spoken to more than a few full-time and wannabe
entrepreneurs lately who say that their stress levels have
never been higher. And at times, I can definitely lump myself in
with that group!
Sometimes that's just part of working and being in business.
But there are times when you need an outlet to relieve the
tension. One of my clients recently posted a video about how
she takes breaks during the day to play with her dog. Me? My
favorite thing to do is go for a run, especially at the
When I was in high school, I was a competitive sprinter and
jumper. I hated having to run more than a couple of laps
around the track because, in my mind, I was strictly a short distance
girl. When I questioned my coach about why I needed to run 3
miles if my best distance was only 200 meters, she replied,
"Trust me. It's important."
And she was right. Logging in those
longer distances was not nearly as fun or glamorous as the
sprints, but they laid the foundation for the explosive
power and speed I needed to finish strong.
As age caught up with me, I reluctantly transitioned to
being a long distance runner. (That's me in the middle of
that photo, finishing my one and only marathon in Honolulu a
few years ago.) Now those longer distances are what I love
Sprints and marathons are also part of running a business.
Sometimes you have to push through short, intense periods,
especially when trouble-shooting or putting out fires. Other
times, you need to slow down the pace and keep it smooth and
steady. In my opinion, it's the marathons in business that
truly set you up for success. Keep reading to see how this
applies specifically to you.
All the best,
"What's Important IS Also the
There are a few books that nearly every entrepreneur has (or
should have) on their bookshelf. These include,
E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber,
Great by Jim Collins and, of course,
Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
(Do you have a business book that you absolutely swear
by? I'd love to know what it is.)
In Covey's book, he introduces the concept of
vs. important ones and lays them out into four quadrants.
This includes activities that are...
I. Both Urgent and Important
II. Important But Not Urgent
III. Urgent But Not Important
IV. Neither Urgent Nor Important
Check out the diagram above to see an example of what
typically falls into each quadrant.
In Quadrant II (Important, But Not Urgent), preparation and
planning lies at the top of the list along with relationship
building and values clarification.
The problem is, while you know you need to do what I call
"marathon" activities like long range, strategic planning,
come up with an organizational chart and job descriptions
for your team, write a batch of articles, blog posts, and
press releases, or follow up with and survey your currently
happy clients and customers, most business owners put these
actions at the very bottom of their list.
And guess what? That means, they never get done.
Sound familiar? I had private sessions with almost 40
entrepreneurs last month and discovered that nearly every
single one of them knew what was "important" but couldn't
find the time to do it.
What do they do instead? They focus their time and attention
on what I call "sprint" activities. These are often fueled
by adrenaline, like struggling to meet deadlines or trouble
shooting sudden emergencies. (Both, ironically, often caused
by poor planning.) Or their sprint tasks are short distance,
instant gratification jobs like sending emails, tweeting,
filing papers...anything that has a definite finish line.
Yes, life gets in the way. And yes, unexpected situations
and opportunities arise that you feel you must take
priority. But if writing your business plan, creating your
marketing calendar, or investing time in building
relationships doesn't happen, your business is never going
to move forward. You're going to look around 3 years from
now and discover you are in exactly the same spot with the
same challenges, cash flow, and excuses.
Why not cut it out now and save yourself some time? Let's
commit to taking care of those most important tasks as soon
Here are 3 tips to help you take care of those "long
distance" activities sooner rather than later:
Schedule an out of
office retreat: Seriously, if you stay in your
office or standard work environment, you will get sucked
back into those "urgent but not important" tasks like
phone calls, emails, and various distractions. Remove
yourself from where you sit everyday and you just might
get some much needed perspective. Make sure you block
out at least a half day on your calendar (a full day or
even two is better)...and write it down in ink, not
pencil. (Does anyone still use hard copy calendars like
Work in front of an
audience: Just like when I was on the track
team and had both teammates and a coach to supervise,
challenge, and observe my performance, having someone
there to simply witness what you are doing might be all
you need to finally get things done. I also highly
recommend hiring your own coach to keep you on track,
focused, and accountable. Or join a mastermind group
and/or get a fellow entrepreneur to be your buddy.
Put it in writing and
keep it in front of your face everyday: Many
entrepreneurs are highly creative visionaries who often
"can't be bothered with the details." If you are someone
who generally keeps all the details of your business in
your head (which makes it virtually impossible to
delegate any part of your business to someone else, by
the way), you REALLY need to pin yourself down and put
your plan on paper. Again, you might want to hire
someone to help you with this as creating systems and
detailed plans is probably not one of your strengths.
And when you are finished, you must keep it some place
visible to ensure you will actually follow your plan on
a daily basis.
I am not a big fan of
reinventing the wheel. Much of the important planning and
systems creation you need to do can be "borrowed" from other
successful business owners. If you typically experience
"writer's block" when confronted with a blank computer
screen, look for examples of what others have already
The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur
by Jim Horan is a great resource.
Also, see my recommendation
below for another tool that includes examples and templates
for your very own essential marketing plan...
"How to Develop Your Personal
Marketing Action Plan"
in line with today's theme of doing what's "important" and
laying the foundation that will fuel your business with a
sustainable and steady flow of new clients, customers, and
cash I am pleased to recommend a resource designed to walk
you through a critical key...marketing.
Adam Urbanski, known as
The Marketing Mentor, is someone whom I highly respect
for his ability to create solid, easy to understand plans
that eliminate all of the guess work and leave nothing to
Because I know that you probably don't have the time to sit
and create a marketing plan from scratch (and believe me,
that's not the most effective use of your time anyway), I
recommend you take a look at
Adam's Personal Action
His program gives you not only a sample of his very own
Action Plan so you have a place to start, but also a
fill-in-the-blanks marketing blueprint and a 2-hour training
via audio and transcript on how to personalize it for your
Marketing "sprinters" are never going to get the best
results. And the only way to become a successful Marketing
"marathoner" is to have a plan. Why not borrow one from
someone who has already succeeded in multiple businesses and
has advised 7-figure entrepreneurs?
To read all about it and receive instant access,
ABOUT KIM NISHIDA: I
work with conscious entrepreneurs to who want to help more people & make more
money through building profitable communities and networks. For a
free audio, "7 Steps to Launching a Profitable Community, visit