The Fallacy of the Small Sample Size

Posted by on May 30 2017

When asking your customers for their opinion, do you ask enough people?

I recently asked my customers (all small busines owners) for feedback about what time of day, and day of week, they prefer to take virtual classes. When the first 10 or 20 responses came in, it was clear that everyone wanted classes on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. Wow! Who would have guessed?

I should re-schedule all my virtual classes to the evening time slot — right?

Wrong!

When I re-discovered my patience and waited to get the full response from 300 or 400 people, the results were completely, totally different.

When I waited for a larger sample size of survey results, new and important facts emerged: Wednesday was still popular, but of equal popularity was Tuesday and Thursday. More importantly, because I waited for a larger response group, I discovered the 7:00 PM timeslot slide in popularity, to be replaced strongly by 12:00 – 2:00 timeframe.

Had I made business decisions based on the first 20 responses, I would have created a disaster.

When you have a business idea or decision to make, do you just ask five or ten people? Stop destroying your business by using small sample sizes in your surveys! The more people you ask, the better quality of results you’ll get.

Read more about the fallacy of small sample sizes, also known as “hasty generalizations.

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Just Three Tasks a Day

Posted by on May 23 2017

A colleague of mine in one of my mastermind groups shared a great tip with us a few months ago: instead of writing a huge to-do list every day (and never completing all the tasks), focus on just three tasks a day.

I’ve been trying this technique now for about 2 months, and I’m happy to report it is a winner!

Truthfully, I don’t know “how” it works; I just know that it does. Each day I choose three tasks that I will complete. If I finish them, I can always do a fourth task.

For some reason, having only three tasks a day feels so much more empowering that I’m able to do them easily, without stress and overwhelm. My to-do list is dwindling and I’m moving forward in my business at a faster pace.

Try it and see if it works for you, too!

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Increase Your Productivity: Institute Quiet Time

Posted by on May 08 2017

Are you getting everything done on your To Do list?

No?

Join the crowd.

More and more self-employed entrepreneurs are complaining that email, phone calls, social media, and their beeping-buzzing smart phones are constantly causing interruptions, increasing stress and reducing productivity.

These constant interruptions are costing you productivity — and ultimately income.

In my blog post Choose One Project, I talk about the myth of multitasking. Talking on the phone and answering emails at the same time decreases your overall productivity. So does popping into social media sites while you’re trying to focus on an important project or task. It causes twice the number of errors when you multitask or allow interruptions to your task.

By allowing all these interruptions, you are losing TWO hours a day of productive time. Ouch!

The Solution

Many large corporations like Intel, IBM, and Deloitte & Touche are instituting something called Quiet Time: a block of time in which you cannot send or read emails, and may not make or receive phone calls (unless they are related to the specific project you’re working on).

Small business owners can do this, too!

I started to do this last year:

  • Core Productivity times are 9AM – 2:30 PM. All private client calls, group mentoring calls, classes, and project work are done during these hours.
  • Every Friday was “class design and book writing day.” No client or prospect appointments, no emails from 9:00 – 2:30, no phone calls at all.
  • Emails are handled twice a day – at 8:00 and 2:30.
  • Each day, return phone calls are handled after 2:30 PM (which is great because of the time zone differences between East and West coast).
  • When I really, really needed to work on a project in a deeply focused way, I’d bring my laptop to the lake, park or library, taking my work to a quiet environment without possible distractions. (I particularly like the lake because there’s no Wi-Fi there! :))

The Results of My Quiet Time Test

In a 12-month period, I designed and launched three new classes (including a 9-week class which was a whopper to design), wrote one new ebook, designed two new websites, and overall had a much happier and more satisfied lifestyle and work environment. Awesome!

Lest you think that you will be less productive in getting through your emails and phone calls if you institute Quiet Time in your business, think again. Having fixed times each day for email and phone calls increases your productivity, actually reducing the amount of time you spend on emails and phone calls. (I found I could get through 30-40 emails in a solid, planned hour, which would have taken me two hours if I had answered them in a scattered fashion throughout the day.)

If you are frustrated because you’re not accomplishing your projects and tasks, you need to schedule Quiet Time into each day. You will be happier and feel more fulfilled by your work if you do.

How About You?

Do you regularly block out time to get projects done? What are you doing to increase your productivity without getting burned out? I’d love to hear your stories and ideas!

   

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Category: Managing Projects, Tasks & Time, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Bombarded With Reciprocal Link Requests

Posted by on May 05 2017

Have you noticed lately that you are getting a lot of requests for link exchanges? At first you think, “Hey, great, someone noticed my website!”

But look a little closer and you’ll find that these are link exchange companies that are hired to find reciprocal links for their site. Most of these are sites you’ve never heard of.

A link exchange may seem like a great way to get more traffic to your site. However, one of the key purposes of your website is to build TRUST with your visitors. If you send them to a service or product that you have never tested, you are diminishing the quality of your expertise.

When you put a link on your website, you are in effect saying, “I recommend this person and I trust their work.”

Don’t let your desire for traffic ruin your reputation.

   

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Website Planning

The 60-Second Newsletter Concept

Posted by on Apr 23 2017

Do you spend too much time writing your newsletter each month?

Do your readers actually read it…or is it too long?

These days your customers are time-constrained. There’s always too much to do, too many appointments, too many tasks. Finding time to read your newsletter may be asking too much.

Enter the “60-Second Newsletter” concept.

Imagine that you could promise that your readers can get through your newsletter in 60 seconds or less. How exciting is that? Then they’d read every issue you send out.

Often business owners don’t publish a newsletter because they feel it’s too time-consuming to write full articles, especially if writing is not your passion. But if you committed yourself to writing a micro-newsletter, it’s not too daunting and you can easily find the time and motivation to get it done on a regular basis.

You can do this via your mailing list, or via your blog. Remember, the point of doing a newsletter is to have regular communication with the people who have expressed interest in your products and services. The key word here is “regular” communication, so whichever timeframe you want to send a newsletter (weekly, monthly, quarterly), keep to your schedule. The 60-second newsletter should help you keep on track with regular communications to your customers.

How To Do It

When writing your newsletter, ask yourself, “How can I make this something readable in 60 seconds or less?” Here are some ideas:

  • Use bullet points for easy reading
  • Create a quick-list of resources
  • Give them one simple tip or action item
  • Use audio (podcast) instead of a written newsletter
  • Teach them how to do one task more efficiently
  • Write up an important item from the news
  • Give them a piece of advice about handling a specific situation
  • Write a “Top 10” list on an interesting topic
  • Include a motivational quotation
  • Give a link to a longer article
  • Suggest a blog you love

Keep a list of ideas for your newsletter. You may be driving to the dentist or taking a shower — and POW, a newsletter idea pops into your head. Write them all down. This list will help shorten the time to create your newsletter, another added bonus!

   

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing

How to Get 300 Hours of Education a Year

Posted by on Apr 10 2017

I made an amazing discovery last month. Like you, I’m a busy business owner. Yet I need to continually learn new marketing techniques, new business ideas, etc. in order to maintain my expertise in my field.

Where was I going to find time to do all that reading, listening, and studying???

As with most successful projects, lifelong learning is about two things: structure and discipline.

If you took six hours a week to learn something new (read a book, listen to an audio program, take a watch a video tutorial, take a class), you’d have completed 312 hours of learning new material a year. That’s equivalent to over SIX college-level courses.

To be be known as an expert, you must be willing to invest six hours a week to “sharpening the saw” of your knowledge.

The way I do it is this: I’m taking off every Friday for the next year, to read, take classes, learn. From 9:00 – 3:00, I’ll read a book to read, listen to an audio program on MP3, watch video lessons, read websites, or take classes.

A colleague of mine uses her treadmill time to listen to audios. Another colleague signs up for one class a month, each and every month of the year. One of my clients takes a weekly trip to the library (“The only place I can find some quiet!” he says) and reads a book for a few hours.

You can do this, too. Maybe you take one hour a day as your Learning Time. Maybe you schedule one day per week. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you schedule the time into your calendar and religiously adhere to your learning schedule.

When you think “300 hours” it’s overwhelming.

When you think “1 hour a day” it’s empowering!

   

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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