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Useful tools, tips and strategies to help your business learn, develop and expand.

How To Get Your To-Do List Done

Almost anyone who has run a business will agree that one of the most difficult hurdles is managing the overwhelming quantity of work to be done. And with only 4% of businesses ever achieving more than £1 million turnover, and 0.4% achieving £10 million, it’s worth scrutinising how this and other factors are holding business owners back from running an even bigger business than they already do.

In my experience, having engaged with some of the brightest minds and most motivated business owners in the UK, I have some confidence is noting that one of the primary reasons for stunted business growth is a lack of time management, which generally has been the result of an inefficient delegation processes.

This, in turn, has usually arisen from business leaders not identifying more carefully exactly which tasks should be assigned out to their team, and which they should be doing themselves.

I’ve discussed the 4D framework for productivity before, but I want to share a slightly simpler version – one which lets you swap out your “to-do” list for something more successful.

Purpose and Priority

Let’s take a little look at this diagram:

What this little triangle is telling us is that you need to start with purpose. (Remember Start With Why? Similar concept.) Why are you actually trying to do these tasks? What is the reason you want these things done, and what is the ultimate driving force behind you spending time on any task at all?

Once you have purpose, you can move on to considering what your priorities are. Which things are most important to you and which things aren’t as critical? What order should you do them in?

With purpose and priority, you automatically start achieving productivity, and in business, that automatically results in profitability.

So the key is to tweak that to-do list to highlight the tasks with priority and purpose so you aren’t just blindly pouring out your effort into a massive to-do list and not getting an adequate return on that investment of effort.

3 Steps to Creating Your Success List

Step 1: Create Your To-Do List

The classic to-do list is an important starting point in this process. Do a total mind-dump of all the things you need to do.

What I usually advise to clients is to open a simple spreadsheet at the end of each day, and at the beginning of every week, and note down everything that needs to be done. This is your “to achieve” list.

The next two steps are what converts this “to achieve” list into a “success list” instead.

Step 2: The Priority Question

Ask yourself, “If I were only allowed to do three things today/this week, what would those be?”

With this question you begin to prioritise and start to separate out the “should do” and “have to do” tasks from the “could do” or “would like to do” tasks.

Step 3: The Leverage Question

This is the important step that gets true leverage from your list and transforms it fully into a success list. Ask yourself the question, “Are these the things that make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

While it is likely that sometimes your day will consist of fire-fighting and taking care of the ‘urgent’ tasks, if you have a success list built off this question, then you will automatically ensure your most important tasks – the ones that are giving you the greatest return – are front of mind.

A lot of people stop at step 1. The good workers stop at step 2. But the most successful people are constantly doing step 3.

Most people create a long and overwhelming laundry list of things to do, and then wonder why they feel so unproductive. Developing this success list will guide you away from the procrastination that comes from doing little, insignificant tasks and steers you into achieving the big tasks that take your business forward.

Need more productivity tools like this?

Providing the world’s leading business coaching services, we help business owners boost the productivity of their business through simple changes in the way they think – such as swapping a to-do list for a success list!

Book a place on our web event and find out the framework we’ve used over the past decade to help businesses achieve real double-digit growth.

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I Prefer Small Fish

london-business-coaching-small-fish-big-business-mindset

Someone at an event I was at the other day said to me, “Yeah I have a very small business but we’re in a specific niche. We’re a big fish in our circles,” he stated quite proudly.

And this was the clue that told me why he wasn’t experiencing the kind of growth that I achieve (and guarantee!) for my clients.

You see, to me saying he was a big fish told me, yes, he had a business that was doing well, but he also said he had a small business – and was claiming to be a big fish “in his circles”.

The implication was he was a big fish in a small pond. But a big fish in a small pond is no big fish at all – it’s just a small fish that is keeping its sights small.

What would have been more inspiring to me was if he said, “We’re a growing business. We’re doing well, but there’s a big ocean out there and we’re still small fish.”

What this would have immediately indicated to me is that while they are humbly realistic about their current size (or their perception of thier current size), they are clearly successful, and have direction, ambition, and the desire to grow. That is what is called having a ‘big business’ mindset – and business owners with that mindset are the ones that get the most out the business coaching strategies I use.

The interesting thing is, as a business coach in London over the last 9 years, I have heard business owners label themselves as “small” many times. Often, these “small businesses” actually have the potential to be (or, in fact, already are) very successful and could achieve impressive growth if they implement the right kinds of tools and growth strategies.

Mindset can be a significant and difficult barrier in business. If you think of yourself as a “just a small business” – or even as a “big fish in our pond” – then you are always going to remain that way. To start achieving the growth that you might consider impossible at the moment, you have to take up Adidas’s slogan and start believing that really, impossible is nothing!

Escape the Small Business Mindset

While it has since been disproved that a fish somehow grows to the size of their tank, what we do know is that a fish has the ability to continuing growing throughout their entire lives or be stunted under certain conditions.

Basically, it is the way you care for your fish that affects how large it grows. Your company is very much like a fish in this regard.

If you keep a fish in a small pond, you’re going to provide it with the kind of conditions that end up keeping it to that size of the pond. So if you constantly think of your company as a small company, or that it only can only remain in the small pond it is currently in, you are keeping it in conditions that are stunting its growth.

A reasonably subtle tweak in your mindset – and you could say, the business’s mindset – can change all that. Instead of saying that you are a small business, think of yourself as a growing company that is always learning, adapting and evolving in order to become a bigger business.

Put yourself in the whole ocean, not just a pond, and give yourself the room to be even larger than you already are.

Become the Big Business in Training

Instead of calling yourself ‘just a small business’, think along the lines of a ‘big business in training’. By doing so, you will start to see your planning sessions and business decisions in a new light. As you set yourself targets and decide what needs to be done with the mindset of aiming to become a big business, you will likely find that a light now shines on the opportunities to take you there.

And you will attract the kind of training and business mentors that will be looking to help you as you leave the comfort of the anemone and teach you how to take on the big ocean currents.

The fact is, the simple act of preparing for growth can actually cause this expansion to happen. Not only are you then ready to become that larger fish, but you are also the direct cause of your own growth! It’s like the anti-thesis of a vicious cycle.

Achieving growth in London, or any city in this world for that matter, is no mean feat, but you are the person who can make it happen. Your drive took your business to where it is – now it’s time to change up the conditions and drive your business out into the open sea to grow even bigger and stronger!

So, let me give you something to achieve at your next networking event. When someone asks you to tell them about your company, say something along the lines of, “I’m running a big business in training.”

Ghandi told us that thoughts become words and words become actions. Start thinking of yourself as a big business, and start talking about yourself as a big business, and then watch as you start taking the actions to become a fish that rivals even the blue whales of the world!

Ready to swim the ocean?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionWhen you realise that you’re actually a big business in training – a small fish that has such potential to grow – then it can be useful to have someone help you find the right currents to ride. Book a no-obligation strategic review of your business and we’ll help you point out the ways you could be growing bigger than you already are.    

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Did You Miss This Step For Your Last Hire?

How do you figure out if someone can actually do the job that you’re hiring for?

You don’t want to have to wait until after you’ve hired them and put them through their induction before you find out they could talk the talk but not walk the walk, do you?

You might think that the easiest way to filter out for the best candidates is to advertise with a higher salary to indicate a more ‘senior’ position.

Maybe not. Let me explain the simple process my client used to filter out three very strong candidates for his bookkeeping role…

You can see that this applies to literally any job you are hiring for – sales, marketing, operations, business development. Don’t just read the cover letter (I mean, does anyone even read them anyway?) and the CVs… Put them to a good, well-crafted test and you may just find it easier to start hiring some superstars!

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi! This is Shweta from London coaching group. In fact, I’ve just come out of a coaching session with my client and that was a very interesting one, so I thought I need to share this with you. My client actually has been trying to hire a finance person who could do bookkeeping, can work with sage, can do basic reporting, and just a reconciliation, follow up on, you know, the outstandings and so on and so forth.

Before we started working together he hadn’t seen much success in hiring for this position. So he was like “Shweta there’s this position I need to fill. I’ve not been very successful. And how do I go about this?” So I obviously started asking a few questions just to figure out his process. And at one point I told him, I said “Adam, the issue is that you are not deselecting enough in your selection process.” Like what? What do you mean? Deselecting in selection process? I said yes, in recruitment the main thing that you need to do is to de-select very quickly and very confidently. And he said OK, so yeah I do ask questions but how do you know that someone knows the subject or not because they all claim they do? So that’s very easy.

What I helped him implement is simple interventions, simple. Loop or hoop, whatever you want to call it. So we want to check, for example in this position, can the person speak proper English? That’s easy right? Because they talk. Can they write well right? The email communication, there’s a simple document with four questions which the candidate needs to answer. Very simple, straightforward, tells us about their written English. Then we want to check their technical strength. And in fact Adam very smartly prepared ten multiple choice questions that shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes for someone who knows the subject to complete very successfully.

I mean questions like– I’ve kept it open here, what tax code do you use on an exempt transaction? And there four choices. What nominal code range are sales normally? And and so on and so forth. I have no idea about the answers, but I’m not supposed to know this. The person whose good will know the answers.

Now once you have these documents in place and you go to the answers, you know who your deselecting and who you’re moving forward for the final round, which is exactly what he has done. He has got three solid candidates who have scored like really high marks on all the tests and now I’m very certain that Adam will be able to successfully fill this position and this person will do a great job.

Now what I want you to understand is that it’s not just for this finance position. Whether it’s marketing, whether it’s sales, whether it’s operations, whether projects, you name it. Any position in your company you need to learn how to de-select people rather than just listening to words and big claims. Make sure you put your candidates to test so that you can assess for yourself if they understand the subject, understand the position or not. And once you’re clear as to who you’re hiring and what they need to know it’s very easy to put those tests in place. But please make sure because remember if you learn how to de-select rigorously then getting superstars on board is relatively easier.

Want a recruitment process that works?

Business Coaching London Recruitment ProcessIn the years of coaching we have done, we have refined a recruitment process that takes up 4-hours of your time if you follow it properly.

Get the entire process – with templates and everything – PLUS a training on how to do it for just £47 + VAT. And with that comes a FREE voucher to use with our recruitment agency to post your job ads worth £50!

Get the 4-Hour Recruitment Process


Your Website Has More Traffic This Week

business-coaching-london-google-analytics

As the leader of your business, what is your awareness of the actual operations of your business? Do you have a bird’s-eye view with an understanding of the overall picture but not the specifics, or are you down on the ground, plugging away at individual parts with an intimate understanding of each turn of the cog?

Business owners who successfully maintain growth have the former rather than the latter.

Do you know the answer to whether your site had more traffic this week as compared to last week? Or this same week last year?

Do you know if the marketing campaign that you started last month has directly led to the leads you’ve received this month, or did they come from somewhere else? Do you know which link on the email you sent out last week was most clicked on?

There is a range of tools and processes that you are likely already using in your business to keep it ticking. When you were in start-up stage, you most likely will have been that engineer that is running around, knowing exactly which lever to pull and exactly when. As you grow, and you start recruiting, you must start to step away from the levers, start focusing on the dials instead, and architect the overall machine.

You should focus on the dashboards and the overall results of the business, not the processes.

There is a tool out there that you can access on your website right now, which will put the numbers right in front of you, so you can start seeing exactly how many people are visiting your website during whatever time frame you choose…

What I’m talking about is Google Analytics, and it is not so much a lever, but more like a set of instruments of measurement. Google Analytics is the set of wings that will let you soar above your digital marketing and give you that bird’s-eye view on all of your digital efforts.

Let me give you four reasons why Google Analytics is a tool that every business owner should be using and understanding:

1. It’s Free!

I am not going to lie – there are better web analytics tools than Google Analytics out there. But Google Analytics is free. It lets you gain in-depth insight about your company’s online activities at no cost.

It would make sense to get more advanced analytics software if that kind of information is going to give you a return that pays off. Otherwise, why would you waste the budget when Google Analytics comes at no cost?

Business coaching often comes down to helping business owners weigh up the balance – marketing is investment, not a cost, but knowing what is a good investment means understanding the return on that investment.

If your business isn’t performing complex analysis on your data to eke out specific returns on your business, then Google Analytics will serve your needs.

2. You’re Getting Information From Google

Anyone who has any sort of digital activity should know about the term “Search Engine Optimisation” or SEO. Sometimes it’s known as SEM – search engine marketing. This is essentially a marketing channel whereby you are trying to show up in in the search results on search engines organically (i.e. you aren’t paying to be there).

This has the obvious benefits of that if someone is specifically looking for what you do, and you appear on the search results, they’re likely to be a good lead.

And since Google has a market share of 85.74% as of April 2017 (according to Statista), the only engine you really want to focus on is Google.

And if you are trying to boost your SEO for Google, doesn’t it make sense to find out how Google itself is looking at your website?

Ta da – Google Analytics gives you exactly that. So if you are doing any sort of SEO activity, then Google Analytics is only going to improve that.

3. There Is An Abundance of Support

The great thing about Google Analytics is that it is really popular, and Google is massive. This means that there are plenty of online resources available to ensure you can get as much nuanced education in it as you want.

There’s no need to pay someone for training. There’s no need to order a special manual. There is plenty of support for using and understand Google Analytics to the nth degree.

Whether you just want to know what it is capable of, or you want to delve deeper and use it for complex data analyses, you will easily be able to find the tools and resources you need online.

Just a thought: your competitors are probably learning about Google Analytics, so this may well be one of the things that will determine whether you are falling behind or staying ahead of them.

4. You Can Test and Measure EVERYTHING

If you are doing marketing without being able to test and measure the results of that marketing, then you are essentially stabbing in the dark and hoping you hit something.

Google Analytics shines a light on your digital activity – IF you know how to read it.

You can track where people are coming from as they land on your website, what they do when they are on it and on what page they leave it (amongst many other things).

You can use the data to test and measure the effectiveness of almost any kind of online marketing, and pick out when something has suddenly worked well, and when something has completely tanked.

This gives you extreme power to hone that marketing investment and ensure you are putting your money into the channels and strategies that are giving you actual return (and not perceived return).

Want to Know Your Website’s Visitor Numbers?

If you haven’t yet got Google Analytics running on your website (or, worse, don’t even know whether you have it or not!) then now is the time to get it sorted.

Even if you do not plan to use it or look at these numbers until later, you have to set it up now.

The reason being that Google Analytics cannot start tracking any information until after the code has been installed. It cannot look at historical information – so prioritise just getting the code onto your site.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to do so – like I said before, there is plenty of help. If you have a web developer, they should know how to do this really easily. If you are on a WordPress site, you can do this easily with a plugin. And most other websites will have some sort of function that makes it as easy as copying and pasting the code from Google Analytics into a box on your website that puts the code onto every page on your website (inside what is known as a <head> tag).

Once you strap on these Google Analytics wings, I hope you can learn to take to the skies above your business, and start seeing where you can target and hone your digital marketing and become a true business leader.

Not convinced Google Analytics is for you?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionThere are a number of tools and strategies that we put forward for business owners to use in their businesses when we are coaching them.

These are specifically chosen for where their business is and what their goals are.

The best way to discover whether Google Analytics or any other tool is what you need right now, is to book a complimentary session with us and let us take a look at what kind of tools could be helping your business see double-digit growth in the next 6 months.

Book a Free Strategic Review


What is the Opposite of Fear?

When I first asked my son this question, he picked “Courage”, “Strength” and “Determination.”

While these are all correct answers, there is something else that I put at the other end of the spectrum from fear.

In this video, I explain how I have now developed my own thought around this and how that has translated to the one powerful practice I have for myself and recommend to our clients to keep a positive state of mind and pursue peak performance.

This is one of those Mindset Principles that are critical to becoming the kind of business owner that can stimulate exceptional growth in your business.

Most people spend an inordinate amount of time fighting or succumbing to the realities of the present. They battle every day against the immeasurable amount of negativity outside and inside themselves. Unfortunately, they often do this without ever directly facing the realities that these fears and negative talk exist.

Whether it’s about being able to deal with pressure, developing ownership of your confidence or understanding the elements of the iceberg that help form your identity, it’s really important to understand that hard work is not enough and you must work on your “being” and not just your “doing”.

Successful people realise that they are ultimately responsible for creating a positive and driven environment for themselves – an environment where they are creating positive energy and affirmations for their own inner self.

The action I’ve explained in this video is something you can do at the end of each day. It doesn’t take more than 30 seconds but makes a huge difference to how you end the day, and how you start the following day.

This is a condensed version of the longer exercise I explain in my book, SPARKS (see below).

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

3 Gratitudes Before Bed

Hi, this is Shweta from London Coaching Group what I want to talk about today is something slightly personal. I want to talk about the question that I ask my 10-year-old every night just before he goes to bed. OK. So we have a ritual between mother and son. So I tuck him in give him a nice kiss on the forehead and then I ask him a question. And the question is.

“What are your three gratitudes for today?”

To which he smiles and he gives me his three gratitudes which are different every day. And then he smiles back and looks at me and says “What are your three gratitudes mum for today?” And I’ll obviously share my three gratitudes with him which I absolutely love doing because it helps me think about the whole day and actually the good things that have happened.

But this time last night actually my son asked me saying, “So mum you’ve been doing this and why do you do this? Like, what’s what’s the reason behind it?” And that made me think because I have to explain it to him in very simple terms as to why I’m doing this every night. And I just want to share this with you. Of course, you know you can and you should be doing this. It’s a very powerful thing with your loved ones with your kids and more importantly with yourself.

The Spectrum of Fear

Now the way I explain this to him and again, to myself because I like to keep things really simple, is that actually, this is a spectrum, a line. OK. And I said let’s divide this line in half. This is one side. This is the other side. This is the midpoint.

And on one side of the spectrum is something called fear. And I I asked my son saying “What is the opposite of fear? To which he said, “Courage.” I said, “Yeah. Courage, strength determination. These are all the right things.” But then actually. As far as I’m concerned and I was sharing my philosophy with him I said the way I see the spectrum is that on the other side is something called faith.

Why Faith is the Opposite of Fear

And why faith because. Fear is when your mind is projecting negative outcomes. You’re thinking of all the things which could go wrong, or can happen. Wherein in faith, your mind is projecting positive outcomes. There is no evidence for both the things. It’s just what you decide to project. Now if this is the midpoint. The choice that one needs to make is on which side of the spectrum. One needs to play the game or live life. And the number one thing that I have found for myself and for much for my clients for them to stay in the top state of mind and to project the positive outcomes because it’s weird. You know it’s wherever your mind is projecting it starts attracting more of that. And therefore one needs to be very conscious of that especially as a person who wants to achieve more as a person who wants to build a growing enterprise and add value out there. You have to be really really careful because what you’re focusing on is what you start getting more of. So the number one thing that I’ve found very useful in terms of being on this side of the spectrum is gratitude. It’s remembering.

Now if this is the midpoint, the choice that one needs to make is on which side of the spectrum does one need to play the game or live life.

And the number one thing that I have found for myself and for much for my clients for them to stay in the top state of mind, and to project the positive outcomes… because it’s weird; you know it’s wherever your mind is projecting it starts attracting more of that and one needs to be very conscious of that especially as a person who wants to achieve more as a person who wants to build a growing enterprise and add value out there. You have to be really really careful because what you’re focusing on is what you start getting more of.

The Number One Thing To Stay on the Faith Side

So the number one thing that I’ve found very useful in terms of being on this side of the spectrum is gratitude. It’s remembering that good things are happening and good things will happen. And consciously going through the good things which have happened to you and your life and it’s a simple question doesn’t take more than 30 seconds but makes a huge difference to how you’re ending the day and how you start your next day.

Finally, when I was explaining this to my son, I said right towards the end, on this side (the fear side) life happens to you. But on this side (the faith side) life happens for you. And he said that’s a change of prepositions.

I said yes. But it’s actually a huge change in belief system. And that’s what makes a difference because it all starts from what you believe in.

Order Your Free Copy of SPARKS

The Mindset exercise I’ve described here is a condensed version of a longer exercise that I explain in the first chapter of my book SPARKS. While the book does delve into other Mindset principles, I also give you further pieces on the 6 areas that I help businesses focus on in order to achieve growth sooner rather than later.

Use the button below to grab your free copy of the book – you only need to pay the shipping / handling costs!

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