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Carving out time for your business

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Finding time to work on your business is hard

Do you struggle to find the time to work ON your business? By that, I mean finding the time to do the important planning and analysis part of running a business.

  • Checking that you are on track.

  • Creating and following your strategy.

  • Looking at key analytics.

You might be juggling your business with working full time. It might be tough to find the time to work on it around your family commitments. Alternatively, it might be that you are struggling to find time to work ON your business because you’re always IN it.

Making the time is crucial

Customer service, product development, marketing activities and logistics may well suck up a lot of your time. But ultimately, in order to grow, you need to find a way to carve out some time to step back and look at the big picture.

How much money could you be wasting?

A couple of weeks ago I met someone who used to run an accessories shop. She loved picking out fun and quirky items, enjoyed displaying them and had a great time serving her customers. The business went well for a few years, but after some time, she decided to move and wound up the business. She cleared out what was in the store, but had some excess stock that was hanging around that she kept hold of.

She freely admits that the business side of her business was never her focus. She took a lot of payments in cash, so got used to having wads of cash lying around. When she came to London on buying trips, she took these wads of cash with her and paid for her stock that way. No spreadsheets, no analytics, just as long as she had cash, she was happy!

Imagine her surprise, when she finally got round to putting her excess stock up on the web to clear through it, and discovered that she had over £7000 worth of stock that had barely even seen the light of day!

If you don’t take the time to look at your sales and stocks, how much money could there be tied up in your business? However you do it, making the time to check your numbers is crucial.

There are techniques that can help

As hard as it is to find time for working ON your business, there are some techniques that can help.

  • Microblocking - if you cannot find large amounts of time to devote to your business planning and analysis, can you commit to 20 minutes a day? Microblocks of time are a great way to carve out small blocks of productive time even when your schedule is busy. My favourite technique is to use a ticking kitchen timer to count down the 20 minutes, keeping me on track and focused for that short space of time.

  • Monday Trade - every retailer across the country spend Mondays reviewing the previous week and learning from it. Can you establish a habit, even if it’s a 20 minute microblock, of looking back at the previous week on a Monday and quickly reviewing what worked or didn’t work? It’s actually also useful to look at a week at a time - with real-time sales figures now being available, it can be tempting to obsessively check for sales constantly. However, that is not a hugely productive use of your time, far better to look at a week’s sales.

  • Block out one day a month - if it has to be a weekend day to work around other commitments, then do that. If you schedule the day in your calendar, and prioritise it above everything else, then you are making a commitment to take some quality time to check what is working on your business. Use that time to review what has been good and what has been not so good, and to make any adjustments you need to make to your plans going forward.

  • Find an accountability buddy. I have a friend and every Sunday night we email each other our tasks for the week, and check in on the previous week. If I make a commitment to work on my business, I know I will be accountable to her if I don’t take that time.

What do you do in your business?

How do you balance working ON your business with working IN your business? Are you blocking out time to focus on what’s important? Leave me a comment below and let me know what it is that works for you.

Other Ways I Can Help

If you want a straight-forward set of steps to build your retail business - download my free roadmap “Retail Entrepreneur’s Roadmap to Profit” right here.

And don’t forget to join the discussion inside the Female Founders In Retail Facebook group where you can meet other women building amazing product-based businesses. If you’re not already in the group, click here to request to be let in. See you in there!

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