The typical Athena member is a woman who works hard usually for herself, wants to learn all the time and craves any tips to become more effective. I hope that these five tips remembering what the boss would do will help you and your business grow.


# Tip 1

Have a regular board meeting

When your boss is yourself it is so easy to get stuck in the mud and bullets of everyday life that there is no time to sit back and think. We are very busy doing whatever we do and often chasing our tails to get work out. This is fantastic and often makes us incredibly popular with our customers; I would be the first to praise any business for establishing a first-rate reputation for customer care. However, there is a downside. We may be so focused on today that we give no thought or attention to tomorrow. Our boss can be so understanding that she lets us get away with this and before we know it the business is ceasing to grow.

I recommend that you have a monthly board meeting with yourself. Set aside a couple of hours on a regular basis and best away from your normal workplace to force your mind to think about something different, and just think about what is going on in your business. What are your figures looking like? Turnover is great but where is the profit? Is it coming from certain services or products? If so, are these the services or products which you are giving attention and where you are spending most of your time? What is your next big development plan? Nothing stands still and if we do not change the business is likely to start shrinking. These are just a few of the areas you will want to cover. Think like your own non-executive director – what would she ask?

  Working for yourself

 # Tip 2

Repeat and celebrate success.

The boss knows that however good people are it is good processes that run businesses – good people follow them. She knows that it is always worth documenting your processes to ensure that you always do the same thing in a given situation. In writing processes, we need to analyse success and why something worked as much as we need to look at what we should improve.

Let me give you an example. When I first started my first business I only ever phoned people in office hours. In fact, quite often it was between 10am and 4pm as I did not want to pressurise people at the beginning or end of the day. Then one day I had a blinding flash of the obvious. My standard practice was getting the PA, not the decision-maker. So, I started calling at 8am or 8.30 and behold was getting through to the right person; it became part of my process. It gave me much greater success and saved so much of my time. A simple example.

The boss knows how easy it is to overlook success and concentrate on failure. She knows we all find it easy to beat ourselves up and if we suffer from Imposter Syndrome then we always knew we were no good so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Play the boss and every day catch yourself doing something right. It does not matter if it is a big thing or a smaller thing but notice it, understand it and do it again. Put it into your process. Most of all celebrate!

#Tip 3

Identify areas of “could do better”

Of course, it is important to stand back just as your boss would and think about where you could do better. I do not mean looking for somewhere you have failed and making yourself miserable by dwelling on it to the exclusion of everything else.

Reframe your thoughts and instead do a training audit. Your boss would be thinking about how to improve your performance – which training and experience do you need to become even more effective? Identify these and then do something to make them happen in your life.

Working for yourself remember the boss

#Tip 4

Do a time management audit regularly

When we have a boss managing us day to day one thing she watches is how we use our time. Do we do the right things at the right times and devote more time to the areas that give the biggest rewards? I recommend you take five minutes at the end of each day to ask the question: what did I do to grow my business today?

However, you also need to monitor where the time goes. On a regular basis audit what you do by keeping a time diary. It does not have to be anything fancy or complicated just note down what you do on a half-hourly basis and after a week look back at it. Be honest, if you were managing this woman would you be happy with what you see? If so celebrate! If not take action!

Working for yourself - remember the boss!

#Tip 5

Am I associating with the right people?

We need to associate with potential customers or those who will connect us with them. Your boss knows who they are because she uses your time as a precious resource but do you? It is one of the few resources you never have again so must be used wisely. She will analyse your ideal customer and work out where to find them. It is so important to spend time in the right rooms with the right people and use your opportunities with them wisely.

We need to associate with existing customers. Stunning customer service is about forming relationships with our customers so that not only do they return but become ambassadors for us. The better we get to know them the better we can spot their needs and serve them.

We need to associate with our suppliers. Good relationships here mean that they will dig you out of holes when you find yourself in a tight corner.

And lastly, we need to associate with people who motivate and encourage us. Who inspires us? Do we have people in our lives who do this? People generate energy and fire us up. The boss has this role, but it is hard to do it for yourself so find someone else. It could be a friend, an associate, an ex-colleague, a mentor or maybe a customer or supplier but talk to them every so often to get an injection of their energy.

Of course, these tips are if you are your own boss – reminding you that you need to let the boss through into your everyday life. If you do have a boss let her in too. And importantly if you are someone else’s boss remember what your job is!

Working for yourself - remember the boss!

Elizabeth Toogood

01234 273644 / 07968 822275

Find out more about how I work

Liz is a member of the Athena Bedfordshire Virtual Group – to find out more about our groups check us out here.