If you only had an hour to do something to move your business forward, what one thing would you do?
It’s a question I encourage you to get into the habit of asking – and answering – at least once a week. Repeatedly spending 60 minutes on one thing that will move you toward your goals will help you actually reach them. And, 60 minutes is a manageable amount of time even in the busiest of weeks.
So what do you spend your 60 minutes on?
We asked eight other business owners to share their most productive tasks. How many are you doing regularly?
1. Check-in on your values
How often do you think about how closely your business activity is in line with your purpose, mission, and values? Liz Loly, a Comms & Education Consultant, would spend the time by “carrying out a quick moral check to ensure my business is still fully inline with my values.”
And it’s good advice.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day of entrepreneurship you can lose sight of why you’re doing it. If you find yourself off track you might one day realise that you’re not enjoying your business anymore and that is a sad place to be. Spend some time regularly making sure you’re doing this for the right reasons – your future self will thank you for it.
2. Seek new opportunities
You could spend your 60 minutes prospecting and making new connections without leaving your desk, all via the world wide web. Col Skinner from ProFoundry would do just. Here are his four networking tips:
- Search LinkedIn Content for keywords relating to your services within posts from the last week. Comment and connect with those looking for your services.
- Search Linkedin for relevant job roles to your industry (in Col’s case Marketing Managers) and connect using a personalised intro note.
- Search Indeed.com for companies hiring people who do what you do and contact them selling a more viable alternative (i.e you).
- Source industry and freelance Facebook Groups, join them and introduce yourself and your services.
3. Start a new marketing channel
If you’re relying on one or two key marketing channels to grow your business it is worth spending your 60 minutes diversifying. Not only will you avoid the risk of putting all your chickens in one marketing basket but could pick up some new business from either your existing or new customers.
It’s what Jen from Rock Rose Digital would do. “If I had 60 minutes, I would spend it setting up my email newsletter. With social media blackouts happening more often I really think having a way to connect with my audience away from social is super important.”
If, like Jen, setting up an email newsletter is one of the things you want to tick off your to-do list, check out this detailed video that gives you everything you need to get started using one of the most popular free newsletter services, Mailchimp:
4. Increase your online presence
Francesca from Send and Amend would use the time to launch an online marketing campaign. “A lot of my work comes from online bookings and referrals and I know I could push this further through a more concentrated effort to market my services online. Finding the time to focus on things such as this is tough, so an hour to focus on it would be a Godsend!!”
Can you take a similar approach? Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Set up a digital advertising campaign (ie Google Ads or Facebook ads).
- Run a promotion and share it on your social media, blog and email newsletter.
- Work with with influencers or affiliates to review your products or services.
5. Better yourself
An alternative approach is to focus on improving yourself instead of your business directly. It’s what James Devonshire, a freelance content specialist would do. “I am my business (being a freelancer) so anything that improves me, improves my business. That’s why I take every opportunity I can to better myself, whether that’s listening to a relevant podcast, reading a book or watching an online video.” Streaming something Netflix probably doesn’t count… even if it is from our list of inspiring films and box sets!
6. Check your finances
When was the last time you got your financial ducks in a row and made sure you were on top of your P&L? It’s how I would spend my hour: doing a financial check-up – sending invoices, chasing outstanding payments and finding out which services are bringing me the most revenue and whether there are any clients who I haven’t worked with for a while I can get in touch with. I always feel more confident and on top of things when I check my business finances properly and dedicate some time to it.
7. Experience your business as a customer
Pete, founder of a local street food franchise recommends regularly putting yourself into the shoes of your customers. For his business, that’s queueing up at an event, ordering and tasting the food. “You don’t have to be a secret shopper, but that’s an effective way to get the truest sense of what it’s like to be your own customer. If I made 60 minutes to grow my business this week, I’d go and suss out the competition in the same way I suss out my own franchisees. I always learn something and it helps give me and my business the edge, spot opportunities and stay ahead of trends.”
Here’s a great quote from Joe Gebbia of Airbnb who talks about this…
There are so many things you could spend your 60 minutes on, but whatever it is you choose, make sure it is something that will help your business grow, not just clear down your to-do list.