Leverage. We’ve heard the word tossed around by gurus, moguls, and business experts, but they conveniently forget to tell us how to create that leverage and what to do if we don’t have millions or even thousands of dollars to create it. Today, I’m offering 3 simple ways to create leverage on a shoestring budget. Whether you’re trying to grow your business to 6 and 7 figures or you just want to reduce your level of stress and have more time for your life, applying these strategies will help you create more time for the things you love and supply the advantages that will help you grow your business faster and easier.
Clear Your Plate of Non-essentials
E-mail, appointment setting, picking up mail, and updating social media are all things that can and in many instances should be outsourced. But to whom? The key to building a solid team is to develop a human resources strategy – even if you’re a one person show. Spend time exploring which tasks consume your time without yielding a significant return. If you value your hour at $250, why spend time on $12 tasks? Make a list of these tasks and the type of qualifications that would be necessary to do them well. For many Gen Y entrepreneurs, administrative tasks can affordably be outsourced to a virtual assistant. Check out sites like Elance.com and oDesk.com and post an ad with your specifications. Get an assistant to help you manage the maintenance so that you can focus on the growth.
Do It, Delegate, or Dump It
We all have the ubiquitous to do list – that never ending challenge to get it all done. Most entrepreneurs are faced with more tasks than there are hours in the day, and it leaves many of us with anxiety, overwhelm, and frustration. Eliminate the “I’ll get to this later” habit (hint: later rarely comes), and start making immediate decisions when things arise – will I do this now or at a specific time in the future, will I delegate this to a team member, or will I dump it because it isn’t in alignment with my goals? Having this simple conversation in your head helps to quickly move you out of a space of always doing what I call maintenance tasks – the things you have to do to keep your business afloat. Instead, you want to have people in place who help you maintain your business while you focus on achieving goals or what I call growth tasks. This includes things like strategizing, project planning, developing joint venture relationships, and serving clients. The sooner you can adopt this attitude towards unexpected developments, the faster you’ll be able to create leverage and use your time more efficiently.
Become a Time Guardian
Being a time guardian means not letting people and things needlessly sap time from you. How many times have you intended to spend a “quick minute” on Facebook that turned into ninety minutes? How many times have you taken that unexpected call and gotten off the phone an hour later frustrated that you found yourself totally behind schedule? The key here is being aware of where you’re time is going and putting systems in place that help you avoid distractions and work efficiently. My favorite strategy for creating this kind of leverage is eliminating any non-essential meetings or phone calls. Many entrepreneurs spend hours meeting with people with no real purpose. Networking is essential to success, but purposeless meetings and aimless calls are time vampires that have to be nipped in the bud. Simply put, never meet when the phone will suffice. Never talk when e-mail will suffice. And never e-mail if it’s really not important to your business. Get clear about where your time needs to be spent in order to create meaningful growth and implement systems that protect that time.
Apply these strategies and observe how much more you get done, how your bottom line grows, and how much more time you have for the things that are really important to you, personally and professionally. Leverage doesn’t have to come with a 6 figure price tag – it just takes some thought and discipline.
Lisa Nicole Bell is a serial entrepreneur who empowers ordinary people all over the world to live extraordinary lives. Her multimedia conglomerate, Inspired Life Media Group, uses entertainment, personal development, and new media to create lifestyle solutions for the masses.