Small business owners have two costly issues that they have to overcome: too many things to do and not enough time to do them.
Several weeks ago each of you received a blank BizQuack Idea book. Its purpose is to keep it with you, 24/7 so that when an idea comes to mind you can jot it down. Many great ideas never see the light of day because they are forgotten.
Today I want to address another “writing responsibility” and that is keeping a spiral bound note book on your desk. This tool can be one of the greatest resources you have to help you grow a sustainable business. I know that technology has, in many cases, replaced the hand written record, but I find that by having a notebook it becomes a much more visible and usable resource.
Start by maintaining the following records:
- When making a call – jot down the time, the number called, the person called and several words on the topic.
- Likewise, when receiving a call, note the time, the person calling, the topic discussed. If you don’t have their number, ask for it and write it down.
Let me interrupt the list for a minute. One of the benefits of this list is the ability to go back and follow up, to help you remember what you said you would do, and the ability to move a name to your monthly contact list if applicable.
- E-mail communications have become standard. You may save them, but if you receive and send a lot of them, chances are you will not remember who you communicated with. Again, take the time to write down the date and the person you sent or received an e-mail from. In that way you can also go back and know where to look for it at a future date.
- Networking, meeting new people, is an integral part of small business growth. When you make a new contact, take their business card and tape it inside your notebook and write down a few words about the meeting. Make a note if that person is added to your monthly contact list or if you want to set up a future meeting.
- Make a note when you personally visit a client or prospect.
These basic five items form the essence of your record keeping. They will not only serve as a reminder of things that you have to do, but also can play an important part if any legal issues arise. Once you form the habit, it will take very little time to maintain your system. Going back months or years is a great way to rediscover your actions and lost connections.
Tips & Advice by Nick Petra, CFP – Founder of Strategic Duck and BizQuack
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