Why even business coaches need a kick up the arse sometimes
As a business coach, it’s my job to give my clients a (gentle) kick up the arse on a regular basis to make sure they’re taking action and doing the thing. After all, goals aren’t going to achieve themselves, if all we do is just talk about how awesome things are going to be One Day. Meeting with me once a month, or once a fortnight keeps my clients on the straight and narrow and reminds them that they agreed to do stuff before our next meeting.
But who coaches the coach? Who keeps them accountable?
Well, sadly, most of the time it’s nobody and this coach hasn’t been very good at kicking themselves where the sun don’t shine. When I worked in an Accountability Pod run by Rachel Allan with fellow business owners, I was getting heaps done from meeting to meeting and felt like I was actually getting somewhere, but doing things on my own, just doesn’t cut it for this coach. So this year, I once again joined Rachel in her Accountability Circle and then her Marketing Mastermind. Since then, I’ve been super productive and have really upped my marketing game. If you want some of what’s in Rachel’s brain, I highly recommend her brand new book, Authentic, Dynamic, Savvy: modern marketing for business success.
How not to plan
Even when I drew up a business plan a couple of years ago, which included marketing strategies, I was so pleased with my one-page creation that I rested on my laurels, looked at it from time to time and did nothing. Because the crucial thing, my friend, is actual action. Not plans to act, not an intention to act, but actual action that is diarised in your calendar, tasks assigned to the hour and some kind of accountability tracking.
While I had planned to write one blog post a month, I never sat down to brainstorm blog post topics, let alone put aside time to write them. Instead, I waited for the mood to strike when I “felt like writing”, which was hardly ever. And yet, in my day job, as a digital marketer, I’ve been able to write three blog posts in a day, because I had three blog topics assigned to me and someone who would know whether I’d done them. The writing itself is actually the easiest part.
So what am I going to do differently from now on and what you can do too?
How to get things done
1. First, redo that business plan. If you’d like to use my one-page template, you can get it by filling out the form below and my magic elves will send it to you.
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2. Ask around your business network to see if anyone is interested in being your accountability buddy and wants to meet regularly so you check in on each other’s progress.
3. Consider hiring a business coach to keep you accountable.
4. Use a tool like Trello to keep track of all your projects and tasks. If there are more people in your business than just you, assign each task to the relevant person and give it a due date. Or outsource it! Asana is another great tool for project management, especially for teams.
5. Create a separate Trello board for Marketing and assign the activities from your Business Plan to the right people. Transfer the information from each card to your calendar as an event, with times and due dates for each.
6. Create a social media posting calendar. I recently downloaded a free one from Rachel Miller as part of one her programs, but there are loads of free ones around, just Google “social media content calendar” and you will get heaps of free ideas of what to post on social media throughout the year. Adapt it to your business, schedule your posts in Facebook Business Manager maybe once a week or once a month, and then make sure you check in daily to monitor activity. Do the same for other social media.
7. Join my Accountability Circle – this monthly online check-in will give you access to me plus up to 5 other business owners who also want to get more done. Each person will get 30 minutes in the Hot Seat each month to review their month in business, brainstorm any ideas and challenges and plan their next 30 days in the context of their overall business plan. You will learn new tools and strategies for problem-solving, planning and taking action so that you don’t get hijacked by the shiny object syndrome.
One thing I didn’t include in my Business Plan Template is ongoing activities such as actually creating and delivering your products and services, but that is kind of obvious and should be part of your weekly planning anyway. If you don’t already include these things in your weekly schedule, then you should, so you’re never caught unawares with not enough product in your warehouse or a grumpy client with a missed deadline.
Scheduling projects and tasks in my calendar is a skill I learnt in my public sector days when time was at a premium, clients were many and it was really hard to keep track of things with simple lists and staff meetings. Using an advanced project management tool with Gantt charts and bar charts may be something you might need to consider for more complex projects. For example, Trello has a Gantt chart add on if you need one. It also integrates with Toggl.com which is a time tracking tool, excellent for figuring out how much time you spend on each task or client.
So far, this year has been super productive for me, except for writing blog posts. As a blogger, that is indeed a curious thing, because I always have so much to say. Making what I have to say relevant to you, a business owner, and your goals is, however, another story. The current political environment here in Australia and overseas leaves me with a lot to say indeed, but whether or not this is the right place to say it, I am not altogether certain.
I hope you are able to implement some of the “getting things done” strategies I included above. If you do, I would love to hear from you in the comments below, or send me an email via the contact page.