Q: What's a typical day like in the life of a new small-business owner?
A: I receive this question from many new business owners. There are certain routine tasks entrepreneurs need to accomplish every day. However, the problem some new owners have is the tasks they're performing may not be getting them closer to building a successful business. Entrepreneurs who succeed are focused on completing a specific daily sales plan. Modify the following plan to fit your business prospects-then watch your business grow. Here's a look at the entrepreneur's daily plan for success:
5 a.m. Wake up, exercise and eat a healthy breakfast. Entrepreneurs are in training just like athletes preparing for the Olympics. You need to be in good mental and physical shape, so start your day in a healthy way.
6 a.m. Shower, dress and review your daily plan. Remember, the early bird catches the worm.
6:45-7:45 a.m. Drive to the office. Listen to sales training tapes to get in a selling mood. (If you're homebased or live close to your office, begin business development immediately.)
8-10 a.m. Business development time. (Like exercise, you need to get prospecting out of the way early. Long term, you'll be glad you did.) If you have salespeople, this is the time to make sure they're prospecting. Note: Most new business owners can't afford to hire a salesperson right off the bat. That's OK: Doing it yourself gives you the opportunity to perfect the art of prospecting. Then when your budget permits, you'll have the necessary experience and skills to train your growing sales force.
Here are some prospecting options to try:
Stuff mailers and write personal notes.
Write e-mails to leads or prospects from a targeted list.
Make long-distance calls. Some businesses on the West Coast start their prospecting calls at 6 a.m.
Follow up on leads.
If you must handle all your incoming calls, learn to do two things at once, so when you're not speaking directly with a call-in or walk-in customer, you're focused on any of the above options.
10:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Recruiting interviews. If you're building a sales team, schedule appointments in this time slot. No luncheon appointments, particularly on the first interview. Eat lunch alone and don't waste time.
1-4 p.m. Plan A: Visit your territory of prospects. If you're training salespeople, take them out in the territory and show them how to introduce themselves and get a toe in the door.
Plan B: If you've completed your visits for the week, use this time to check your books and make sure you're in close touch with your spending, expenses and balances. As soon as you can sign up for online banking, do it. But never lose track of your books. Business development and keeping an eye on the books are a new entrepreneur's two key priorities.
4-6 p.m. Answer phone calls, read mail and play catch-up for the day. Review your sales plan for tomorrow. Be sure you complete all necessary cycles of activity so you can leave your desk clean and ready for a new day.
Danielle Kennedy is an authority on selling, developing a peak performance attitude and winning customers for life. Call her at (800) 848-8070 or visit www.daniellekennedy.com for information on consulting for your business.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.