When you have to do more with less, what do you do? How do you ensure you stay aligned to priorities and opportunities?
- Pause and evaluate
- Act aligned to profit
- Set boundaries
When asked, business professionals voted equally and predominantly for the first two options.
That tells me one important thing: in the year ahead of us, business owners – myself included – will have to balance between tech and social skills. That combination will become important for every business that wants to keep the pace with the customers and competition.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) can provide some insights regarding where to look first for efficiency opportunities. There is no silver bullet though. Your company’s workflow, positioning, strengths and weaknesses impact what is realistic.
When I get into the whirlwind of opportunities and challenges, already high-valued time becomes scarce. That’s a big problem, and I know it is time to rely on the Present Retreat™ framework to protect my energy and time.
No matter how different your business is from the competition, you need clarity before making a decision about why and how to do more with less. I’m talking about strategic and business-changing decisions.
Reach out to a trusted advisor to get that clarity. If you need an advisor with a different viewpoint, reach out – I am one.
Don’t shy away from this work – it’s this effort at the beginning that allows you to show up and create more impact than before. It’s how you can do more with less and produce better results.
“When it comes to growth, my tip for doing more with less is building on your wins. There is likely an abundance of untapped insight and opportunity in your existing customer base. And your customers have a vested interest in your success – create opportunities for them to be part of it. Connecting to the Voice of the Customer (VOC) will uncover insight needed to reverse engineer a successful sale, create more effective marketing messages, focus product development efforts. Most importantly, it will reveal the necessary insight to improve the experience of your customers. Customer Experience, according to Tiffani Bova in her bestselling book GrowthIQ, is the “growth path that must become the foundation for each subsequent (growth) path." So – start here. Start with your wins – your existing customers." – Tonya Bjurstrom, Helping B2B get closer to their customers, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience + Expansion.
“I pause and evaluate at times by disconnecting from the work in front of me for an hour each week, rewrite which projects/big tasks I need to accomplish, rank order, then see which ones I can automate if any. I find it beneficial to set a consistent weekly hour in my calendar to stop putting out fires and focus on my long-term goals and see what I need to do next to accomplish those goals. I have to be very deliberate about the process I take. A lot of it may not always qualify as automating, but [it is well worth] spending a good amount of time on coming up with a great approach/process that can be easily accessed without having to search or remembering where it is saved because files are well organized. Takes a good amount of time up front but saves a lot more time in the long run. I personally really enjoyed reading The Five-hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss; he has the best strategies to maximize your time and create efficiencies everywhere in your life from dry cleaning to personal virtual assistants to eliminating all meetings." – Chad Sheiner, Financial Advisor at RBC Wealth Management
“Having a plan and a strategy is key, especially when it comes to us entrepreneurs that suffer from shiny object syndrome. If you have a plan in place, you can evaluate new opportunities against that plan to see if they fit your business model or if it is something you should say ‘no’ too (a hard lesson for most and one better learned sooner rather than later!)." – Jeff Chastain, Founder, Business Coach and EOS Implementer, Admentus, Inc.
“Thanks to meditation practice, to do more with less, I pause and evaluate. Just taking a few minutes, longer pause, before any conversation to think about my goals and what I want to accomplish. And not only about the end goals (how I get what I want) but how I’m going to engage in that conversation. I genuinely listen, with the intent to understand their feedback and ideas so we can craft win-win solutions together. What also helps is putting a few words on my notepad to remind me (listen, breathe, win-win etc.). To prepare for some challenging conversations, I sometimes write a ‘happy place’ word, ‘beach’ on top of my notepad. ‘Coming prepared’ to any conversation is not just about presenting your facts, figures and opinions. It’s more about the ‘how we are’ coming to the meeting, our ‘mindset.’ To be successful, your goals need to include the ‘how and the why.’ – Andrea Guderian, Community Volunteer & Financial Admin
“As a still extremely small, but ever-growing nonprofit, I have to always do more with less. This has become such a standard operating procedure that it’s automatic. Hopefully, we will achieve our goals and mission soon for a more sustainable and regularly-funded organization. There are so many families in need of our services that we currently cannot help. Working with a tight budget will only be helpful when our budget increases." – John Vogels, Founder & Executive Director, Martyred Angels Foundation
“It’s essential to set priorities. What are the vital few things you must accomplish? Once you know, you can allocate your limited and precious time, energy and capital." – Jerry Comer, Owner, Comer & Associates, LLC
“You just need clarity and to focus on the right things. The things that are actually going to make a big impact from a value perspective and from a profitability perspective."- Crista Grasso, Creator Lean Out Method
“Once you really know what’s needed and what the situation is, bring attention to the constraints. Clarity and constraints together create the quickest way to impactful options to evaluate." – Jess Dewell, Red Direction, Operations and Strategy
As additional reading material, I suggest the following articles:
6 Rules to Work Less and Get More Accomplished – by Scott H Young
SMBs can do more with less during times of change – by Maggie Mazzetti
Tips for Increasing the Efficiency and Functionality of Your eCommerce Business – by Jennifer Small