New Year's Resolutions
There are 1,440 glorious minutes in every day.
Four things to make the most of your time:
Never let a day go by...
Every day is filled with challenges and in hospitality in particular firefighting situations that demand our immediate attention – the drains are blocked; so-and-so has called in sick; the sun’s out and we are understaffed; we sold out and need more supplies.
To ensure you don’t get sucked in to doing stuff that wont bring you more customers or more money (that’s what delegation is for) every time you are faced with a situation that might throw your intentions off course, apply the ‘will it get me more customers or make me more money?’ question – if the answer is ‘yes’ – then do it if ‘no’ then don’t.
Such razor-sharp clarity is what’s needed when deciding what really should have a call on our time – and what should really be parked!
In hospitality, the trick to knowing what should be done today and what can wait is prioritisation. I have two lists and the question ‘will it help me get and keep more customers?’
List A contains the goals I set to increase trade and profitability. Basically the criterion here is: ‘Will doing xxxx (detail of task) help me get nearer to my profitability goals?’ If the answer is yes then it deserves a place on list A
List B is the day-to-day stuff that keeps me in business ‘the doing’ (staff rotas, cooking, serving, cleaning and trouble shooting)
For example, if my goal for May was to increase sales of coffees by £400, I would break down the number of daily sales I need which translates to six cups per day.
My List A would include tasks that would help me increase sales such as:
- Creating a staff incentive to increase coffee sales
- Organising/holding a training session to introduce the incentive
- Creating a special offer on coffee and cake
- Creating marketing materials for the coffee and cake special offer
- Creating an email campaign to promote coffee
- Planning coffee related facebook posts and tweets to promote coffee
- Organising a coffee ‘event’ involving suppliers and a barista demonstration
- Setting questions for a coffee facts table-talker competition
These tasks would take priority over the day-to-day tasks as they are fundamental to the success of the sales goal.
Block your tasks – be ruthless with your time!
It’s incredible how much time we waste switching between tasks in a busy workplace environment. No more so than in hospitality where there always seems to be a backdrop of panics and crisis – with staff not showing-up, bits of equipment breaking down and unexpected rushes of custom.
Constant interruptions can steal your time (do you really need to see this salesman right now – simply because he’s in the area and thought he’d ‘drop in’) and mean that you never quite get round to the really important stuff on your List A – the stuff that will drive your business forward.
An easy way of managing this is through blocking your time and ruthlessly sticking to it. Rather than making a phone call or sending an email as it occurs to you - set aside a period of time daily when you’ll do just calls or emails.
Keep an hour a day absolutely clear (no interruptions) to tackle tasks on your List A. When you write it in your diary you don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to tackle – just that this block of time can ONLY be spent on A list tasks.
Delegate your weaknesses to someone else’s strengths
You simply can’t do it all yourself – if you try you’ll crash and burn or stay really small. You need to be able to hand over tasks to others – ideally the stuff you don’t like to do, or find difficult. Make sure when you brief others with tasks properly or you will be frustrated when they don’t deliver what you want
Be strict on daily disciplines
This is the really, really difficult one. But it’s a fact that a common
trait of successful operators is their personal and professional
Effectiveness. In fact one of the best business books I’ve read is ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Steven Covey.
In this book Steven explores how our daily habits and unconscious
patterns constantly express our character and produce our effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, in everything we do – including our business life. Good and bad habits will ultimately affect our success. Things such as blocking out periods of time for tackling tasks on your List A, when they become a regular habit, will make us more effective and more successful. On the flip side, habits that allow us to be distracted and allow trivial tasks to take priority will mean sales growth will be more elusive.