropbox always has you covered, and none of your stuff will ever be lost.”

You get 2GB for free but you can quickly increase your memory by recommending people (8GB maximum through recommendations).

The desktop application

You only get the additional memory if each person installs the application on to their computer… and the app is VERY h andy. You can install the app on many machines, your iPad, iPhone, etc…which means your documents are wherever you need them. Also, you can always revert the web version which can be opened up anywhere in the world.

Another tip, go to Dropbox Free and complete what is required to give yourself some more memory.

What can you use it for?

  1. I use it a lot for collaboration and file sharing, it works and it’s reliable. I literally have a shared folder for everyone I know, including my Mum! You can share folders with many people too, so it also works for groups.
  2. I also use it for sharing notebooks between various people, for example, OneNote.
  3. You can use the ‘Public’ folder to share files. When you put a file in the public folder Dropbox creates a unique URL, which you can use to share with a lot of people at once. I have used it for hosting images on my blog, without any problems.
I realise there is software out there for collaboration, but if you have little capital and you want to do it for free…this is one of the ways to do it.

Join now…

If you want to join up why don’t you click on my link below and you will get an extra 250mb of space, and so will I…WIN | WIN.

Click this link to take you to Dropbox – http://db.tt/oW11JYo. Remember to install the desktop application to get the free extra memory.

Watch the video and it will show you exactly what to do.

What’s next?

Start sharing folders and recommending Dropbox to your friends. Just go to the referrals page.

I do not carry any portable media with at all now…I honestly never need it!

If you have any questions just leave a comment…I’m happy to help!

Thanks,

Chris.

Shoes

MWA

I work in and manage a direct customer services environment. It is important to me that I know what is going on.  The only way I can really know is by walking around and connecting with people in the team.

If you are a manager or team leader, make time in your day to walk around and speak to everyone in your team. You will quickly flag up issues and be able to see how your team is operating.

As a follow up from Managing Deadlines 1: For Delegates I thought it would be prudent to give some advice a tips for the managers who set the deadlines and delegate the tasks.

Give a clear date a time
Make sure you give the delegate a clear date for exactly WHEN the task should be completed by. You may even want to specify a time. It is best not to say “ASAP” or “at your convenience”…be specific.

Be clear – be SMART
If you give the delegate as much information at the start this will minimise confusion and lots of questions further down the line. It will also allow the delegate to get on with the task and be very clear on WHAT he/she should be working towards.

Give clear expectations and parameters
Make sure your expectations are clear. Mention the st andards you expect, what the delegate can or cannot do; HOW the task should be completed

Arrange a time to meet the delegate(s)
Depending on the size of the task it may be appropriate to meet and discuss the task or project before it is fully delegated. This will provide a good opportunity to discuss what is to be achieved and allow for any questions to be answered. You may want to set progress meetings up to check in with the delegate over the course of the set period.

Highlight personal and organisational benefits
By highlighting the benefits the employee will be more likely to buy into the task/project and complete it on time. This will provide the delegate with the WHY.

Note down your set deadlines
You will need to remember what deadlines you set and for whom. You should use your diary or a task list system (Microsoft Outlook or something similar) to do this for you; after you have set a dozen or so it can get difficult to manage. It is important that you do this…especially for those who tend to slip on the deadlines.

Inevitably a deadline will be missed and you will have to reprim and someone. However, if you delegate properly and make sure your message is clear your employees will have a better chance at meeting the deadline with the timing, st andard and quality you expected.

I hope this helps you out. Please build on this by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for reading,

Chris