Stop Being Good at Doing It Wrong
It’s easy to work yourself into exhaustion. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can fall into the trap of being efficient without being effective. When you’re efficient but not effective, you’re good at doing something wrong.
For example, you can use a template to build your website. The process is efficient because you don’t have to do the coding yourself. But if the site is difficult to navigate or has broken links, site visitors will leave. Then it’s not effective.
If you find yourself working to exhaustion and still not getting everything done, your long hours are not effective. Here’s how you can avoid the efficiency trap and learn to work effectively.
The Efficiency Trap
Just because you do something well – efficiently – doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most productive activity to speed up growth for your business. You feel good because you are able to do the task well.
As an inspection service entrepreneur you hear messages all the time about becoming efficient to make your business run well. It may feel counter-intuitive to think being effective is the answer.
The goal for your business is to sort the tasks that are most important for growth. Just because you can do a task well, doesn’t mean that doing it is the most effective for your business. And, just because you do it well, doesn’t mean that is where to focus your time and energy.
Effectiveness For The Win
To manage your business effectively you need to gather insights about your work and which tasks actually focus on growth. Once you learn the process and put it into action, you’ll continue to improve your effectiveness.
Running an entrepreneurial enterprise is work. Less is more. Start by identifying one or two outcomes you want to achieve. Examine the activities you are doing right now to achieve those results. Make a list.
Now, identify activities from the list that get the best results. You want to focus your attention and activities on actions that get the best results.
Let go of the other activities that crowd your work week. Merge basic tasks into weekly or monthly time slots to get them done. Then spend the bulk of your time focused on the activities that get results.
You’ll improve your effectiveness by setting boundaries with your clients.
Set the Right Boundaries
Once you identify the most productive activities, the ones that bring in money, it’s time to set boundaries around your work schedule. Set boundaries around time, scheduling, personal contact, and replies. You set these limits, so you stay in control of your business to create the most effective use of your time.
Best Way to Contact You
State your contact preferences on your website. For instance, your contact form may have different ways of getting in touch: email, phone, text. You want to make contacting you easy for your clients, but you may have a preference. Maybe you prefer phone messages. You may not answer the phone when you’re grubbing around in a crawl space, but your answering service collects all the messages. Set aside a time each day to answer contact requests to schedule inspections.
You can state your preference on the contact page. Just spell it out.
At ABC Inspections we respond first to email contacts. Or Reach me immediately with a text, if that’s your preference.
Clients, both real estate professionals and property owners, now understand the best way to get a response from you.
Know When You Are Available
Consider setting firm boundaries for when you are available for inspections. Are you available for inspections 7 days a week? Do you work after 6 PM? Do you set aside time to write reports? You may be great at inspections but not on stewarding your time.
Clients understand limits. Your doctor isn’t available 7 days a week. He’s a professional. Get your clients in the habit of seeing you as a professional with limited availability. It doesn’t take long in this business to discover that clients make all sorts of unreasonable demands. They call at 6 AM and 10 PM. You don’t need to answer the phone. They want an inspection tomorrow, but you are booked.
Saying no saves you emotional energy. If a client really needs to have an inspection tomorrow and you’re already booked, be professional, refer them to another inspector. You build goodwill on both sides while maintaining your professionalism.
Set your availability for on-site work, and then stick to it. Post the hours you are available for inspections. If you don’t work on the weekends and a client wants a weekend inspection, you have two choices: 1) say no, and refer or 2) charge a weekend/after hours fee on top of your regular fee.
Who Do You Want at the Inspection?
When a client attends an inspection, it helps to explain any findings and recommendations you have in person.
But, a real estate professional who wants to attend or who calls three times while you are performing the inspection, disrupts your flow. Let the agent know you are working with the client and will send the report. Or, ask them to call back when the inspection is over for a quick review of major findings. You are the professional, you set the limits.
Be Clear, State Your Limits Up Front
Go on record on your website with your business hours, availability, and contact preferences. You’ll reduce burnout, frustration, and overwhelm. You’ll give yourself time to prepare reports, update your website, make business connections, and spend time with family and friends.
Your listing with Inspect.com is an efficient and effective way to reach customers. Your listing includes your phone number and a direct link to your website. We understand the importance of getting the right information to prospective clients.