What’s your ritual? It could make or break your business

14th October, 2014

Business schedule

The smell of freshly ground coffee beans hits you as soon as you enter. Steam hisses and cups clink as baristas in green aprons froth milk and extract that golden brown crema from a perfect shot of espresso. I find a table, tucked away from the main thoroughfare of the coffee shop and sit down. I feel safe and secure in these familiar surrounds. My weekly ritual has begun.

For the next hour or so, with pen and paper in hand, I do nothing else but drink my favorite coffee and think about ideas and strategies on how to grow and improve my business. This is my Sunday morning ritual, and I feel lost without it.

Daily and weekly rituals, when consistently followed will create focus, enhance your productivity and make your business accelerate past your competitors. We all set goals. Each New Year’s Eve we promise that we will lose weight, get fit or stop our bad habits. But after only a few weeks into the New Year, we stop going to the gym, slide back into bad eating habits, and before we know it, our resolutions have gone out the door.

It’s the same in business. We all want to grow our businesses, get more sales, increase profit and have more money in the bank. So we get all excited after a light bulb moment and start implementing all sorts of plans and strategies, jumping from one bright idea to the next. What happens after a while? Nothing. We get pulled back into the daily grind of our business: fighting fire, answering the phones and jumping from one business meltdown to the next.

I recently spoke to a group of business owners, and they asked me what the so-called ‘magic formula’ for growing a business is. I’ve helped hundreds of business owners over the years, and I will tell you that there is no magic formula. What is there, is a process that is ingrained into you and becomes almost a personal habit. Growing a business is a process that is:

  • Disciplined
  • Consistent
  • Regimented
  • Systematic
  • Focused
  • Ritualistic
  • Daily

The problem is, most business owners are none of these. We jump from one bright idea to the next and simply follow the latest marketing trend or business fad. Adopting an ad-hoc approach results in spasmodic business growth that comes in spurts rather than in a smooth, upward trajectory.

What business owners need to do is to have daily and weekly rituals that create — like a shot of espresso — a concentration of effort to generate business ideas to grow. Rituals are activities that, when practiced daily, give you the focus and the comfort of achieving what is critical in your business on an ongoing, continuous basis.

In my Sunday morning ritual, I get up around 8am and I run about 5km. I follow the exact same path along the river when I run. After my run, I go to the same coffee shop, and I sit at the exact same table. I order the exact same breakfast: scrambled egg, tomato, and toast, no butter. I order the same drink: a tall latte, no sugar. I bring with me a large notebook labelled “Business Growth Ideas” and then spend the next hour going through and mapping out critical success factors, business ideas and specific targets for my business.

I find that when I follow this weekly ritual, I’m more focused, calm and at my most creative in my efforts to grow my business. You should try it. Find what weekly ritual best suits your particular lifestyle. You need time away, in a quiet corner, where you can really think and plan out specific growth strategies for your business.

Don’t just say you’ll do it when you get some spare time or when you can fit it in between meetings or business calls. You never will. We all get caught up or are too busy in just running our business. Make the time. Create the ritual. Get into the habit of following a weekly ritual where you spend time focusing on growing your business and not on just running your business. Here is a daily “Before Work” ritual that I follow so that my business day is more focused on what’s critical for growth:

  • 6am: Wake up and make coffee (Archer Farm Kona Blend)
  • 6.10am-6:45am: Sit on my deck and set three critical activities I need to do that day in my business that will grow my sales, profit and cashflow.
  • 6:45am: Shower and go to work.
  • 8:30am-10:30am: No interruptions. Two hours blocked out to call new prospects, call my top customers, and follow through on completing my three critical activities I’ve set for the day.

I do this every day. It is my morning daily ritual before I go to work. I then focus for two hours a day on what I need to get done in my business to grow my business. I take no phone calls, and I turn off my email.

Here are five daily rituals that you can implement right now to accelerate the growth of your business:

  • Every Monday morning, spend 30 minutes calling five new potential customers.
  • Spend 30 minutes every Saturday morning and update all your social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn etc. Keep them fresh and on-brand about promoting the new products and services your business has to offer. You need to be your biggest fan, so shout loud and shout often.
  • Once a week, spend one hour with your key staff members covering strategies to attract and retain customers. Get their ideas, and brainstorm on marketing ideas to attract new customers.
  • Every Friday, block out time in your diary and call ten existing customers. Ask them how you can help them more.
  • Spend one hour a week as quiet time, just by yourself with a journal, at your favourite coffee shop. Jot down as many new creative ideas you can think off to grow your business.

Let’s not forget family and friends. Make it a daily ritual to spend time with those you care about. Most important of all is your personal health. Make it a daily ritual to get out of your office. Go for a walk at lunchtime or at night when you get home or take the dog for a walk.

I guarantee that if you incorporate some daily and weekly rituals into your hectic business life, you will get clarity, be more focused, less stressed, and feel more in control of your business instead of your business controlling you.