I had the pleasure of speaking with Eric Dye, host of Enterprise Podcast Network, about reducing the chaos in your business. Listen as we discuss some of the daily challenges that small business owners or entrepreneurs face, including how small business owners can better structure their day.
Please find the full video transcript below.
Welcome to Enterprise Radio, the signature show of the Enterprise Podcast Network, featuring some of the most prominent business professionals in the world today. And now your host, Eric Dye.
Eric Dye: This is Eric Dye, and once again, welcome to Enterprise Radio, a part of EPN, the Enterprise Podcast Network. Today we’re visiting with Susan Fennema, the chaos eradicating officer or CEO with Beyond The Chaos. They help small business owners simplify their operations and manage their projects so they can focus on growing their business and getting their lives back. Susan, thanks for joining us here today on Enterprise Radio. Today we’re going to talk about reducing the chaos in your business.
Susan Fennema: Hi Eric. Thanks so much for having me. Looking forward to this today.
Eric Dye: Susan, really appreciate your time and looking forward to the conversation. So tell us for starters, what are some of the daily challenges that small business owners or entrepreneurs face? Let’s start there today.
Susan Fennema: Absolutely. Well, so many of us… I’m a small business owner too, so I feel this pain as well, but emergency interruptions is a big one. You have your whole day planned and all of a sudden it gets shot by a whole bunch of emergencies coming up. Other things are, you feel like you’re being pulled in multiple directions all at once because you’re responsible for so many things. It’s hard to know what your priorities are, and so you can’t make a judgment even half the time of what you should be focused on.
You have frustrated clients because your projects aren’t completed on time or on budget. You might have team members that need to know how to do things. What’s my next step? Where do I go from here? All things end up running through you as the small business owner and you lose the reason you started your business, doing what you loved. It’s gone. You instead are all day just reacting to other things that aren’t about that beautiful thing that you loved.
Eric Dye: That’s certainly a great place to lead things off here today, and good input there. It whets the appetite for more information and more aid in these regards that you mentioned now. How does adding a project management function help a business grow?
Susan Fennema: Well, the first thing that it does is it takes the day-to-day off of that owner. The owner then is able to focus on growing or running the business rather than the minutiae. Not that managing a client or managing a project for a client is minutiae, but there is certainly a lot of minutiae in it. People needing a logo. Well, if you’re trying to run a company, you probably shouldn’t be trying to figure out how to get a logo from somebody to do a marketing project.
The other thing that it does, it adds structure to help make everyone’s priorities more clear. So not only you as the business owner. Your priorities are more clear cut, but your team’s are. And so everybody knows what they should be focused on because your projects are scheduled. You’re not just reacting to whoever is screaming the loudest at you. So being able to manage that team and client, the project manager is able to keep everyone happier, even to the point of being able to prevent those interruptions that are distracting you as the owner all day.
Might there still be somebody who needs to know how to do something? Sure, but your project manager is able to put that on the schedule. So they’re able to even cut down on those interruptions.
The main thing a project manager does is that they facilitate projects. So really they’re looking at everything that’s going on and they make sure that they’re completed on time and on budget. And I don’t know if you’ve heard that word complete. That’s a big thing. So many of our projects just run on forever and never get finished. Project managers help you be able to move to that next one.
The other thing that they do that’s really huge is they start to add structure and process to the whole operational process of a project so that they are able and you are able and your team is able to repeat successes. And that is lifesaving.
Eric Dye: For sure on that. Good stuff. Good information. Now, how can a small business even afford to add project management?
Susan Fennema: That’s a big one. So many people think, “Oh, this is just overhead. What am I going to do?” My response is usually, “How can you not add it?” But we’ll give some good ways of how to practically be able to afford it. So there are two types of project management. One is working with a client on a project and your team. So external projects. And if you’re billing hourly to your clients, well, your project manager is just another one of those costs against the project. So you’re passing through their time as well.
I do get some pushback from people saying, “Well, my clients won’t let me add a project manager.” Okay, well, if you’re thinking that way, you run into a problem of the fact that you already are doing project management. If you’re a software developer, your developers are doing it. If you’re creative, your art director’s doing it. They’re not doing it well. And so that’s where you’re actually passing more expense onto the client than letting a project manager do the job well, run the job more efficiently and effectively and get it completed. So that’s the one if you’re looking at external project management.
If you’re looking at internal project management, so we are redoing our website and we want that project managed, or we’re moving offices. That could be a big one. How are we packing up all of this stuff and getting everybody all situated in the next location? Those types of things, you have to look at it from the standpoint of letting the right people do the right jobs at the right time. So it frees up all of the team members to do their job, including you as the owner. And that makes everyone more productive and efficient. And that’s going to improve the bottom line.
I mean, if you doubt that, do a little exercise. Build a spreadsheet, put your hourly rate and everybody else’s hourly rate in it, and compare that hourly rate to the task. And is that task worth that hourly rate? And you’ll start to find out that as a business owner, your hourly rate might be 100, 200, 250 an hour. Your project manager is not. So you need to be spending your time on those higher-dollar items and let that project manager handle those lower-dollar items so that you’re able to see an improved bottom line.
Eric Dye: Certainly some exciting info right there. Stuff to learn, and you’re certainly delivering it in great fashion. Thank you so much. Today we’re speaking with Susan Fennema, the chaos eradicating officer or CEO with Beyond The Chaos, which helps small business owners simplify their operations and manage their projects so they can focus on growing their business and getting their lives back. And she’s joined us here today on Enterprise Radio, a part of EPN, the Enterprise Podcast Network. Now, Susan, what type of results do your clients typically see once you’ve implemented processes, policies and procedures for them?
Susan Fennema: So the biggest one I hear, and I hear this from many of my clients, is peace of mind. They just know that things are running the way that they intended because all of that information that’s in their head has been put down and shared properly with the team. So they know they’ve set clear expectations of how they want things to go. The other thing is freedom. Once you start adding that structure, you’re not the bottleneck.
You don’t have to stop and answer all of these questions. It’s there. Go look it up. We have it right there, written down so you can go follow those instructions instead. And the big thing is when your company starts to run without you, that’s the freedom that you want to then be able to go back and focus on that thing.
So say you’re a software developer and you love developing software. Well, if all you’re doing all day is responding to everything else, you can’t do that. So once these processes get in place, you’re then able to spend that spend some time, probably not all of it, but some time on actually doing that thing you love. And the end result of all of that is now you have a business that is worth something to be sold because it can run without you. And that’s a big thing at the very end of your days when you’re done, having something to sell.
Eric Dye: A very, very solid point right there, and that right there alone ought to wake up a few folks as well. How can a small business owner better structure their day? That is simply a big challenge for most small business owners. Let’s conclude with your response.
Susan Fennema: Well, this is a huge one. My first tip here is definitely to plan the night before so you’re starting your day with a plan. Don’t start at nine o’clock on Tuesday morning trying to figure out what you’re doing on Tuesday. Figure that out on Monday night. Then your day is not so easily taken away from you. The other is to make sure, as you’re doing that, that you’re comparing your project management task list. And my opinion on this one, make sure all your tasks are in one tool so that you only have one place to look.
But compare that to your calendar to make sure everything you want to accomplish is actually realistic. Are you overtaxing yourself because there are too many things here to get done? Especially if you have meetings all day. Maybe some of that needs to be rescheduled.
And then this one is a huge one to me, and this is a huge tip. Block your calendar. If you are not blocking your calendar so that you know what you’re working on when you are losing all sorts of productivity. This allows you to be able to see into the future, essentially. So you’re able to manage your priorities, your workload, and if you get to something on that calendar and you’re like, “I just don’t feel like doing it,” play calendar Tetris. Move it around to another day and fill another hole, and you’re all set to go. So if you’re not calendar blocking, start doing that right away.
Eric Dye: Susan, fabulous information. And I certainly have found this to be quite motivating, the information that you’ve shared with us here today. I’m sure the listeners find it to be the same for them. Again, we’ve been speaking with Susan Fennema, the chaos eradicating officer of Beyond The Chaos. Where can listeners get further information on your firm and also be in touch accordingly?
Susan Fennema: Sure. The easiest way to find us is just to go to our website. It’s beyondthechaos.biz, B-I-Z like a business. And on there, you’ll find many ways to connect with us. Social media, email, there’s a contact form. So you can reach out that way, and I look forward to hearing from all of you. Thanks so much for having me, Eric.
Eric Dye: You’re welcome. Our pleasure. Again, Susan, all the best, and thanks for joining us here today on Enterprise Radio. Certainly, again, was our pleasure.
Susan Fennema: Thanks so much, Eric. This was fun.
Eric Dye: You bet it was. And let’s do it again. We’ve been speaking with Susan Fennema, the chaos eradicating officer with Beyond The Chaos, that helps small business owners simplify their operations and manage their projects so they can focus on growing their business and getting their lives back. And for all the details visit beyondthechaos.biz. And this is Eric Dye and you’ve been listening to Enterprise Radio, a part of EPN, the Enterprise Podcast Network. Tune in to our live location as we are streaming live 24/7 around the world at epodcastnetwork.com/live.
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