We are going to look at time management because let’s face it, with an ever increasing array of new ways to market your business every day, there’s no more hours in the day. The hours in each day are not growing. So this episode of The Marketing Strategy Show focuses on understanding how to claim back some time to allow you to focus on getting the important Marketing and Sales activities your Business needs, get done.
Our Guest Ben Fewtrell’s Background
- Spent over a decade as CEO of ActionCoach ANZ (another business coaching company)
- A Director at MaxMyProfit since its formation in 2016 (focused on help business owners grow their business not just their sales process but every aspect of their business
- Runs a successful podcasts (both a weekly and daily – Business Brain Food (started in mid 2014, focused on bringing in a wide array of leading experts to give anyone listening a better understanding of you to better build their business
- Started his first business at the age of 18 in the transport industry.
- In 2001 met Andrew, a business coach and following a short chat with Andrew saw the power of working with someone that could coach him to grow a business the right way
Knowing how to manage your time is essentially about understanding and mastering these 6 characteristics.;
- The basics of Time Management
- Where to Start
- Using Calendar and Other tools
You can also listen to the podcast on the player above, or follow the iTunes or stitcher links below. We also have a full transcript below and a summary on our blog.
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If you want more from this episode check out the full transcript below:
Kym: Hi and welcome to today’s Marketing Strategy show. The Marketing Strategy show is all about getting the right marketing for your business. We have two types of episodes. One on marketing strategy, we call marketing planning. And one episode on getting a direction, we call marketing done. Now, in the marketing strategy episode, we pull back the curtain someone who is an expert on our specialized topic with his business who has been there and done that; give you some practical tips on what strategy you should do or consider to improve your leads, sales and clients. But today we’re going to do something a little bit different, it’s half marketing done, half marketing strategy. But more correctly, it‘s how to get the right marketing done while effectively managing time better. So that all helps you get more leads, clients, and of course ongoing sales. Now, we’re going to look at time management because marketing and sales today, they’re becoming crucially more demanding; more options in a seemingly new way to market your business every day. Let’s face it, all these new ways to market your business every day, there’s no more hours in the day. The hours in each day are not growing. Well today, we have a special return guest to help us see some of the mistakes we might be making when looking at Time Management. His name is Ben Fewtrell from Max My Profit. Ben has been on the podcast previously talking about sales process. Go back and have a look at that episode. Ben and his team Max My Profit specialize in helping educate businesses on how to outdo, outclass and outshine the competition. So let’s get Ben on now. Hi Ben, are you there? How are you doing? Welcome back.
Ben: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate being a returnee.
Kym: No drama at all, I just thought this was a really interesting topic that we’re talking today. We spend all our time thinking about what strategy we should do and spend so much time doing marketing and doing sales that I think sometimes taking a step back and look at the bigger picture, I guess, and how we get more time. But, we can’t actually get more time, can we?
Ben: No, unlike finding 50 bucks on the street and putting it in our pocket and you’re up 50 dollars, you can’t find a spare hour on the street, unfortunately. (2.55)
Kym: No, that’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. But why don’t we just start with just a very quick intro. Some people might not have heard your background before in our previous podcast. Tell me a bit about Ben and being in Max My Profit.
Ben: Yes. So, myself, I’ve been in business since I was 18 or probably a little bit before then but it was really my first business. And I fell in love with business. At that point, I have been in it for around 27 years. It’s starting to show how old I am. I’m coming up to my 45th birthday but I absolutely love it. And it’s actually interesting that you’ve got me back on this topic. This is one of the things I am really passionate about is being super efficient and we’ll talk about that shortly. I think, as a business owner, I think, you know you just said in the intro, it is getting harder because from a marketing perspective in particular, we get dragged from pillar to post, from selling different things and now that’s sort of lead me starting this business that I currently have. I entered the industry of business coaching some 16 years ago. And a few years ago, I really decided that I needed to develop more than just a business coaching philosophy. So, we now have a complete full circle, I’d like to call it. A sort of service center for businesses where, not only can we help them understand what needs to be done but we can help them get it done, which is missing for a lot of people. And that sometimes is what takes them a lot of time is working out, “Okay, what do I do and then how do I do it?” Because it can be quite overwhelming. And so we’ve got hundreds of clients and you sort of mentioned what our tag line is there. But essentially, we help people build a business they imagined. And I think, when most people go into business, they don’t imagine that they’re going to be working crazy hours and not making very much money. They imagine they’re going to be doing much better if they got to analyze some financials for a client yesterday. It’s doing a great turnover, over 1.3 million dollars a year and it’s making $14,000 dollars a year profit, really.
Ben: Yeah. You think about all that time and effort you’re putting in to getting all those sales. (4.45)
Kym: You might as well go and busk for that.
Ben: Yeah. So, I think when it comes down to time, it’s so important that business owners understand its one thing to be really working hard to get the sales up but if you’re not working in the right areas and being efficient on how you are doing it, then you’re not earning any money, what’s the point?
Kym: a hundred percent and it’s not just business owners too its people managing businesses well because there’s an increase in demand. One thing that really struck me about it was that, Ben and I were actually sharing a stage in a networking event about a week ago and we asked the audience “What do people want from their business or the businesses they’re managing?” And just about everyone in the audience; their first answer was more clients, more money but the thing they’ve missed, one guy put his hand up and said stand up and said, “More time.” And then Ben said, “Well, that’s the only thing you can’t get back, right?” So, we focus on money but really time is probably should be our first focus. (5.40)
Ben: Yeah. I really feel that, and it’s in our DNA, I really feel that business owners in particular, I think but all humans do this but it’s relevant to business owners is that they, they will value their money more than their time and so what that ends up meaning is that they’ll do things that they don’t like doing, they’ll do things that they’re not good at, they’ll do things that are demands from customers that they probably shouldn’t be doing because they want to please people in their quest to make money. Instead of thinking about, “Am I actually doing the right thing by investing my time in this, to make somebody else happy or to save what might be a $30 or $40 an hour role by hiring someone else to do it?” And that’s, I think, one of the key reasons why business owners end up being so busy is because they do, they value their money more than their time and as you said, which is something I always said, if you lose all your money, you lose all your customers and you could lose your premises to a fire tomorrow touch wood that doesn’t happen, you’ll always get those things back but the one thing that you’ll never get back is the time that you waste doing the things that don’t get you closer to your goal.
Kym: A hundred percent. So, what are some keys to effectively managing your time. Let’s take a step back and we’ve had a brief discussion before the call talking about time management. A term that is something a bit of a fallacy in your eyes. (6.52)
Ben: You know, I don’t think time management exists because as you said, yourself, in that intro you can’t find an extra hour in a day.
Ben: Everyone says, “Hey.” And this is common, we will say to someone what’s going one who is feeling, “I just wish there were more hours in a day.” And I’d go, “Would you really wish there was more hours?” Because you want to work longer that you already are. Well the answer is no, so I don’t think it’s time management, Kym. What I think it is self-management. What I mean by that is that you’ve got to be very good at managing yourself. And if you think about it like this, I can break it down so its super simple. You set a goal and it could be a daily goal, a weekly goal, it could be an annualized goal, it could be a 10-year goal. And if you’re doing something in a day and it doesn’t help you achieve your goal, whichever goal it is that you are pointing to, then it’s not a good use of your time. So, you’ve got to be really disciplined with that. And I always say to people, there’s two types of pain in life. There’s the pain of discipline which is being disciplined now. It may hurt. You might have to tell a friend that’s rung you and said, “Can I drop around for coffee?” “No, because I’ve got things over to get done.” And that’s going to hurt, right? There’s a discipline to that. You might have to have a discipline that your Facebook notifications are going off their rocker beeping in your face. You might have the discipline that, “I’m going to look at that later because I’ve really got to focus on getting this task done. And that discipline is going to be painful. The alternative of that is that you don’t have the pain of discipline but instead later on, you’re going to regret not having that discipline and that’s a different type of pain. I always said if you’re going to choose, which pain are you going to feel? (8.18)
Kym: Look, I think also that’s a really good point on discipline. I think sometimes we feel, particularly with clients, as well, that if a client wants something, we’ve got to drop whatever you’re doing now, especially working our own business and look out for the client because that’s revenue and that’s money. Gosh we might lose it.
Ben: Yeah, which is not, not really healthy when you think about it but we are in a world now where I know in myself, I know from other people that we worked with. I’ll get a text message from a client saying, “I’ve sent you an email, why haven’t you responded?” And then I’ll go to the inbox and they sent the email 10 minutes ago. They were expecting this instantaneous response.
Ben: The days of when we used to send mail, obviously you had to write the mails, deliver them. Then fax came along and fax was a little bit quicker and there was pages that were a little bit quicker mobile phones then really opened that up. Then email, email was really fast and that slowed down because we were getting so much in our inbox. So now, there’s Messenger, WhatsApp and all these other different platforms now where people can bombard you and you can’t even pretend to hide because if you are on Facebook, it tells people.
Kym: They know you’re there.
Ben: Yeah, they know you’re there.
Kym: So, what do you do and what do you encourage your team and clients to do in that discipline? Set a goal, but how do you encourage them to do that to switch off certain hours? How do you actually get them practically to do that? (9.40)
Ben: So, there’s a couple of things that you can do there. Some apps are available as well which are really cool which we’ll talk about shortly that help you do this. If you want to strip it right back just to its basic fundamentals, I think, start your day off thinking about, “What do I need to achieve today?” And do a to-do list and this is not new. This is something you’ve heard of before. Create a to-do list, put the – what Brian Tracy would call, “The Frog” in the beginning of the day so you know the thing that’s going to be the most complex that would take majority of your concentration and or the thing that’s most difficult to, for you to do or whatever might be. Put that first, get it out of the way so you know you’ve accomplished something straight up and then work through your to-do list. Make sure that you are step-by-step going through that, ticking it off, getting that satisfaction on completing tasks until you get to the end of the day or the end of the list. The other thing is to understand that you are going to have things come up so I always have time aside in my diary for the unexpected because no business owner is going when there are new things popping out where they got to have to troubleshoot something. Whether it could be an unhappy team member or an unhappy customer or something just goes wrong, you need to make sure you’ve got that time. I actually call it the OS time. You can work it what the “S” stands for.
Kym: Other stuff.
Ben: Other stuff time, here you go. Because things always go wrong. And this is not new to anybody – this technique of writing a to-do list is something that everybody would know about but so many people don’t do. It’s a super way to be efficient because I will spend Sunday evening doing my week’s to-do list. I think one of the key things that I get done this week and then I can work through every day. I think about, “Okay, what I do need to get done today to make that happen?” So that would be my first achievement. The second thing is then understand that there are times in your day, there are activities in your business that are going to be demand-oriented and things that you can’t control when they happen. For example, the phone rings. Somebody’s got to answer it. Now, if you don’t have an answering service or you don’t have a receptionist, or you don’t have any other employees, when the phone rings, you’re going to be compelled to answer it. Because you have to, right? It could be a customer. The challenge with this is that, they’ve done studies where, when you get distracted from doing a task, they say it takes an average of fourteen minutes to get re-focused. So, if you’re getting four phone calls in an hour, you’ve actually only got four minutes of focus time and that’s if you’re really – if you are on average. Remember, that’s the average. If your worse than average, then you’re not getting focused at all. If you’re better than average, you might be getting 10 minutes. And so, it’s also about identifying things that are in that demand zone and working at how you can leverage yourself out of that. So, for example, if I was a sole trader, I would pay for an answering service because the upside of that is that I get less distractions which means I’ll get more done. It’s about being best thinking about understanding the business and where the demands are so you can make the changes. (12.31)
Kym: And you can make yourself available, set the times ahead if possible.
Kym: I’ve heard that blocking time and I know I did it myself. Blocking time is very effective as well for common tasks if you want to call it that.
Ben: There’s a book written by a fellow called Mark McKeon and it’s an absolute brilliant book and this guy was a – one of the high performance athletic coaches in Australia with the Rugby Union. And he wrote a book called, “The Go Zone.” And what he did was he worked out that the – Its something to do with the adrenal gland in the brain so it was very scientific. But he worked out that you only really have two hours in your day when you’re super productive. And so this book talks about doing that, blocking out two hours where you just write your list and just like a machine, for two hours, you don’t get any calls, interruptions, nothing. You just use that two hours to be super focused. For the rest of the day, you can fluff around if you want. But, you’ll probably get more done, than if you’ve just don’t have any strategies at all. It’s a fantastic book, very easy to ready. It’s called, “The Go Zone.” I recommend everyone goes and grabs it. (13.32)
Kym: So does it help identify when those two hours are because some people are morning people, some are night people, some are day people, aren’t they?
Ben: Yeah. I think that’s important, too. It’s a good point you’ve raised. Because I am a morning person and I find that I am super productive in the morning, I’m more focused, I can deal with more complex tasks. If I’ve got to look through somebody’s PNO and balance sheets or if I’ve got to think about, I don’t know, putting a tender in or something and have more thought, that’s when I should do it. And so you do need to know when you are at your best. The other thing is there maybe times in your business when you get more interruptions. At my transport company, the first two hours of the day were a write off because I had all the drivers logging on to the system, I had all the customers starting to ring up. The day was starting but then there were times through the day when it was quiet. Lunch hour was always quiet because everyone’s at lunch. No one’s ringing up for courier or a truck. That was a great time to be able to put your effort into something else. (14.26)
Kym: That’s a really good point, isn’t it? So, if you have got a time in the day where you’ve got staff or clients or someone else always wanting your time, it’s almost stupid to try and schedule your two hours at the same time, right? Because you are going to get interrupted. The other interesting thing that I mentioned, too, something I tend to do is trying to fill the calendar with all the things I’ve got to do and I like that point about allowing time either side of appointments for those interruptions.
Ben: Yeah. All of my tasks, including today, has a buffer in it. The way that I do that in my diary is when an appointment is put in, I typically put 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after. I put as a buffer because it’s a good thing to prepare, number one, before you’re going to a meeting and I think that makes your meetings more productive. And its actually led to me having shorter meetings because I am preparing and I never ever meet with sometimes someone might email you or send you a note and say, “Hey, can I pop in and meet with you Tuesday afternoon at two?” And that’s all they’ll do and you’ll go, “What’s this about?” “I just want to catch up for a chat.” You go, “Sure, I’ll book you in.” I’ll never do that. Never. Whether it’s business or it’s family, I just won’t do it. I always said, “If you want to meet with me, pay me the respect of telling me what you want to discuss so I can prepare. And if you think you need an hour, we can probably do it in 30 minutes. Really, because that’s a huge waste of time – is meetings for the sake of meetings. It’s a great point you bring up. What I do is I also have a default diary. In my diary, in my calendar I have days that are specific days for specific activities. So, for example, Monday is my meetings day; internal meetings. If anybody wants to have a meeting with me, it’s Monday. It’s the day I don’t leave the office. It’s the day I conduct sales meetings, management meetings, marketing meetings, its when I conduct all my meetings. If somebody wants to meet with me about a new product or service I could think I could offer my clients or my business, that’s the day I’ll do that meeting. Then Tuesday could be my sales day. Wednesday could be my marketing day. Thursday, that could be – So, you set up the day so you’re working on particular projects each day. (16.28)
Kym: I divide my diary in a very similar way into marketing for the business, sales for the business, client delivery work and admin and there’s blocks of times throughout the week for each of those as best you can. But of course it doesn’t always work out as simply as that, does it?
Ben: You know what they say about plans.
Kym: That’s right. Exactly.
Ben: Plans. It’s like the bus timetable, they say they are going to come at 1, they won’t arrive then but you know it’s not going to be far off.
Kym: Exactly. That’s a 100% right. Okay. So, we set a goal, we got the discipline, what’s next after that? (17.01)
Ben: I think it’s about being honest with yourself as well. If you think about your business and as I’ve said at the beginning, there are a lot of people value their money more than their time but most people, they’ll start a business because they are good at what they do and they’ll do the things they are good at because it’s satisfying, right? They like doing those things as well. And sometimes, it’s not the best use of your time. So, if you’re really serious about growing your business, then I think you’ve got to think about what are the tasks that you should be doing to make it grow. Now, I see a lot of business owners are doing things like their own bookkeeping or they could be – even things like making their own coffee, as petty as that sounds, it’s not a good use for your time. Taking Ownership rather than use their time. Hire a cleaner. It might cost you $200 a month to have someone clean your office for you. It could be even mowing the lawn at home. These tasks that you can pay somebody else 30, 40, 50, 60 dollars an hour to do, are well-worth paying someone else to do so you can take that time and invest it now on working on the business rather than in it. And that’s a real mindset change because I think we use – In fact, we’re trained to trade time for money. That’s what schools are all about. Schools says, “Get a good degree, get a good qualification and you’ll get a good job where you’ll get maximized in the amount that you’ll get paid per hour.” As where as a business owner, you’ve got to think differently, you’ll go, “Hang on a minute, I don’t want to work a lot of hours. In fact, what I want to do is I want to work the less amount of hours I possibly can for the highest return.” That’s key of being in business. It’s all about profitability, it’s not about hourly rates anymore. I think that’s where people come a little bit unstuck is that they still think they’re trading their time for money. Now, for some period of time, you have to, right? Because you’ve got bills to pay. (18.33)
Ben: So, you start a business, you go, “Yes, I got the rent, the fines, and the car loan, whatever it is. I need the money immediately to be able to do that. The difference is, when you trade your time for money, you get paid almost instantly. When you actually work on your business which is, rather than earning money, so trading your time is earning, making money is what happens in the business. It’s called profit. Well the work you do now, you’ll get paid for maybe in six months’ time so you spent some time today developing a system. For example, we just talked about default diary. (19.01)
Ben: Have a default diary. You should probably take out an hour of your day today or tomorrow to create one. You’re not going to get paid for that tomorrow. It’s going to take a while before that pays dividends but it will. Does that make sense?
Kym: That makes 100% sense. One of the things that I did about two months ago was just make sure in my CRM system I had lots of default emails set up for example. So, I now spend three minutes writing a personalized email versus what would be 20 minutes. 10 to 15 emails a day, it’s a massive time saver.
Ben: Yes. There’s lot of things you can do like that – that I know. I’ll cover that shortly because there are some great tools that are good. I’m a real efficiency junkie. A lot of people say to me, “Ben, how do you do so much?” Because I know we’re connected on Facebook and probably see a lot personally as well as business-wise. And it’s just about being super organized and really been disciplined with what I will and won’t do. I won’t just take a meeting, I won’t just join someone for coffee for the sake of joining someone for coffee but also I don’t like being busy and you’ve heard people in business and you’ve probably said it yourself, I’ve definitely said it, people say, “How are you?” And you’ll go, “Busy.”
Ben: Now, what does that actually mean? I’m busy? So in business and even in life, what’s the joy in being busy? I don’t think anyone likes being busy. But we’ve equated that with, I think, being valuable, right? To me, I go, instead of being busy; I like to say, “I’m productive.” And productivity comes down to two things: efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency means that I am able to do it in the best possible way, as quick as possible and not have to redo it so it’s done the right way. So, it’s doing things right. You talk about the fact that you’ve got email templates set up and that’s efficient. There are two things that’s going to happen, you’re going to do it quickly and you’re going to do it right because you’ve already sat down and thought about what you’re going to put in that email because you wrote it six months ago and that’s it. (20.56)
Kym: That’s right.
Ben: The second part of that other than efficiency is effectiveness which is then doing the right things and I think this is where a lot of people struggle and it goes back to that question where you ask yourself and say, “Am I the best person to be doing this or is this a task that I should be doing?” And you go, “Well, if my goal is to increase my sales by 30% over the next three years, let’s say within the next three years which is a big audacious goal and then I’m doing things or taking on projects that are going to actually stop me from achieving that and then that’s not being effective. Okay? That stops my productivity. If you think about productivity its doing the right things and doing things right and I always look at every task that I ever take on. Anytime I put anything in my diary, I always ask myself, “Is this a productivity thing? Am I being productive?” And if the answer’s “No,” because I make mistakes too, sometimes I will cancel appointments that last minute and put in there. Sometimes, I’ll accept appointments. Someone says, “Come to this business awards,” or, “Come to this networking event.” And at the time the emotional side of me goes, “Yeah, I’ll do that. That sounds like fun.” Then I’ll think about it again. You know what? It’s not really the right group for me. It’s not a good use of my time. A lot of people would be scared to say, “Sorry, I’ve made a decision that is probably not the best group for me or I’m not a good fit.” So I’m not going to – People will just go through with it because they’ve made the commitment. I always say be okay with undoing a commitment if you work out it’s not going to help you be productive. (22.14)
Kym: I think just being honest to both parties. But I think you’re right, there’s a fear factor “Look, I can’t have that meeting today but I can meet with you next week or I can’t get this done for you today but I can do it by Friday or whenever it might be.” Sometimes, we just need to have that discipline. Let’s talk about some of those tips and tools you were talking about.
Ben: Tools. I’m a technology junkie so…
Kym: You sure are.
Ben: For those of you who don’t know. You’ll probably hate me but the ones that love technology are going to love the ones that I’m giving you and I’m a Mac user so I know some of these aren’t available on PC as well. But I ask you just to find an alternative because I believe most of these things do have an alternative. One of my greatest finds, you’ve talked about email templates before. I’ve got an app on my Mac called, “Text Expander” And it’s a beautiful app. It works really, really well and it works on the phone as well. So, it works across different platforms. What it’ll allows me to do is use shortcuts. For example, if I’m going to type my email address, which is something I type on a regular basis, I can do a shortcut and on my shortcut, it’s just – I’ve got all my email address set up. I just press colon, B, and then M and then I’ll put P or M if it’s my personal email and the M, that puts my entire email address in. When it’s somebody’s birthday on Facebook, for example, I actually use my Text Expander, I put it in, colon, birth, and it types out a whole message that says, “Hey, it looks like someone’s celebrating birthday. I wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday hope you are having an awesome day. Cheers Ben”. From a networking point of view, I’m sending some of my well wishes but I’m doing it very efficiently. (23.55)
Kym: Yeah, very efficiently.
Ben: Text Expander is really cool. That’s one of my tools. You can do paragraphs if you want. So if you got frequently asked questions coming in from clients, you can just shortcut them all. It’s brilliant.
Kym: Does that only work with a phone, Ben or is it for PC?
Ben: I know it works on my Mac book. (24.12)
Kym: So it works on Mac, works with Desktop and also works on phone.
Ben: I’m sure there would be one that’s available for the PC if this one didn’t work and that’s Text Expander. So that’s one that I use. Another one that I use which keeps me organized. I’ve got probably two or three software, I’ve got three that are really all tied together. But two that I use in my business extensively with my team. One is Wunderlist which is just a to-do app. So you could use any to-do app. The good thing about that is it’s just an electronic to-do list. I’ve always been a task-oriented person and the why I used to manage my to-do list was I’d write it down a piece of paper. I would think then cross them off as I did them. The next day then I would rewrite the ones that were left behind and pick out the ones I was going to do and it’s very inefficient. So these programs allow you to put things into the list and not only can you then look at them on a regular basis, set reminders, but you can also attach attachments, make notes, you can share them with other team members. I can create tasks for my assistant which I do all the time. It’s a really efficient way of managing tasks because things will come up. Even just in this discussion, you mentioned something, “I might go, That’s a great idea. I can quickly make a note in Wunderlist and I know that it’s there.” We could have a meeting and say “Could you email me through those reports from last week,” and I go,” Sure. I’ll get that done.” I’ll put it into Wunderlist, and I assign my assistant and then it’s done. It’s really, really super fast. Then for bigger projects, we use Trello and Trello is amazing. I kind believe it’s free. (25.53)
Kym: I love Trello. I use Trello for the entire team management. Every Monday, I’ll sit down and plan out who’s going to do what, drag the cards across. It’s fantastic, Trello. I love it.
Ben: Just amazing. My third tool that I use personally is Evernote and I use Evernote. It’s sort of like Microsoft OneNote but I use Evernote because I just enjoy the integration with my Apple Watch and my iPhone. I did say I was a tech junkie. It was my pre-warning. But it allows me on the run, I can actually record a voice note, for example, or if I do hand write something, I can just take a photo with my phone and put it into Evernote, and Evernote allows me to search the text that I wrote. So does OneNote by the way, the Microsoft product. These things are just really good ways to be organized, and if you’re looking for something, you can just type it. It works like Google and it just brings all your stuff up. (26.43)
Kym: So do you just talk on a phone or on a watch? Say open Evernote to Siri and it opens up and record? Is that the way you actually use it?
Ben: With Evernote, I don’t voice activate it I just touch the icon with my finger, and then on the Watch, it just automatically goes into the voice recording mode so I’ll record my note, that is if I am out on the go and then later on, I login and listen to and just put a heading on it so I know what it is or I’ll actually turn it into what I wanted to turn it into. For example, I might have bumped into you somewhere; you might have given a brilliant idea about marketing. It’s pretty typical when I chat with you. Because of the networking event, I don’t really have time to really write it down. I’ll just say something to my Watch, “Kym said to go to brilliantmarketing.com” I don’t even know if that exists. Then it sits in there until I go and listen to those notes, sits in a specific folder, and it works really, really well. It doesn’t do text-to-speech. If I want to do something text-to-speech, I have another app for that and it’s called Rev. It’s an app on my iPhone and it’s a $1 a minute to get my words transcribed. It probably already knows. I talk pretty quick. So if I need to do a blog post or I want to do a longer email or I’ve just got some ideas that I want written out, I would just record it into the phone myself once I’m in the car and just wearing my normal headphones that come with the phone, and I will just send it off to Rev and they would transcribe it within hours for a $1 a minute. You’d be surprised how many words you can get out in a minute. (28.18)
Kym: That’s a really good tip because I find a lot of the business owners and marketing people generally struggle to sit down and write. They’ll spend an hour and half or two hours trying to create a blog post but even just putting your thoughts down on paper like that and get it transcribed, then you can edit it to the right format. It’s a brilliant idea in terms of getting content done much quicker.
Ben: I always find my first draft is the hardest and then, I can go back and edit it. So that’s exactly what I do. The other thing Kym if we can talk… Let’s tie this into marketing. Content marketing strategy, I’ll do a Facebook live once a week. I keep it under ten minutes so I can upload it onto LinkedIn as well. That then gets sent off to Rev. They do the captions for me so they actually do the captions so I can upload that to Facebook and promote that video. We’ll take that to transcription which then goes to a writer and they turn it into a blog post. It’s put up in the blog post, and then the key points get taken out and sent to my media division. They turn it into an info graphic. If you think about how efficient you can be using some of these tools, there I am developing all of this content and it took me less than 10 minutes. (29.24)
Kym: Repurposing is really undervalued because I think that we think because we published a blog post written on a page on the website, all the people have seen it before so they don’t want to see it again. One of the best strategies that I use all the time is what I do, I’ll podcast like I do now that creates show notes, that creates the blog post, and the blog post creates probably 5 or 10 or 15 individual social media posts. You have to be more efficient with the resources you have, and people undervalue the resources. They have on the website a lot.
Ben: Yeah. If you think about being efficient, even things like frequently asked questions, like I always say to people, “How often are you answering the same question?” Whether it’s a prospective customer or a team member, it could be an existing customer. If you get asked the same question twice, you should systemize it, and that doesn’t mean writing a big operations manual. It means video, audio, put it as a frequently asked question on your website, put it into something like Text Expander so they don’t have to type the same thing out every time. Work out a way where you can make it so you don’t have to do that again. That’s one of the keys I think to being able to sustain business growth and not work crazy hours, is that you find those things that you can leverage because it’s fine to be self-disciplined with your time and it’s fine to have a diary and a to-do list. But you still do need to constantly be looking for ways to be able to streamline, just about every part of your business operations; otherwise you’ll be destined to do the work forever. (30.57)
Kym: And I guess that’s one of the issues. It’s all in someone’s head. You can’t do that. One of the best tools, I’m not sure if you’ve come across it, is actually recording systems and recording how things are done, is something called Loom. Are you familiar with Loom? You heard about Loom?
Ben: I’m not, no I’m not.
Kym: You should do that. It’s a Chrome extension and it’s the easiest screen share, just click the button and start it and away you go. I just record that, give it to staff that I know how to do it and create a system from it. So tell me, what other tools you’ve got that you can recommend to us? Text Expander, Wunderlist, Trello, Evernote, and Rev. What else have we got? (31.35)
Ben: The other tool that I use extensively and I suggest everybody does and this is the tool that you’ve all got is your digital calendar, and not just in your business but also at home because you can now share calendars with your partners and also with other people. Now, as I’m talking about calendars, this gives me the opportunity now to also leverage another time-consuming task. Have you ever been in that tennis match game where you get emails and says, “Let’s set up a time,” and you send, “I’ve got Wednesday at 2. Then they come back with I cant do 2 “, have you ever had that happen? (32.09)
Kym: I have had that lots of times. It’s odd. In fact, this broadcast today, you responded to my calendar link right. Didn’t have any of that backwards and forwards
Ben: I use Calendly and I have forever. Because, well I used TimeTrade before Calendly was about. TimeTrade was clunky. It was an early adopter so i had a really clunky way of doing it. What that does, for anyone who doesn’t know, is if you want to book into my diary, I’ll shoot you a link and you get to select from the appointments that I’ve already predetermined I want for that activity. So as I said before, I just want to do sales meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesday. I’m going to meet with you. Just come into my website or you ring me with an inquiry. I can shoot you a link that say, “Click here and choose a time that suits you.” It only shows you what’s available in those two days that I’ve predetermined, and I think that’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
Kym: It’s fantastic. Most good sales CRMS and certainly Hubspot is helpful which you know I use has a calendar function as well. Most good sales CRMs will have that function now. If not Calendly is brilliant. Just stick with Calendly if it works better. I guess that integrates with your Gmail. Does it, Ben? (33.15)
Ben: It integrates with my–
Kym: What exact gadget?
Ben: I use the Apple Calendar. So I use that and link out to that and then I’d synchronize that with Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft is just a good CRM which would be my next tip for anybody in business is use something like Hubspot because you want something that is going to automate a lot of the pre-customer interaction. Not only are you minimizing the time you have to spend on the marketing, but you’re maximizing the contact you have with your prospect and they think there’s a lot of human interaction going on because of the way it works, it’s brilliant but you’re getting this really efficient method of marketing and communicating to your prospects without having to do much at all. Of course, it has to be set up. But once its set up, away you go. (34.06)
Kym: 100%. Certainly on the sales side as well, you have all your tools, your templates, your proposals, everything already there because I don’t have much time I used to waste. Trying to look at Dropbox and find where did I save that type of proposal, open it up and do it and then personalize it. That’s all done in a quarter of time. It’s fantastic.
Ben: That’s what it’s all about. Once you’ve got your discipline down pat, you’ve got a good default diary, you’ve got yourself organized, your saying no to meetings that don’t matter, the next step is really optimizing and that’s finding these things. What we’re mentioning may not be suitable to you but you’ve got a find… You think about what’s my most time-consuming task? The way that we do that with our members is we have a time-finding sheet and manual process. But we do it deliberately because we want people to identify where they’re spending most of their time, and anybody can do this just keep it simple. Just get your calendar or just do a spreadsheet and put Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday across the top, put 15-minute or 30-minute time slots down the left from 8:00 in the morning till 6:00 at night, and every 15 or 30 minutes, just document what it was you were doing, and you’ll be amazed that some of the tasks that you are doing and how long it’s taking you. When we do this exercise with clients, they’re really astounded. They go, “Wow. I didn’t realize that I’m spending that much time on quote preparation or I was spending that much time mucking around with getting Internet working or whatever it might be. It’s incredibly eye-opening. (35.33)
Kym: This is one of the questions I was going to ask you. Where do you start? You mentioned earlier on to not do things you’re not good at or not pointing towards your goal. I guess that’s the place to start, isn’t it? To do that time-tracking sheet. Then, look at where you’re spending time that’s not productive like waiting towards your goal. That’s the task you start with outsourcing first of all if you look at it.
Ben: Look, to make this episode as efficient as possible for people that are listening so they can go and execute, that’s probably a good segue is I would start there. I would start with two to four weeks of tracking everything that you’re currently doing and then what you do is you go through and you map out the regularity of each task. So is it a daily task, is it a one-off task, is it a fortnightly task, is it a quarterly task? How many times does it repeat in a given period? So you could sort of start to see what the repetitive tasks are and what the one-offs are. You can then look at the one-offs and go, “Why did that happen? Was it something that’s deficient in our system? Was it something that distracted me? Was it the demand of the customer?” So you start to identify what those things are so you can start to manage those, and then the repetitive tasks, what I like to do with those, I then like to get through and rate them in skill and how much fun they are for me. I would use a quadrant so I draw a box with lines in like the old Channel 9 logo, and on the left hand side, I put skill from low to high and on the bottom, I put fun from low to high along the bottom and then start filling in the boxes with the task. It might be a bit confusing for the people to visualize. What you do is look at the task and score it. Do I enjoy doing this and does it take a lot of skill? Now, the things I don’t enjoy and the things that don’t take a lot of skill, I should delegate immediately. They’re going to be easy to delegate because they don’t take much skill and they’re going to get the things off my plate I don’t quite like doing. (37.30)
Kym: I like that actually. I do like that. Otherwise, you might get rid of something you like doing and you’re stuck with something you don’t like doing and you’re not going to be engaged with that are you?
Ben: That’s it. If something’s low skill but you love doing it, keep doing it. If you love going and taking your bundles of cash at the end of your day to the bank, then do it. But if you’ve got something that’s low skill like for example, cleaning your office and hate doing it, hire someone else to do it. Put your time into something you love doing. The things I do in my business… It’s related to earlier we met this last week on a stage because we’re sharing a platform in an event, I love doing the speaking and I would never get anyone to do that. It wouldn’t matter what level of skill it required or whether it was a good use of my time or not, that’s part of what I love doing so I’m not going to take that away from me. But I hate doing the book work. I hate it. It takes a high level of skill. So that means I have to make sure I select and hire the right person. It’s not as easy to delegate but I’m going to delegate because I don’t like doing it. (38.34)
Kym: Yeah. I think that a really great point. So I guess just to wrap up, I think you’ve already said where to start. You start with doing that audit, if you want to call it that, time trending sheet, go through the process of prioritizing things that should be delegated and then start using those but recording systems on how to do it on the way through.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. If you’ve got a task you don’t like doing, systematize it. If it’s a low skill task, it should be relatively easy to systematize it. One of the things that I tend to be able to do is just use the camera on your phone or an audio recorder on your phone and document how it’s done. You can take photos with your phone and if you do have some of these things like Trello. Trello will actually enable you not just to manage a project but Trello could do something where you could set up a process for a particular repeating task in your business and that’s why I love it. I can’t believe it’s free. I still can’t believe it.
Kym: Yeah. That’s a fantastic system, Trello. (39.30)
Ben: Once a project is finished, it can just be reset. So if it’s a repetitive task in your business like for example, the monthly account reconciliation of something, your stock take, you can actually document it with photos, audio, video, whatever you like. Stick it into Trello with a checklist. At the end of the month, they’ve completed it. They just then reset it ready for the next month and away you go.
Kym: It’s so easy. Anything you want to wrap up with when you think we haven’t covered up that you would like to touch on?
Ben: We’ve touched a lot. I’ve you tips and tools and starting points. It doesn’t matter what part of your life it is, but I think nothing changes if nothing changes. If you are getting to the end of each day going, “Wow. I just don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. There weren’t enough hours in the day. Maybe you are just taking on too much,” and that is possible. People do. You’ve got to really take the time out to work on it. It’s not going to fix itself and so, in all my years of coaching and training and helping business owners, the one thing I’ve seen is that sometimes there is a resistance to change because you might feel like you’re losing control. If you’re not comfortable of delegating a task, ask yourself “Why”? Is it because your own values around privacy or is it that you don’t feel to trust someone else to do it because the system’s not there. Sometimes people go, “It’s just easier for me to do it myself.” But ask yourself, “Is the challenge me or is it something else?” Because quite often it will be you as an individual and just getting your head around it and changing your mindset. (41.06)
Kym: Yeah. I think it’s the old cliche when people say, “Ten years. I had 20 or 30 staff. I could never find the right person.” People’s problem; maybe the manager’s problem.
Ben: One consistent factor that we’re not looking at. (41.23)
Kym: There’s a mindset part too, isn’t it? But you’ve really got to focus and you’ve got to let it all go. People won’t do this perfectly as you start up with but you’re not doing it. If you’re saving just a single hour in a week, that’s 52 hours a year that you get back. I think it always matters. I would say, “it’s almost a week’s worth of work time.”
Ben: Like I said in the beginning which you alluded to, it’s the one resource you cannot renew. Once it is spent, it is gone. If you know that leaving home at 8 to go to the office and you’ll sit in an hour of traffic, but leaving at 9 means you’re only sit in half an hour of traffic, then you should rejig diary around saving that half an hour and they’re okay with that. Same with your team, don’t make your team inefficient just for the sake of sticking to traditional start and stop times. You don’t need to. I think it’s about saying, “Well, what’s the use of anyone sitting in traffic?” for somewhere like Sydney, that’s a big problem.
Kym: Yeah, in any city it is true.
Ben: Yeah. But people have this mindset that “I have to be there by 9 but I can’t leave till after 5.” Because once again, that’s what we’ve been conditioned and trained to. But for me, I like going out before 5 because that’s when everyone else leaves, and then I’ll do a bit of work later on at night. Once my wife goes to bed, I’ll do another 30, 40 minutes on LinkedIn. That’s my LinkedIn time. You’ve just got to decide how you’re going to optimize things but it is about taking time out to look at it and then, as you said, I call it the superhero syndrome when people won’t let go of things. You’ve got to be willing to let go of some things as well.
Kym: I think a lot of it too is just talking to all the people about it as well, which is probably a good segue in how people could connect with you. I think taking time out to actually work on the business is really important as well. You have a whole range of quarterly seminars that people can attend in Sydney and a range of webinars they can attend as well, don’t you? (43.16)
Ben: Yeah. We’ve got all sorts of events that we run on a regular basis to help and educate people. A lot of those events are free or very low investment level to get a ticket. We do that because it’s sort of like test driving a car. We want people to come and meet us and understand what it is we do. A lot of people confuse us as business coaches because we do some coaching but we take it to another level and we really tie it back to numbers because we’re all about how much profit you’re going to make out of your business. We’re not accountants but we look at the numbers closer than probably your accountant does, and we actually have a piece of software that we’ve just launched where we’re doing full analysis of your business over the last few years and what things to be done for the future to make it more valuable long term and so that’s really exciting. A lot of it is down to where you invest your time, let’s face it.
Kym: I think if you get a chance to go to one of Bens events as mentioned, they’re all in the website. It should be maxmyprofit.com.au.
Ben: If you get to maxmyprofit.com.au, you’ll find a huge amount of resources there that are free. One of it is the events page. You’ll see our all of our events. Some are free, some are a small investment. Particularly, if there is a ticket price, it’s just to cover the cost and get the commitment from you that you are coming. (44.31)
Kym: I think sometimes, I found with all these different tools like chatting with you to day and chatting to people. When you pick up different ideas, everyone’s got the same with a lack of time. You learn lots of new things from just talking and networking with other people as well. Just get out there and speak to people.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely. I think and it’s well I have things on this podcast, I love what you’re doing because I think this is such an efficient way for people to learn. Where you don’t have to go and talk to somebody else if you don’t want to. Networking works with some people.
Kym: Absolutely. Every time that they can, listen to the podcast, other people’s podcasts, there’s just some wonderful podcasts today, and yours. You should give yours a part as well but mostly of your podcast.
Ben: Yeah. Business Brain Food. Just recorded Episode 160.
Kym: I’m a long way behind. I have a lot of catching up to do.
Ben: I look up to Tim Reid with his podcast and I think he’s up to 400. As far as aussie podcast guys go, I think he is the longest serving one. I think I’m somewhere near the top in the most number of episodes in Australian podcasts.
Kym: Those sort of things are a great idea and very efficient use of your time as well. You’re going in a car stuck in traffic or you’re going for a run, you don’t want people and get pumped up, you can always listen to a podcast. (45.52)
Ben: Yeah. Business Brand Food, always going to be better than those breakfast shows or drive time shows. I’m not going to say it’s funny but you’re definitely going to learn more.
Kym: You’ll learn a lot more. Aside from Max My Profit and the Business Brain Food podcast, any other ways you’d like people to connect with you?
Ben: They’re probably the two easiest ways but if you just put my name on Google and find me on LinkedIn or Facebook, I’m all over the place. You’ll see my alter ego which is my photography space. If you are in photography, you’ll probably find me there. From a business space, LinkedIn is probably the best spot to get me and I’m just there. If you’ll try on LinkedIn, you’ll find me there.
Kym: As you said, lots of great content on the Max My Profit website and certainly, as you said, on the Brainfood podcast as well. Thanks again for your time, Ben. I really appreciate it. We have some wonderful tips here that will all be in the show in that sense. You can get those and it links to those resources as well. If you can get along to the Max My Profit just check out the website. You’ll get some great value. But remember, stock first of all, by cracking your time and then working on how you can manage it more productively. Thanks again, Ben. I appreciate your time, mate.
Ben:Thank you. My pleasure, mate. Always a pleasure.