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Build a profitable business-the baby steps part 23

Timing. They say that timing is everything. We wouldn´t go that far, but it´s certainly important. In fact, not just timing but dealing with the concept time in general is a very important aspect of any activity. Not only are weneat freaks about keeping, adhering to and following up on yearly, monthly, weekly and daily action plans, we also plan a lot of other activities with one eye at the clock. There is a lot more to the concept of time than initially meets the eye. At least that has been the case for us. We try to incorporate the concept of time into most of the stuff that we do. Maybe we overdo it. But my partner for over a decade has been emphatically pushing this concept as being key. Clearly he feels strongly about it, and he is usually right when he is confident in something. Everything we do, we do in a very specific way time-wise. We try to book meetings with customers late in the week. The reason is that people are the most relaxed and happy, because of the upcoming weekend and it is easier to reach agreements and come to important conclusions. You don´t want to be to close to the weekend though, as this will generally result in a decision to meet again sometime next week to finalize the discussion. As we have told you before, Meetings should be few, snappy and only take place if they are vital to the business. Negotiations are a bit tougher to provide general guidelines on.

We take a lot of things into account before planning the timing of a negotiation. Keep in mind that we are talking about important negotiations here. As an entrepreneur you will spend a lot of time negotiating so you need to be able to bring along a solid game to any play ground you enter. Every now and then you will run into major negotiations that are vital to the future o ´f your business and have a massive effecton your financial future. These sessions are important to plan for. While the day of the week you should choose is dependant on a large number of factors we always try to follow one basic rule when it comes to key meetings like these: we always plan them right after a tough workout. I know it sounds silly, but we can assure you it is not. And for those of you who have studied physiology, the powerful impact of endorphines and how intense aerobic (and anaerobic) activity affects our body and mind, this might not be all that surprising. “Mens sana in corporare sano” as the latin saying goes, or ”A sound mind in a sound body” if you will. Does it sound cheesy? If it does, chances are you haven´t fully experienced the benefits of super-tough exercise on a regular basis. It will work in magic in lots of ways that are difficult to comprehend unless you try it out for youself. It took us us years before we finally understood the real importance of this. Sure, we talked about the importance of exercising and being fit before, but we didn´t fully grasp what we were really saying. Everybody ios talking about how great workouts are to be able go at it 100 percent at work. Well, it was only after we did a half-year grueling training regime with a personal trainer

When we have worked out we feel great. We are at our very best. We feel calm yet confident. We are relaxed yet exude power. We are happy and bubbly, yet we can be serious and to the point. It is simply the best possible version of ourselves that will walk into the room where the meeting is going to take place. And we know from experience that the best possible version of us is happens to be just the man for the job.We have read a lot about the chemical processes that start in the body after an intense workout, but let´s not bore you with tedious details and dull theories. The reality is that a regular workout routine will make you money. And our experience is that key meetings should be placed (if possible) about 1-2 hours after a grueling workout. The reason that you want to have the meeting 1-2 hours after a workout is that it´s the optimal time, you have had just enough time to recuperate and get some food and at the same time the beneficial effects of the workout will be near a peak.

There are a lot more time related issues to deal witt, but let´s not overdo it. Suffice to say that many activities will have much better results if you only time them well. We know salespeople who started selling 15-20% more each month by changing the time slots of the day they use for sales calls. Other results might be more difficult to measure but we can assure you that we have made a lot of money over the years by being smart about time. It´s such a silly detail, yet we find it definitely holds value and we wanted to include it in this list. Time will tell if this piece of advice will prove to be helpful for you. We sure hope so.

Keep meetings short. We are not big fans of meetings. It´s not the meetings we dislike really. It´s the fact that so few of them are effective and actually leads to something good down the road. Our experience is that many meetings spend to much time dealing with stuff that is irrelevant (at best) or just plain stupid (worst-case scenario). Thus, when people ask us for out time we can at times come across as “difficult”. This is for a number of reasons. First of all, we have a limited amount of time, and we value our time highly. We always try to be as productive as we can and we try to increase the value of our companies each day by making small improvements everywhere. These small inprovements add up impressively over time, but you need to put in the time to make sure they are done correctly (even if you are not the one doing the job). Second of all we get approached a lot. And I really do mean a lot. We couldn´t possibly accept all meetings even if we wanted to. There´s just not enough time around. Third, we have an endless number of bad experiences behind us. Many years ago when we were new entrepreneurs we usually accepted all requests for meetings. In fact we even enjoyed having them a lot. I think this was largely to do with the fact that we felt we did something important when our schedules were filled to the brim with meeting engagements. After all, how can you not make money if you are so busy? To some extent I also believe we felt important. We were new, young and a tad bit naive entrepreneurs. If somebody wanted to meet us, that felt like some sort of recognition. So what if they wanted to sell us stuff we didn´t need, or pitch us a 100 percent safe investment opportunity. We were always willing to listen. And listen we did. To the point where we started spending at least a couple of hours a day on silly meetings. In hindsight we behaved like idiots. But everything seems a lot more easier in hindsight. One day we sat down and made some major adjustments to the way we conducted business. One of the most profitable decisions we made on that particular meeting (you see there are SOME useful meetings) was that we would cut down dramatically on the number of meetings we accepted. We decided we would spend that time on doing stuff that actually increased the profits of our business. Like sales which increase short-term profits, and customer care and strategic work which increase the longer-term profits.

We still do hold meetings today. But we have a specific set of criterias that each meeting must live up to if we are to attend it. We want the meeting to be fairly short and snappy. There is just no point in sitting around a table for endless hours just because someone feels very strongly about which coffe we should now use in the coffe machines. Make it quick. Make it relevant. Make it a profitable meeting. If not, what´s the point? Another thing is we are not to fond of to regular meetings. Some individuals we have worked with wanted to have daily meetings to discuss what was going on. We don´t do that. Instead we made a very specific list of things that needed to be done, we divided the stuff among us based on our strengths and specific skills and we set a specific time table and dead line for it all. We did one half an hour meeting once a week just to make sure everybody were doing their share, and that the we were all running in the same direction. It turned out to become one of the best projects we ever did. The truth is that if you can only have a solid work plan in place with clear and concise areas of rensonsibility you really don´t need that many meetings, nor do they need to be that long. We still run into people who enjoy meetings so much they would like to sit in them for the majority of their working days. That´s just not our cup of tea. Why sit in a time-consuming and boring meeting when you could be on the phone getting in touch with new potential clients, or work on yet another improvement on your product or service. We just don´t get it. Then again, that´s just us.

We have some other demands that need to be met for us to call (or attend for that matter) a meeting. We need to see some immediate results from the meeting. We like action. Action, not meetings is what brings value to your enterprise and money in your pocket. Action, not meetings is what pays the bills. Action is money. Mettings are lost time. We want the money. Somebody else can have the lost time. But if a meeting results in a call to action, we will be the first ones to endorse it. If a meeting results in specific and detailed plans of immediate action count us in. Meetings like those are vital to business. They push you forward, and make the time spent around that table, time well spent. Don´t overdo the meetings. And when you do them make them count. Make them short and to the point. Make the meeting a call of action. And then act on it. That´s how we roll.



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