Sarah and I have worked together almost three years now and we’ve been through a lot and have made so many fun things happen (like breaking ribbon cutting records with friends above!). We usually present on how to use social media to help your business, but a few weeks ago we were asked to present at Mid-MO BIG (Business Improvement Group) on our partnership and how we handle four businesses together. “Sure!” we said!
Here’s what you missed:
1. Use Google Calendar religiously and share your calendar with your partner(s).
I have two statements about my Google Calendar. If it’s not on there, it’s not happening and my calendar is my boss. I check-in with it frequently and it tells me where to go. By sharing your calendars, partners can cut down time by avoiding coordinating meetings between each other and with others who need to meet with you. You can turn each other’s calendar on and off so you only see it when you need it and it also allows you to see how full the other one’s plate is.
Full disclosure - if you start this, you must be diligent about putting things on your calendar as soon as you make a plan. Otherwise, you will get double-booked and it won’t be fun. That said, your life will be so much easier if you just start this habit!
2. Be very clear about what you want.
Sarah expressed early on when she decided to quit teaching that dropping off and picking up her kids from school was very important to her and something she wanted to continue to do. So, every day, she can meet after drop off and leaves when they’re off school.
3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
I don’t mean just willy nilly, here are my strengths blah blah… I mean make a Venn Diagram and know exactly where you both stand. And let’s back up one step. Before you decide to take on a partner, this is a good exercise to do. You really want to find a partner that likes to do the things you don’t and vice versa. Otherwise, you’ll be stepping on each other’s toes. Finding someone completely different from you is a good thing. Fun fact about Sarah and me: I’m a really good driver, but I have no idea where I’m going. Sarah is a really bad driver, but she knows where she’s going. Teamwork!
4. Have a regular planning meeting to discuss everything about your business and never miss it.
Even in the midst of the tornado chaos, we had our regular planning meeting. We call this our Monday Whiteboard meeting (it used to actually be a big whiteboard - now it’s on Google Sheets). Every Monday at 8am, Sarah, Alex, and I catch up because we haven’t seen each other in 2 days(!) and then we go down the list. We start by looking at our calendars (yep, back to the calendar thing) and we talk about what events we have, who we’re meeting with, and what we need to be prepped for. Next, we go over who needs to be thanked that week with something special because we believe in an attitude of gratitude. Then, we run down the list of recurring clients in alphabetical order. We look what they need and assign tasks for each person accordingly. We review all our businesses and what needs to be done and finally, we cover special projects or contracts. Leave time for this meeting. Sometimes it takes us only an hour; sometimes it takes two. Don’t schedule anything close to this meeting. Our general rule is that we don’t schedule Monday meetings with anyone but ourselves. It’s our time to plan, be proactive, and knock things out before the week slips away. Find a time that works with everyone’s schedules and block it off on the… you guessed it… calendar.
5. Invest in a project management software.
If you’re a solopreneur, you’re probably getting by with your todo list just fine, but once you start bringing in other team members or sub-contractors, it’s worth it to spend money on something to keep everyone organized and assign duties. We use Basecamp, but are currently learning Asana. We love Basecamp and would recommend it. We’re just learning Asana because it is more robust and CITY Magazine operates on it, so we’re transitioning to it.
There you have it. Our 5 top tips to what allows us to be super productive and get stuff done!
Tell us what your tips are in the comments. We’d love to hear them! As they say at Lowe’s, “Never stop improving.”
Thanks for reading the blog and we hope this has helped you even if you’re not a business owner. Sarah applies the calendar thing with her marriage. Ryan always knows what’s going on now! ;)
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