In yesterday’s blog post, How to be a lazy serial entrepreneur (part 1), I talked about a client of mine who has started or is starting 8 businesses that are taking a lot of his time and attention.
I used the following time-and-attention demand chart to demonstrate where my client’s trouble-spots were.
Near the end of the post, I mentioned that the goal of every business should be to move toward passive administration, marketing and deliverables. I don’t think many businesses can achieve completely passive levels in all three functions but it’s a good goal. And, if you like to start businesses or you initiate a lot of projects in a single business, this is a good way to force yourself to manage the amount of time and attention you give to each one. Ultimately, your goal should be to maximize your return while you minimize your effort.
So, how can you achieve increasingly passive efforts in your business? Here are some ideas:
- Outsource your administration. (Not sure where to start? Go visit my friends at ContemporaryVA). Get them answering your phones and email, and pinging you with only the most important stuff.
- Use software to automate your delegation. Zoho and GoogleDocs are both ideal for this. For example, create a spreadsheet with your staff’s names down the side and the tasks you want them to do across the top, and have them update a pre-defined percentage-complete as they do so. Zoho and Google let you invite your staff to view the file and make changes.
- Use accounting software to keep your business’ books. IAC-EZ and Kashoo are my favorites.
- Delegate your marketing. Guru, Elance, and Odesk are my favorites… and Odesk has a collaboration/delegation desktop interface that seriously kicks ass.
- Automate your marketing with marketing software. There are lots out there (too many for me to give a comprehensive list, and depending on what your needs are, the software will vary). Some examples: Automate your email marketing with ConstantContact; automate your keyword advertising with AdWords; automate your digital product sales with Clickbank, automate your social marketing with Hootsuite.
- Delegate the delivery of your products by using a dropshipping company or a “middleman”. Or, if it’s a simple as running to the post office to attach stamps to a package, hire your kid to do it.
- Delegate the delivery of your services by hiring and training associates or licensing your proprietary techniques. You can even delegate part of the delivery of your service by getting someone to do the initial work while you provide the value-added work.
- Sell more digital products, such as ebooks, ecourses, toolkits, subscriptions, exclusive access to networks and information, and more.
- Write a book.
- Host a seminar.
Turning your administration, marketing, and deliverable functions into passive activities doesn’t mean you can sip martinis on a beach, but it is an intentional effort to reduce the amount of time and attention each one requires in order to operate successfully.