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Business is fun

Whose diary is it anyway?

For many of us in business, other people can often take over your life. Whether that's your diary or what you'll do each day by constantly looking for help with their projects. It happens ever so imperceptibly and always in "your" best interests of course. We'll deal with the second one of those another day.

So the diary problem...

So what can you do about it?

The obvious thing is to take control of your diary yourself - you already have? ...and its still happening?

The main problem is that as everyone is clamouring for your time which is special and expensive, and if you allow every meeting to go into your diary to meet your customer's urgency schedule, you'll end up getting none of the important things done for YOUR business. Like reviewing how your financial position is, or planning a new marketing campaign, or developing a new product or just thinking.

All of these activities need space in your diary so here's my simple solution to YOUR diary problem:

Start with a clean week in the diary.

Decide what you want to/ need to do first of all - all those things I just mentioned and there are likely to be more!

Put those in your diary first and block off the time.

Allocate space and time for other important things like staff appraisals; team meetings and dealing with the post and emails.

Of the time that is left, make some space for client appointments - I'd suggest some time on each day of the week, mornings/ afternoons and lunchtimes to give your customers a choice.

Leave everything else as "busy". This is now called your default diary - because everything starts from here from now on.

If you're using Outlook, consider using the Categories option to make it easier to see what should be happening when.

Be clear with your PA or administrator that the only times available are the appointment spaces.

Job done.

I don't believe it!

The avuncular Victor Meldrew almost never believes anything, if his scripts are anything to go by. Of course, it has become one of those well known catchphrases that has passed into the vocabulary with the same ease which Bankers employ when awarding bonuses.

"I don't believe it!". Is it shock or genuine disbelief? Incredulity is often employed as a mark of surprise when emphasising how delighted we are with something. How often do you say, "it was an absolutely incredible night!" Well maybe you don't say THAT all that often but I'm sure you understand my meaning. All day now you'll be hearing yourself say, "that blog was incredible wasn't it?"


So what kind of things DO you believe? Usually most people believe numbers (especially when presented by their accountant) and curiously, the more precise the numbers, the more accurate they are perceived to be and are given even more weight. For me it makes no sense to be talking to one of our clients whose turnover is in the region of £4m about the importance of their £248.56 spent on paper, and couldn't they try to find a cheaper supplier. Don't get me wrong, we might have a conversation like that but it is more likely to be along the lines of who is responsible in their organisation for office supplies spend and what have they done about the budget for next year. In big situations, numbers still have to be accurate but also very relevant. Individual results taken out of context (ie not relevant) are a bit like a single piece of a jigsaw - they might be pink and look like a flower when you see it in stunning isolation but once you find the right place for it in the multi-directional connectivity of a business' finances you will probably see that instead of a flower it is actually a piece of sea with the setting sun colouring it reddish.

Surprisingly though (accurate or not, relevant or not) lots of businesses and their owners manage to ignore their numbers one way or another. It may be they pay scant attention to them because they know them to be incomplete; it may also be that they are very complete and they know that they show a disastrous or indeed a great position but ignore the numbers because they don't know mentally or strategically how to process the information successfully. Bad news is often the best known and the least actioned.

So why have you been avoiding getting your accounts done until now? Here are some more reasons to consider why you might avoid getting your numbers sorted or might avoid believing them if you already have them - either you'll have had a horrible year and have little tax to pay but want to sweep it under the carpet and forget it happened or you've had a tremendous (incredible) year and just know that the tax bill is going to be a doozy. Leaving it till 6 weeks before the end of the tax year isn't going to make the tax bill any less - it will simply make it harder to find the cash for.

Incredible isn't it?


PS You know who you are, all of you....

PPS Remember that the penalties for late returns this year are stonkingly big so you have been warned.......