My Life’s a Mess | How the Pareto Principle Can Make it Work More Efficiently.

My Life’s a Mess | How the Pareto Principle Can Make it Work More Efficiently.

Well, my life’s not a mess – most days at least. Maybe you are having trouble managing yours. That’s OK. At one point or another we all get bogged down by the mountain of stuff we have to do as business owners, executives, parents, spouses….human beings. It can become a lot – too much.

We all have 24 hours in a day but different things that fill those hours up. But I’m going to tell you a secret – most of that stuff isn’t helping you. It’s just there, getting in the way of other stuff. In fact, only about 20% of what you do has any real, lasting effect on your life. The rest is fluff – sticky, icky, pulling you down fluff.

How do I know this? I recently have started studying the Pareto Principle. To sum it up, really briefly, it means that out of 100% of our time, efforts, investments – really whatever topic we are focusing on – 20% of the activity generates the results. The other 80% is, basically, busy work. It stands true in almost every verticle – from the way the government sets up social programs to the way banks earn money on investments. 20% is probably going to generate the majority of results. Why, who knows. It is one of those “just is” scenarios that “just works” the majority of the time.

That’s the Pareto Principle

I can hear the “buts” …I get it, we all have them. Some of those non-results generating activities have to be done. BUT, do they have to be done by you? What if you focused more on the 20% that works and less on the 80% that kinda works.

If you are seeing where this is going (or not, I’m explaining it anyway) outsourcing is the key to realigning your focus where it counts the MOST while not letting the other important stuff go by the wayside.

Let’s paint a picture – the busy executive mom. She has a lot on her plate.

  • Significant Other (or not)
  • Kids
  • Career
  • Extended Family and Friends
  • Home / Cars / Bills
  • Herself

Each of those things are important and they are all jockeying for attention. The first question you have to ask when trying to Pareto Principle your life is:

Does it HAVE to be done by me?

If you said yes, it has to be done by me, the follow-up question should be:

Is there a FASTER way to do it?

Let’s look at household management – grocery shopping, cleaning, scheduling, maintenance, and cooking. It’s a lot, especially because we haven’t touched on the rest of the “stuff” you have to do. How much time would it save you if –

  • You had an ongoing maintenance schedule so nothing “sneaks up on you”
  • Your groceries were delivered to your door / Some of it was pre-prepped and still healthy?
  • You had one maintenance person to do the stuff that takes up a whole weekend like mowing the lawn, changing the air filters, replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • A housekeeper that comes weekly
  • A family calendar that syncs with everyone and sends alerts to the whole family and everyone helping you out like the maintenece person or housekeeper (see #1)

My guess is a lot of time – at least a Saturday’s worth. And if you knew how to set this stuff up you would have done it already. Because, who doesn’t want a Saturday to just lounge around once in a while – right!

So how do you apply the Pareto Principle to your life and career? First decide what has to be done by you. Next, investigate ways to make what has to be done by you faster or more efficient.

If it doesn’t have to be done by you, outsource as much as you can. From personal assistance to auto-paying bills – there are lots of ways to reclaim time by taking a lot of little things off your plate. Especially if those things fall within your budget, it’s important to do them because you have freed up time that you can spend doing the things you want to do or things that generate more business for your business.

Time management based on the Pareto Principle not only gives you back some time freedom but it can help you grow your business.

If you are looking for ways to Pareto Principle your business and be more efficient and productive, schedule a free 1 on 1 consultation.

CRM and Project Management

CRM and Project Management

Selecting and implementing a CRM is crucial in maintaining control of projects and clients. Project management software and CRMs are not interchangeable – though the terms are used synonymously. There are some key differences in the 2 platforms, their functionality and their goals. 

Project Management Platforms should offer:

  • Scheduling with short and long term planning
  • Activity monitoring
  • Report generator for teams and individuals
  • Budget tracking
  • Reminders for deadlines
  • Visualization capabilities
  • Communication features

On the other hand, CRMs deal more with the communication of your team with clients as well as automating many redundant process. This serves to create a streamlined system for client interaction on your team and ensures no customers or clients “fall through the cracks” in your organization. A good CRM should offer

 

  • Email management and direction 
  • Help Desk Features
  • Management of Sales Funnels and Leads
  • Lead scoring and direction
  • Track and report on customer interactions

From connecting your email inbox to your sales funnel, newsletter, and customer service platforms (plus a whole lot more) CRM can condense and facilitate the process of managing current customers and handling leads in a way that simplifies your business process and, when done correctly, increase revenue.  A CRM should effectively “pay for itself” in time saved and profits.

There are a variety of different CRMs available from free options like  Insightly whose free version is fine for a very small business that doesn’t sell online. To the paid options like our 2 favorites, Infusionsoft and Greenrope. If you need a Social Media specific CRM Sprinklr is our top choice in that niche.

One of the best options for maryng both Project Management and CRM softwares, however, is ZOHO One. We appreciate the ease of integrating both the CRM into the project management software to, for example, facilitate customer service, create Social Media Marketing campaigns in collaboration with clients’ teams and their customers, and gather all pertinent data sets to determine what works and what can be further refined. 

Regardless of the platforms you choose, growing businesses need software to manage not only the customer relationship but also the internal workings of their teams. Research CRM and Project Management software that meets the needs of your business to get more done more efficiently and build great relationships with your clients. 

 

Franchises need Better Social

FRANCHISES NEED BETTER SOCIAL

Franchises are everywhere. From your hair salon, to fast food restaurant, to your gym or childcare facility; chances are your most frequented businesses are franchises. While some franchises are household names other up and comers have just barely cracked the surface of the franchise market.
Being in the Social Media business it was shocking to see the lack of Social Media among franchises and worse, franchisees; especially those that were new and not yet household names.

It was when I was trying to reach out to a local franchisee on social about an account question that I realized, they had no social media presence! Zip. When I researched the main franchise’s social media account (on Facebook) it was mostly unattended and just sporadically updated. NOT Good! Unfortunately, when I decided to go down the rabbit hole of franchise Social Media I discovered that this particular franchise was not alone in a completely lacking a social media presence. Franchises and their franchisees have an almost universal issue, bad social media. The question is , why?

What can Social Media do for your Franchise?
Social media is a tool that serves many purposes for small business like franchise owners. From generating buzz to brand advocacy, customer loyalty, marketing, and customer service; a strong social media presence can go a long way in helping a small business be successful offline from online efforts. Franchises spend a lot of money on traditional marketing like coupons, TV and Radio spots, billboards etc.. but for many franchise owners online marketing is a gaping hole in the overall marketing strategy with franchises; it it is probably hurting your business or at least dampening your success. If your franchise is socially absent or if you have been putting off social for your business, getting a presence on the major social platforms could be the missing piece for your business’ success.

Franchise Social Media Marketing Challenges
When you open a franchise chances are you will be required to use goods and materials provided by the franchise. From ovens, to cash registers to marketing materials – you are obligated to use company provided materials in running your franchise business. If the Franchise does not produce social media content to be redistributed you might be out of luck. Part of the problem is that franchises want to maintain a consistent brand image and discourage franchisees from developing their own marketing materials, online, print, radio etc.. If your franchise doesn’t provide social media marketing guidelines and materials you may be out and out prevented or limited in creating your own marketing materials.

The other Social Media Marketing Challenge is that Franchise owners have limited knowledge and experience in social media, not unlike other non-franchise small business owners. Time for social media may also be a factor. Content creation and distribution are also common challenges for business owners. It’s unrealistic to expect that any small business owner can manage every aspect of their business, of which, social media plays a critical role for acquiring new customers and fostering customer loyalty. Many small business owners ignore social media, in fact 10% of small businesses have no presence on social media at all an 58% struggle with maintaining their social media profiles and are inactive on social accounts.

Solving the Social Media Challenge
Franchises can easily adapt print media to social media content and redistribute it to their franchisees to market their individual businesses. While investigating franchises, potential franchisees should question the availability of these marketing materials in the franchise agreement.
Franchisees can localize these franchise produced materials on social media and adapt them to their market by using geo-specific key words in their social posts and targeting local customers on social via ads as well as reaching out to local influencers in their market on social media.

For franchises that don’t provide marketing materials that can be used on social, franchisees should inquire about their ability to produce their own social media marketing materials. There are services which can adapt or create social media content and publish it to franchise’s social media accounts to streamline the process of social distribution of company produced marketing materials.

Even if marketing is strictly regulated by the franchise, franchisees can still create a social media presence for their business without this content. Memes, videos and customer produced content can be utilized in promoting the franchisee’s business. Social can also be used as a way to manage customer service issues and is an effective way of gauging the consumer’s sentiment regarding the business. In short, social media shouldn’t be ignored simply because the franchise does not offer support for it in the franchise agreement.

There are several services that provide options to the franchise owner and franchisees looking to promote the brand and the individual franchisee’s business on social media in a time and cost effective way. Social Report, for example, offers a low cost solution for distributing content across several social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. It also offers social listening to gauge consumer sentiment and monitor the web for customer issues easily. Other services like Beatrix App help to easily sort and socially distribute content that would be of interest to followers. Infusionsoft has several options for acquiring and managing contacts and converting leads to sales via social media for franchises and franchisees. And lastly, you can always engage the assistance of social media marketers to craft content that aligns with brand image and distribute it to franchisee’s for use in marketing their businesses.

Whatever option you choose it is important to know that Franchises, like any small business, can harness social media to promote not just the franchise brand but the individual franchisee’s business. Social media is a tool that all small business owners can use to promote their businesses locally, -with or without pre-prepared marketing materials. When over 10% of small businesses fail each year, having a strong social media presence can be an important factor in determining if you will be a successful franchisee and should not be ignored.