All of the things that we’re talking about, go to the idea of building your business proactively. From the standpoint of a business owner, how am I going to do this in a way that will actually work? From the standpoint of an employee, how can I get that stuff done? It requires coordination. But more than anything else, I think it requires this proactivity that we’re talking about.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, cohost Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the idea of building your business proactively. Jay, great to see you.
Jay: Thank you so much. So glad to be here as always, David. And I love this word, proactive. I know a lot of small business owners and I wouldn’t say they’re proactive. I would use the word haphazard.
Jay: Things just kind of happen. They’re lucky because they get referrals or things like that. But there’s not really any structure or proactivity to how they grow their business.
David: Yeah. And I would love to say, “well, I started out being proactive.” But I really didn’t. And that’s why I particularly enjoy this topic. So often when I’m doing presentations for live groups, this comes up. Because so many people feel like they’re constantly having to react and deal with the day-to-day, I’ve got clients calling. I’ve got employees knocking on my door. And when you are reacting all day, it really leaves you in a difficult situation when you are actually trying to build a business proactively. So that’s why I think it’s a great topic to discuss.
Jay: Yeah, I totally agree with you. When you’re in your reactive mind you’re, just not in a good place. You’re going to be responding quickly, not giving time to actually think about what you’re doing. If you’re doing sales, it’s going to put your sales at risk. If you’re working with your coworkers, it might turn out to be something you’re apologizing for later.
Reacting is just not the way to go. I’ve always been taught you can act or you can react. And you want to focus on acting, because that’s purposeful, and that’s more the person that you want to be.
David: Yeah, I think it was Steven Covey in one of the Seven Habits materials that he put out where he was talking about the difference between responding and reacting. Subtle nuance there as well. But I think when we talk about proactive, it’s a completely different discussion.
Jay: Yeah, I totally agree. So here I am. I’ve got this business, like you said, phone calls coming in. I got employees knocking on the door. I’m trying to have meetings. How do I go about this? What are some of the first steps to get to where I’m acting instead of reacting?
David: Well, I think one of the first things is allocating time, creating time setting aside time. I’m not going to say finding time because no one ever finds time to do things. But creating the time, allocating the time to really think about what you want to have happen in your business. What type of clients you want to attract. What size customers you’re looking for. How many you’re looking for. What industries? All those types of things.
Because, when we are being reactive, none of that comes into play. It’s basically whoever stumbles through the door, whoever can fog a mirror. And if you want to build a business like we’re describing, you can no longer just settle for that.
Jay: Yeah. Are you a fan of time blocking? Like looking at your calendar the next day and blocking out like this hour is going to be for sales calls. This hour is going to be for training or whatever.
David: I think it can be very helpful, but I wouldn’t say that it’s always completely effective. I think it’s a great idea when you can pull it off, recognizing that life interferes sometimes.
And so, yeah, I think it’s good to have parameters in place to say, “this is the time I have allocated to this.” And of course, if something comes along to disrupt it you’ve got to have a backup. “Okay, what am I going to do in the event that happens?”
But yeah, I think it’s great, particularly for the most important aspects of what we do. To allocate the time for that.
So whether it’s just blocking out specific times a day or a couple days, a week. As long as you know that you’re going to get those big rocks as the old analogy goes, you know, putting the big rocks in first and then you put the smaller rocks and then you put the sand and then you put the water. If you’re filling it up, you can’t do it backwards or you won’t get everything in.
So I think the idea of allocating time for those big rocks is really important.
Jay: Yeah. I think that makes a lot of sense. I’m more like the squirrel. You know, I’ve got 10 screens going and I see something pop up over here and then I’m working on that and then wait, something pops up over here. So time blocking has always been very difficult for me. But I do like the idea of saying, for the most important things, the things that are on deadline…
Jay: The things that have to deal with my most important customers. I do like the idea of at least allocating time just for them.
David: Yeah. And I think having a little bit of time at the beginning of the day to at least plan out the main things. You were talking about doing a day ahead of time. That’s very ambitious (laughs). That’s great. If you can plan it out a day ahead. I know people teach that all the time. For some of us that’s a little more challenging.
But even if you have some time at the beginning of the day to say, “okay, what is the most important task I need to accomplish today?” And then blocking out the time or allocating the time focusing on that first.
A lot of the people who are in our Total Market Domination program. They get involved and they love what they’re doing, but they basically say, “hey, sometimes it’s hard to find time.” And so one of the things I generally recommend is setting your browser so that it opens to the login page.
So very first thing, when you open it up, instead of looking at Google and then immediately going somewhere or even worse, if you’re opening up to social media. At that point, you’re lost, right?
But if you can start out your day with, even if it’s just 20 minutes or 30 minutes of intense, focused action. And we’ll talk about focus in a future podcast. But if you can do just that, you’re going to get a lot more done.
Jay: Yeah. It’s kind of like who’s controlling who? Is it your device that’s controlling you? You know, if the first thing you do when you get up in the morning is you grab that device, and next thing you know you’re spending the next hour responding to social media posts and emails.
Or are you controlling your device and using it because it’s such a powerful tool. I mean, it’s unbelievable the technology we have. But I’m afraid it’s so easy to get sucked down that rabbit hole.
David: Yeah, absolutely. I forget who it was who said this, but someone defined email as a landing place for other people’s priorities. And so, when that stuff comes in, all of a sudden their priorities become your priorities.
So, in addition to just identifying things, as far as clients, you want to think in terms of, okay, what’s my staff going to look like? If I own the business, how many people am I going to have involved? Are they going to be full-time or part-time? Are they going to be employees or are they going to be independent contractors?
I mean, basic stuff like that.
David: Also, I think of what Robert Kiyosaki defined in terms of different aspects of operating in a business. He put together a matrix and defined four different quadrants.
One is the employee quadrant. If you’re an employee then, okay, what do I have to do today as an employee?
The second box is the self-employed box. And self-employed is different than the third box he defined, which is business owners. So self-employed basically means I’m working in my business.
Business owner means I own a business that operates independently of me. It’s not that I’m actually working in the business on a day-to-day basis. I just own a business that happens to get things done.
And then investor. I could be an investor in a business and I could have no day-to-day involvement whatsoever. So really thinking those things through. If you want to do it proactively, you have to determine which of those boxes am I going to be in on a day-to-day basis? And then how well am I going to do in each of those boxes?
If you occupy multiple boxes, which many business owners do, it can be hard. And so that really boils down to then saying how much time am I going to allocate to the actual work I have to do? To the management, if I have to manage people as well. And it’s not always easy.
Jay: No, it’s not, I think a lot of people went through this with the pandemic. You know, you work at work and you have an employer and there’s kind of instant accountability for what you’re doing. They can see that you’re working on something. And now all of a sudden we became home office workers and learning how to manage your time at home without somebody, you know, looking over your shoulder all the time, you moved into a different quadrant, like you were talking about.
David: Right. Yeah.
Jay: And I know for me, it took several months before I felt like I could treat it like a real job, with a real schedule at home. It was a difficult transition. And I know I wasn’t the only one.
David: Yeah, I’ve been down that road. I started out and we were renting an apartment. We were renting an office and we were renting a warehouse. And driving between the three things. And then eventually we bought a home and we consolidated everything into the home. So I was operating from home for a number of years. And then when I outgrew the home, as far as work was concerned, then we had various offices and had people and staff and grew it pretty large, so you couldn’t operate that out of a home.
And then when the pandemic hit, it’s like, “okay, what are we going to do now?” And so we were able to structure things so that we are able to work out of our individual homes. And fortunately, I’ve got a team that’s been with me for a really long time and that worked. But that doesn’t always work for everyone.
But once again, I mean, just all of the things that we’re talking about, go to the idea of proactivity. From the standpoint of a business owner, how am I going to do this in a way that will actually work? From the standpoint of an employee, how can I get that stuff done? And it requires coordination, but more than anything else, I think it requires this proactivity that we’re talking about.
Jay: Yeah, and I think when you talk about productivity, I think that there’s also the importance of reassessment. Constantly looking at your systems. We talked about how the pandemic can dramatically change how you do business.
Well, there’s little things every single day. And if you get caught in that trap of “Nope, this is how we do it. This is how we do it. This is how we’ve always done it. This is how my dad did it. This is how we’re always going to do it.” That’s not proactive.
And there’s probably a lot of great efficiencies and changes that you could be making if you are using a proactive approach to track and monitor how you’re doing.
David: Yeah, absolutely. You know, some of the questions that I tend to think about when I look at “how can we do things better? How can we do things more proactively?” I think in terms of things as simple as “who do I want to interact with on a day-to-day basis?” You know, “what does a typical day look like” or better than that, “what does an ideal day look like?”
Right? If we can create more ideal days, that’s even better. How many hours do you want to work? If you’re an employee, how many hours are you required to work? And then once you’ve identified those things, once you’ve really thought through all those things, then it’s really just a matter of building it, on a day-to-day basis. Coming in, creating your plan and then following your plan.
Jay: Yeah, I really love that question, David, what does my ideal day look like? If I could start my day out with a piece of paper and say, if everything went exactly the way I wanted to today, what would it look like?
You know you’re never going to achieve it, but I think if you’re constantly trying to close that gap to where you can get there, I would call that proactivity and a great way to get better at this thing, every single day.
David: Yeah. And I believe when you’ve identified it, it’s a lot easier to get closer. Because you know when you’re far away, and you know when you’re close. When you don’t bother identifying it, every day’s the same. And you’re just sort of scrambling around and trying to make things happen.
Jay: Yeah, we’re back to that word haphazard, you know,
David: Mm-hmm yeah.
Jay: And your day running you instead of you running your day. Right?
David: Whew, I bet everyone listening to this can relate to that.
Jay: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. All right. How do people find out more?
David: Okay. Well, we will be discussing this topic all this week in the Top Secrets Inner Circle. So if you’re already a member, go ahead and log in. If you’re not, just go to TopSecrets.com/ic for Inner Circle. That’s TopSecrets.com/ic, and we’ll see you inside.
Jay: Yeah. Be proactive and get involved. And you’ll definitely learn more. David, thank you so much for your time today.
David: Thank you, Jay.
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