Does more effort equal more sales?
When I asked our kitchen customers about their biggest mistake, Jimi Wall, co-owner of Whoa Nelly! a human grade dog food business working out of our kitchens, came forward with his:
“I fell in the trap of trying way to hard to make the business a success. It’s easy to think more effort = more sales, but it totally doesn’t work that way. So I’d be working on the business all the time, developing the website, marketing, social media, promo events etc. And when I wasn’t working I’d feel super guilty about not trying hard enough. Then we started at the markets and it was a 7 day week for a while. Definitely no fun and a terrible way to be productive. I learnt that you can do more in 5 days than you can in 7. I found the key is to have clearly defined goals for every task, to do each action consciously, and keep tabs on how long they take. And if I feel guilty now I remember that weekends make the week way more productive. Much happier now!”
I still have trouble NOT working 7 days. Sometimes it’s because I may have worked all week, but there’s something really exciting happening here on the weekend so why wouldn’t I be around for that as well?!
A lot of the time it’s because we’re starting something new that needs its hand held while it finds its feet. A few months back it was our bar food menu, last month it was filter coffee, last weekend it was a 2 cubic meter pile of soil for our new gardens that needed shovelling, and next month it will be our espresso beginnings. Wandering Cooks is nearly 4 years old now, but often it feels like we’re still starting up every single day.
But at other not-so-healthy times, I work 7 days because being in a business is like standing under a waterfall of endless tasks and it feels safer to keep churning through them than to risk drowning under the onslaught. How do you stop to rest when there’s always a torrent of work pending?
Jimi reminds me that having a system for time management can help hold the guilt of ‘not working’ at bay long enough to step out of the flow, take a rest and enjoy something ‘not work’ for a while. David Allen’s Getting Things Done and the time management tool based on his philosophy, Omnifocus, have been incredible support tools for me. They’ve taught me to take time to plan my day by making ‘next physical actions’ out of the waterfall of work. Now I just have to remember to actually USE these tools before the overwhelm kicks in and I’m being drowned by my inbox again.