Feeling Overwhelmed? The Solution Is Leverage
What do you do when your to-do list grows faster than your got-it-done list? Every agency handles this differently. Some buckle down and work more hours. Some get behind on goals. Some focus only on goals and get behind on business design. Most get frustrated and start to feel overwhelmed.
Whenever our clients start to experience the frustration that there’s more to do than they can handle, we turn to one word: leverage. The first question is to always identify what you can and should be leveraging.
This might include your team, your vendors/home office, associations, and even tools and processes. Typically, there are missed opportunities to leverage resources around you that can and will help fight this overwhelm.
Here are a few tips that we recommend to our clients:
- Track Your Time – We know, this one isn’t always fun, but it’s impactful. One of the first things that we want to know is a baseline of your time and how you’re spending it. Think of your time like your bank account. If you’re spending more time than you have, we want to know where you should be cutting back. Typically, we find a lot to work with if you approach this exercise with an open mind.
- Delegate – We may or may not know what needs to be delegated without a time study, but typically there are things that you hold on to and do yourself that can be done by your employees or possibly outsourced. It’s important to remind yourself that your time is valuable. As the business grows your position should evolve with the business. Just because you’ve done this work in the past, doesn’t mean it’s the work that will get your business to its Optimal Outcome.
- Set Expectations – In this industry there’s a sense of urgency that if you don’t get back to clients “immediately” they will go elsewhere. This is a knee-jerk reaction and creates a culture that unnecessarily creates “emergencies” out of routine work. Not everything can, or should be, treated as an emergency. Instead, your business should have set expectations for work to be done. For instance, maybe simple quotes should be turned around in at least two business days, but more complicated quotes might need four business days. Your team should be telling the client, “Thanks for giving us a chance to earn your business, we’ll have this ready for you by (insert date and time) and would love to meet with you after that to discuss your quote. Would (insert date and time) work for you?” This allows you to take control of the conversation, set an expectation, and allow the client to tell you if they need it faster.
- Home Office/Vendor Resources – Your vendors and your home office (if you have one) might have people that are able to help you. Sometimes, when you can’t hire immediately but need help, using resources from vendors/home offices can help your business grow. It’s good business to keep track of what is available to help you achieve results. Often, vendors and home offices have training resources, templates, programs, etc. that you can use in your business for free or at a reduced price. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to your contacts and see what’s out there that you can leverage to grow your business.
- Systems/Tools/Processes! – You know we had to put this into any conversation about leverage. Having systems for your employees, yourself, and even clients can make your workflow more efficient. Quite simply, you can get more done without as much effort. Overwhelm makes it hard to take a strategic look at your business, so lean on your business coach. Ask them to help you identify areas that simple systems/tools/processes, etc. will help. Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated to have a huge impact.
- Top 3 Priorities – When overwhelm hits, losing sight of growth and business design is often the first mistake business owners make. As easy and tempting as it is to dig into the technical work, typically it’s the hard work of working on your business that will get you out of this cycle for good. In times of overwhelm you need to have double vision. A plan for what you need to do now, and what you need to do for future growth. It’s difficult. It’s why many agencies hit a plateau and don’t get past that point. Our Optimal Outcome Business Coaches will help you keep this double vision.
- Challenge your mindset – Last, but not least, overcoming overwhelm is a lot about mindset. It’s about realizing that you working harder or longer isn’t the answer. Instead, it’s choosing to redesign your business. It’s understanding that your business is perfectly designed to get the results it’s getting. And you have the power to change that. But it takes a shift in how you see yourself in your business and your ability to leverage your resources to get greater results.