There’s a saying in the business world, and it’s “Keep a Schedule; don’t let the schedule keep you.” So in all respects, our business scheduling as a business owner is what will keep us operating without pulling our hair out, or what forces us to throw in the towel. Now granted some of us are gifted with photographic memories, and can circle dates on their calendar and see them in their head, and just magically remember that they have meetings at certain times during the week. In the real world though, most of us have to write the majority of things down in order for us to remember them. If we don’t right down every detail of our busy day, chances are something is going to fall to the wayside. Then we will lose customers, lose money, and ultimately lose our cool for blowing important meetings.
Electronic Schedules are Awesome
I know you guys have seen those big desk calendars that was necessary when electronics included a flip phone, a pager, and a 20 pound laptop. Well really they are un-necessary now, unless you use it to doodle on, when your placing important phone calls to your favorite Chinese food restaurant. Just kidding, though they might still have some use, we walk out the door with our schedule in hand. Thanks to companies like google, who have captured the market for every digital avenue that exist or has ever been thought of. They own the android operating system, so when you get your new cell phone that is android operated, it forces you to sign up for a google account if you don’t already have one. (What an awesome marketing tool.) Anyways, once you’re logged in to your new google account, you now have access to google calendars, to where you can set up dates, reminders, multiple daily meetings, and share these same things with the people that this meeting involves, even if they don’t have google, which most likely they do. So your google calendar will help you keep track of all your daily, weekly and monthly activities, if you set your reminders up correctly.
Daily Operation Checklist
Secondly, though you have already scheduled everything in your google calendar on your phone, the next best thing to do, is to create a daily operation checklist. This checklist is a simple list created in word with your logo on it, with “DAILY OPERATION CHECKLIST” written in big bold letters up top, and about 15 lines with check boxes besides them, and a place for the date at the end of each line. Each day will vary, so if you only have 3 things to do that day, date them for that day, and then save this sheet for the next couple of days until it’s filled up. This is why the date is necessary. Sometimes you might have 15 things to get done, and you would love to get them done all in one day, but realistically, it probably will take 3 to 4 days to get these things done. So the best thing to do is to make sure you start with a fresh daily checklist, and then prioritize each item by the date that you would like to finish it by. This will give you a great start in controlling the things that you need to get done. Also, say that a customer calls you, and you need to add something to the list that has to get done for the day, now you can add it on the list, but you can still prioritize it by date. This makes life a whole lot easier when you know what needs to be done, and when it needs to be done by.
Controlling Your Business Scheduling
One of the great practices that I learned is to always control your schedule, and always try to plan a week or two ahead. This will allow you to book customers on your time, rather than on their time. Most likely if they called you, then they need you, and if you make it seem that you’re desperate for their call, then they might take advantage of you. Let the customer know that you can meet with them or start their project as soon as possible, even if that means a week from now. Try not to make it seem that you are too busy to do the work, but help the customer realize that you are a valuable piece to their overall success, and they will greatly appreciate you getting to them as soon as humanly possible. Granted if you are a one person show, this helps a lot, but if you are operating with multiple helpers, and you can respond to the project within 24 hours do so. Honestly, I tend to respond rather quickly because I know my capacity, what I can handle and what I can’t. The biggest thing is, don’t let the customer control you, if they call you, and tell you that they need something by tomorrow, don’t forget to charge a rush charge, this is important. If you have to stop what you’re doing to take care of something immediately, then you have pushed someone else’s project off to attend to theirs, so let them know that this will cost them. If a customer calls you on Friday, and wants something by Sunday, but you don’t work on weekends, let them know, that you can have it by Monday afternoon, or early Tuesday. You don’t have to kill yourself to make the customer happy, you just have to respond to them in a timely manner, and then let them know your expectations and requirements for finishing their project.
Ultimately, our time is valuable. A good friend once told me, “If it takes away from your family, then you better charge them.” I have lived by this comment for the last 4 years, and it has made a great difference in my overall scheduling and my overall success. Our lives shouldn’t just consist of scheduling our work, schedule your lunch breaks, keep your scheduled time off to spend with your family, and schedule in your fun time. All of these things are important to having a balanced life as a business owner and entrepreneur. Don’t forget that if you fail to use your schedule, then you are creating an orderless-life, an most likely creating chaos and headaches around you. I hope these things help you in your overall work process, and remember if you have any questions, let’s discuss it.
Thank you and God Bless!