Episode 7 features our host, Jane Tweedy Founder of FAQ Business Training solo. When you finish a project or come out of an enforced change (like a Covid lockdown), it’s a great time to complete a post implementation review (PIR). Likewise, for businesses completing regular business reviews lets us see what is working and what is not. In today’s episode we look at completing a simple business review and for additional information a time log.
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Disclaimer – All information provided today is general in nature. Please reach out to Jane for personalised advice.
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FAQ Business Podcast Ep7 Completing a simple business review and time log transcription
00:02 Post implementation review of a project and regular business reviews
When you’ve completed a project it’s a great idea to do a post implementation project review to work out what you did well and what should be changed for next time to avoid mistakes, however, on your business, you should also be doing regular reviews quarterly, semi-annually or annually, depending on the size and structure of your business and what you’re up to. I do recommend that you always complete a business review before making major changes in your business.
00:32 A great time to review your business
So before hiring, before outsourcing, before making major goal and strategy reviews this is a great time to review your business. In today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast, we’re going to cover a simple review process, a time log which can lead to process change and handling repetitive tasks more efficiently before looking to outsource.
01:02 Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast
Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast for growing small to medium business owners who want to make a positive difference. The FAQ Business Podcast covers four key pillars actionable, education, inspiring leaders, businesses like you for relatability and thought leadership where we really challenge your thinking. It’s hosted by myself Jane Tweedy, founder and lead trainer of FAQ Business Training, where we want to avoid you getting ripped off or ripping yourself off because of what you don’t know you don’t know. We’ll feature an amazing diversity of guests with lots to offer to educate and inspire you.
01:49 Simple business review
Today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast is brought to you by myself Jane Tweedy, founder of FAQ Business Training and the FAQ Business Podcast. I have been involved in project reviews and business strategic reviews for volunteer organisations, corporate departments, and for small business. Today we’re going to cover how to complete a really simple business review. A more complex review will be available through our online school, including a business diagnostic.
02:22 Stop, change, start and continue – learn from our mistakes and successes
Simple project or business reviews allow us to identify issues so that we can stop or change things or start or continue things and take advantage of learning from our mistakes. Episode 3 of the FAQ Business Podcast, we showed you ten of our mistakes, so if you’d like to check those out, please check out that podcast. Completing a project or a business evaluation. It’s really important to be quite critical here, not negatively critical, however, we want to look at it realistically and we want to get a good idea of what worked well and what did not so that we can learn from our mistakes and make changes into the future.
We’re always working on that progression, not perfection.
03:08 When to undertake a review
Always looking to make improvement into the future. The size of your business will affect the frequency that you need to do reviews. After every major project and even when it’s not actually a project but it was more an enforced situation like a Covid lockdown it’s a great time to do a post implementation review.
What worked well? What things did you learn during that period of time? What things can you apply into the future and carry forward and continue what things do you need to stop? And what things would you change if you had to do it again. Before updating your goals and your strategy I strongly recommend doing an exercise to do a project or a business evaluation.
03:52 What worked well and we can continue?
Firstly, what worked well? What should you continue doing? There’s always something in a project or a business that is working really well. And look, for instance, at the Covid lockdown there may be things that you now do well that you didn’t even know that you did well, for instance, you may have started offering online classes, so maybe you were offering online Pilates classes. Rather than just stopping them for the future could you continue offering those as an alternative for people that don’t want to come in person? Or could you even expand those services further into a new market?
04:30 Could you expand your current target market?
Like, for instance, rural Australia, going into that rural area or into an offshore destination, it gives you so many more choices. So think about how you could use that to your advantage. Really think about what you want to continue doing into the future rather than just cutting something off.
04:49 What worked badly – learn from our mistakes
What worked badly? We always can learn from our mistakes. Isn’t the sign of insanity repeating the same mistakes over again. So we really don’t want to repeat mistakes.
05:00 Stop if it’s the wrong tactic
So we’re going to look for two things here with things that worked badly. What things do we need to stop because they were the wrong tactic. They were just so bad, we really have to stop them.
05:13 Change due to poor execution
And alternatively, what things do we need to change the execution of. Things that we need to make change to rather than stop completely. So you’ve got two things here. Stop or change.
05:26 What is a tactic?
What do I mean by tactic and execution? A tactic is typically when we do the wrong thing. So, for instance, flyers for most people are the wrong thing to do. If you do flyers, you’re likely to get very little response because think about what you do when you receive your flyers. Do you just chuck them in the bin? Or chuck them in the recycling bin? Most of us do that. We don’t even really look at them.
05:50 Flyer example
We might have a quick flip through or we don’t look at them at all. So think about how that plays out. If your audience is going to be a person that’s just going to chuck them out, and in fact, it might even antagonise them or make them angry because they feel that you are wasting the environment and wasting resources, that’s not a good idea. So what can you stop doing? For some businesses flyers do work.
For instance, think about do you have menus from cafes sitting in your kitchen cupboards? I know some of us do. We have the pizza menu or whatever so we can pick a pizza. So some businesses flyers still work. I’m not saying they don’t work totally, but make sure you know your audience and whether a flyer is actually a good tactic for you.
06:35 Usually it’s the execution that’s the issue
Most of the time, however, the tactic is not the issue. It’s the execution. For instance, people say to me all the time, Facebook Ads don’t work. Facebook Ads do work pretty well. However, you need to execute them well. You need to execute the ad side well as well as where they’re going to, the landing side. Where are they landing on, and therefore, does the ad actually convert? So there’s two parts to the process.
07:03 Identify opportunities to change
But it’s all to do with changing that execution. So with something that didn’t work, identify any opportunities to make change and improvement or what we need to stop going forward.
07:16 New opportunities – how can we start them?
The last part of the business review is the business opportunities that have been created. What things can we start doing in business that are going to take advantage of these opportunities? Like I said, it could be taking advantage of the fact that we can now go online a lot more.
07:34 Could be new locations, new product or service
So it might be taking advantage of new localities, or it might be something completely new. It might be now offering digital downloads. It might be starting up an e-commerce shop. Think about what will work for your business.
07:48 Check out our Tea Time Tip on Creating alternative income streams
We had a Tea Time Tip on creating alternative income streams, maybe have a look at that and see if you’ve got any ideas from that.
07:56 Simple business review – continue, stop, change or start doing
But here we are looking at things you can start doing. So as I said, this is a very simple business review. All we’ve looked at is four key areas. What can we continue doing? What can we stop doing? What can we change? And what can we start doing? So it’s a very simple review.
08:18 An additional task – a time log
An additional step for a business review, especially when you have issues around productivity or you are feeling really stretched and you’re at capacity and you’re considering hiring or outsourcing. An additional step is to complete a time log. I strongly suggest completing a time log for a two week period and a normal two week period at that.
08:40 Information is king
Don’t do a time log for a period near school holidays or a lockdown or something, which is abnormal because you just won’t generate the right information. So like anything, information is king. Information helps us make decisions, and that is why we do it.
08:56 Tea Time Tips are our live trainings
I’m going to cover time log in a future Tea Time Tip. So I’m going to go into it in a bit more detail there. So if you are a bit stuck on this process, keep an eye out for those. They are our live trainings we do a couple of times a month on Facebook and on LinkedIn, so definitely look out for those.
09:14 Record every 15 minute block in your time log
Basically, what a time log is. We’re going to record every 15 minutes so, you know, lawyers and accountants and that they tend to charge out like that. But we’re just going to keep it simple.
09:24 Keep it simple – topics and key projects
Again, we just don’t want to overly complicate it here. So all you’re going to do is create a sheet, just say in Excel or something like that, but you can just create it on a piece of paper in front of you to start with. And basically, every 15 minutes, just make a check against what area you worked on. So was it administration? Was it Facebook marketing? Was it onboarding new clients? Was it dealing with client a to b? Whatever.
09:49 Allocate your times accurately
Allocate out your times. The great thing about this is you’re going to really understand how much time you genuinely take to do something because often we overestimate our capabilities. We think we can do something so much quicker than we can.
10:04 Simple emails can be streamlined
And you might find things like simple emails. For instance, you might have thought sending a new client an email took you two minutes. Maybe it takes you 10 minutes. Maybe it takes you 15 minutes. So if we know that, then we can work on repetitive tasks like that and go, how can we streamline this?
10:22 Automation and repetitive tasks
How can we automate it to make it a much more efficient system? Time logs are brilliant because it helps us to work out is our pricing correct? We can work out how to handle repetitive tasks more effectively. And before we outsource or hire, we need to know what type of activities we need to hire or outsource.
10:41 Clean up processes before outsourcing
But we also need to work on our processes because there’s no point outsourcing a rubbishy process. All you’re going to do is spend money on something that shouldn’t have been done in the first place. Plus, remember, for many small businesses, we need to look at small business automation. Often when we start out, we start out on a shoestring budget.
11:01 Replace workarounds with systems to save time
So we kind of go, that’s going to be $30 a month. I don’t want to pay for it. What we need to do now is go, OK, we’re a bigger business now. Maybe that $30 a month is well worth it. So over time we start paying for things that we didn’t pay for initially. An example, as I mentioned, was emails.
11:23 Use tools you already have
I had emails that I was sending out, and I was thinking takes about a minute to do right? I timed it. It took 10 minutes to send these emails out, and I was sending out about 10 of these a week. So what I did was I created a signature. I was using Outlook, so signature worked well, and I could just create drop down signatures for lots of different things.
New meeting, meeting notes, new sign up. So I had different ones for different things. In Google, you can do things like canned responses. So just see what you have in your system so they can be canned responses, templates or signatures. Just see what works best for you. But it’s great to do that.
12:06 Easier to remove than to add
And what I tend to work on the basis of add more in there that you don’t necessarily need every time, and then just remove the piece out that you don’t need for that particular client so much easier just to delete a block than to add additional blocks. And it just takes so much more time to do that.
12:21 Look for workarounds to replace
We can look for workarounds where we were doing a workaround. So maybe you didn’t take on an accounting system to start. Maybe you’re using Excel.
12:30 Weigh up your time versus the money cost
OK, well, maybe that worked at the start, but maybe you’ve got more transactions now and an accounting system would be a much more effective use of your time. So this has got to start weighing up and go, OK, that accounting system is going to cost me $50 a month. That’s an hour of my time or whatever. Is that 8 hours of my time? You’ve just got to equate that and go, OK, I’m better off spending the money on the system than spending 8 hours mucking around. I’m losing money on that situation.
12:59 Additional benefits of a time log
So it helps us to look for things like process change. An example of time logging that actually had a beneficial impact in regards to the amount the person was actually making was a guy, he did the time log exercise to work out whether he needed to hire an IT person, a technician or an administration person. He was an IT support professional.
And what he did was after even the first day he realised, oh my gosh, I have done 6x 10 minutes jobs for a client. 6x 10 minutes jobs he should be charging because that’s an hour’s worth of time. And if we’re doing an hour of work in a day for a client, we should be charging them. But because they were 10 minute jobs, he was sort of thinking oh 10 minutes I won’t bother about it. But he realised those 10 minutes added up.
13:46 Realised he could charge more per day
So in his case, he could actually charge more automatically because he had the work to prove that he’d done it. Think about that sort of thing. We’re also going to look at things like, are we calculating our pricing correctly? Because things do take longer than we think, making sure that we’ve included our marketing and admin time in our pricing. All those sort of things come into it as well.
14:06 Where did you spend your time over the 2 week time log?
And we will certainly be doing a lot of pricing courses on our online school. Process change can come from this time log exercise. What you’re going to do after the end of the two week period, you’re going to add up all your little ticks and say, how much did I do in each area that will allow you if you want to. If you do it in Excel, it will allow you to create pretty little graphs and things so you can actually graphically represent and say, right, I spend 25% of my time talking to clients. I spend 25% of my time doing administration tasks, whatever.
14:39 Pricing, outsourcing and process improvements
So it lets you identify that and you can visualise it if you wish to. What we do from that is we then work out like I said, are we pricing correctly? We can also work out what tasks that we need help with, what could be hire or outsource and what tasks could we make changes to, to make process improvements to.
14:57 Process improvements for production lines too
Now process improvements are not just for things like services. What about production lines? What about cafes?
Think about the way the sequence in which you do your production. If people have to keep crossing different areas and go back and forward to get to the different things they need to make the product, it’s going to not work effectively. You are going to be adding a lot of extra time to the process.
15:26 Layout for flow, less accidents and higher productivity
So really think about the process sequence and making sure that your layout of your warehouse, the layout of your cafe is laid out so that you have a really good flow because a good flow will cause less accidents. People won’t be tripping over each other and it will cause a lot more efficiency. So it actually improves productivity. So things like that are really important to look at. If you have improved your processes.
15:52 Outsource or hire tasks that are left
If you have identified those repetitive tasks and you have looked at your small business automation, then you can look at outsourcing or hiring can actually be the one that does the process change and improvement. So do think about who you’re going to bring in because they may be able to do some of that for you, but you will need to get a lot of the stuff out of your head to be able to outsource it.
And we will cover this in a future episode of the podcast because it is a major issue. It isn’t as easy as it first looks to outsource something.
16:25 No special productivity hack today
So given our whole episode today has been about productivity hacks, we won’t have a specialist productivity hack today.
16:33 Simple business process review
I hope today has just highlighted to you that a simple business process review is something that can be quite useful for us. So the simple review is just those four components:
What are we going to start doing? What are we going to stop doing? What are we going to change? And what are we going to continue? In addition to that, we can do a time log to work out where and how we’re spending our time and making it much more efficient. That could be looking at things like process change and business automation.
17:07 Thank you and please subscribe
Thank you for listening in to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast. We look forward to seeing you again in the future. Remember to subscribe on your favourite app and get the next episode of the FAQ Business Podcast. Catch you later.
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Today’s podcast episode featured our host Jane Tweedy. Her details are as follows:
Jane is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coaching Federation (PCC with ICF), business advisor and trainer. She loves working with growing small to medium business owners who are doing the right thing, to help them do it right! Currently, Jane offers at least 50 live sessions a year to train small business owners.
Jane offers a variety of services to clients and her online school and membership site will be available before the end of 2021. Jane’s focus for 2022 is building the membership and offering implementable small group training – something she finds is often the missing link.
If you are interested in training, speaking, or anything else Jane has to offer, please connect via email@example.com or via the contact forms on our websites.
faqbusinesstraining.com.au – our main site with a great blog
faqbusinesstraining.com – our new online school
faqbusinesspodcast.com.au – our podcast site
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