Monday, February 22, 2010

The 60-40-20 rule

Do you find it hard to fit in time to focus on the big picture of your business? Elizabeth Lengyel, our guest speaker shared some practical tips on how to do just that – the 60-40-20 rule.

How does it work? For 60 minutes you focus on work that has to be done, with no interruptions – which means no answering the phone, returning calls or checking emails during this time slot. It is during the next 40 minutes, that you tackle those tasks and the last twenty minutes is reserved for having a cup of tea, making your lunch or taking a stretch.

We tried this in our office and it was amazing what we accomplished in our first 60 minutes. We joked that we needed some system to let everyone else know which stage in the 60-40-20 rule we were at, so they didn’t interrupt us.

Whether it is the 60-40-20 rule or setting aside time each week to focus on your business rather than in the business, it makes sense. We can all get too caught up in the minutea of running a business. Give it a try – you might be pleasantly surprised at what you get done!

Got to go … it’s time for my 20 minute slot!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I am Anne. I am Canadian.

Have you got caught up in the Olympic fever? I’ve never really been much of a winter sports follower, but having the Olympics here in Canada makes a big difference. I have to confess when I watched the official opening, I found myself tearing up. I am a Canadian by choice, as I am originally from the UK, but on Friday I felt I was all Canadian., and proud to be so.

It was moving to see all the young athletes who are striving to do their best and hopefully bring home the gold, silver or bronze medals. As the camera turns to the parents of some of the athletes you can feel their sense of pride too. As a family, no doubt they have made many sacrifices to get their young athlete to this level of competition. What joy it must be to see them succeed.

Talent isn’t enough to win at sports, there’s an element of luck and the mental attitude and focus to enable you to visualize yourself winning. In April we will be having a panel of athletes to talk about that winning attitude which you need in sports and in running a business.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I work out twice a week. I know, it really should be three times a week, but to be honest, and excuse the pun, it is a bit of stretch for me as it is. You see while I know all the benefits and love how I feel afterwards, to me exercising is a bit of a necessary evil.

It’s a bit like doing your financials. You avoid sitting down and pulling all the numbers together, yet you know that in order to get a handle on how your business is doing, it has to be done, and done regularly.

Research has shown that those of our gender tend to avoid the number-crunching and that our lack of financial literacy can hold us back. When you haven’t got an accurate picture of where you are at financially, it is hard to make sound business decisions.

When I started my business I did a budget, which as someone who has run several charities, was well within my comfort zone. What I didn’t realize then was that I really needed to develop a cash flow statement, so I could track and predict when money was coming in, and just as important, going out.

We have just started our Me Inc program for would-be entrepreneurs and one of the topics we will be covering is cash flow. So often when we start up we overestimate how much money will come in and when (it always takes longer than we think) and underestimate how much our expenses will be. All of which leads to serious cash flow issues, a constant source of concern for the business owner.

So yes, both are necessary evils, but we need to do both in order to survive – physically and professionally.