Monthly Planning: Take Charge of Your Month and Get Stuff Done in Your Leather Business
Is this you?
You’re looking at your long-ass leather business to-do list and thinking about how you haven’t accomplished anything yet and the month is already half over! You start to get this panicked feeling and then you start going through your to do list looking for the easiest tasks (which also tend to be the least impactful tasks, just saying..) that you can complete just so you can make yourself feel productive and like you’ve accomplished something this month.
This feeling of spinning your wheels and being unproductive is one of the worst feelings that you can have as a small business owner and entrepreneur. As much as we try our hardest to avoid letting an unproductive month to roll on by, it happens. Which totally sucks, because look i’ve got limited time in my day, in my weeks and in my months and i’m sure you do too!
So what we need is a plan to get your small leathergoods business tasks prioritized so that you’re working on the most important and impactful tasks (the ones that are going to actually move the needle) done first.
Time is no excuse right? There are plenty of moms that work full-time, take care of kids and with only 5hrs a week to dedicate to their leather business. There are plenty of men who are working full-time jobs, have limited incomes but they’re creating business that are pulling them up out of that low income bracket.
So how do they do it?
They know what they want to achieve in their leather business and they focus on the big things that are going to move their business forward and get them closer to achieving their big goals and dream business.
They make smart decisions in their business based on what they want to accomplish and how they’re going to do it and they take charge of that 5 hrs per week or how ever much time they have to spend on it. You to can take charge of your month just like that and get stuff done this month too.
Here’s how i’m taking charge of my month and planning out my business tasks
Step 1 - Review Your Overall Big Goal For the Year
Always start here with your overall goal for the year. In Lucrative Leathercraft we talk about this starting point often and call this our Big Goal. Usually our big goal is a financial goal. Because you need to sales to be able to grow your leather business and achieve the other goals that you want to achieve.
Before you start doing anything in your leather business you have to know what you’re trying to accomplish, right? Otherwise you can get caught up in doing a lot of busy work or tasks that might not be getting you any closer to your goals. They might be valid business tasks, but are they really getting you closer to bringing in more sales or achieving that big goal?
With every task that you set out to do in your business, no matter how small, get into the habit of asking yourself:
“Is this task going to getting me closer to achieving my goal?”
If the answer is “yes”, then move forward with the task. If the answer is “no”, then go back to your Big Goal, and rethink your task.
So lets say my Big Goal for the year is to make $100k. Thats a big number, but break it down by month, and it’s only a little over $8k. This is way more manageable now right.
So this is my Big Goal and I know what it is that i’m trying to accomplish.
So what is your Big Goal?
Step 2 - Create a To-Do List
Take 15 mins and do a brain dump of all of the things that you need to accomplish to get you closer to achieving your goal.
If you don’t know what a brain dump is, it’s when you just start writing down the first things that come to mind without prioritizing or thinking twice. What are the things that you need to do to accomplish your goal?
Using my earlier example, of wanting to make $100k this year, I might write things like:
Focus on email list building, grow my instagram following to x number, do a giveaway, get new business cards, rehaul and redesign my website, write blog articles, make new leather backpack, do a survey of my audience, email my subscribers, organize my office files, desk and workshop, create a lead magnet, etc.
Whats on your to-do list?
Step 3 - Prioritize Your To-Do List
The next step is to prioritize these tasks. So I know that focusing on list building is one of the big things that I need to do in order to achieve my goal of making $100k, right? I need eyes on my website and without an email list I have no way of promoting my website to potential customers.
Getting new business cards on the other hand, this doesn’t really get me closer to my $100k. Yes it’s important for networking at inperson events, but it’s not going to make a huge impact on me reaching my $100k goal and bringing in more sales, so this goes to the bottom of the list.
Put all of your to-do list tasks in order of priority and if you can, put an actual deadline on the task.
For example, I blog 2-3 times per month, so I know that I need to have a blog post published on a certain day, every other week. So I can aside deadlines to these tasks.
But other tasks like, reworking a lesson in Lucrative Leathercraft, this doesn’t have a specific deadline.
Prioritize your list of tasks from high impact to low impact.
Step 4 - Create a Business Task Timeline
Now take all of the tasks that do have a specific deadline and put them on a calendar, in a google spreadsheet, in Asana or however you like to track your tasks.
Next fill in all of the empty spots in your calendar where you still have time with the other high priority tasks that don’t have deadlines associated with them. Schedule the highest priority tasks to be done first.
I try not to put more then 3 tasks on my To-Do list to achieve per day. Now some of you might be thinking, only 3 tasks I need to do more than that! But the fact is, when you try and multitask and do a lot at once, a lot of time you don’t do a great job. You end up putting out mediocre work.
So instead, focus on doing these 3 high priority tasks really well. And hey, if you still have time after they’re done, then complete what you have on tap for the following day and get ahead of schedule!
Plan out your calendar for the entire month so you know exactly what you have to accomplish this month.
Moving your leather business forward and getting closer to achieving your end goal requires planning and action.
Each of your tasks on your to do list for the month should directly correlate with getting you closer to achieving your Big Goal. The trick is to not over complicate things by adding tasks that aren’t getting you closer to your Big Goal; Like creating more products that can create more work for you. Instead focus on the products that you have and promoting them to your customer and increasing these sales. This is how you get stuff done in your business even if you DON’T have a team and only have 5 hrs per week to work on it.