Business productivity and the power of systematising your workload [feat. Katie Mazzocco]

Today Conrad talks to business productivity expert Katie Mazzocco about how to make time for your business and your family – as well as make more money.

Entrepreneurs: you know that secret sauce you say your business is built on? The business you work hard on 24-7?

Chances are it’s holding you back from real success.

It’s a common flaw: entrepreneurs who build up their businesses from scratch believe that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. All the while, their health deteriorates and their family life suffers – sometimes even their profits begin to sink. All because their business is getting bigger, but they aren’t adapting. They aren’t thinking big.

But there is a way out.

Business productivity expert Katie Mazzocco helps people systematise and expand their companies, and has done so for nearly seven years. In short, it is all about building your business around reliable structures, routines and staff so the business owner can be more effective.

“What I do is help entrepreneurs and small business owners who are passionate about changing the world,” she says. “I help them save two hours a day on their business by improving their productivity and creating systems so that they can have a bigger impact on the world – and also enjoy their lives a lot more.”

A business built on love

Katie’s business, Full Spectrum Productivity, is one which she says was built on love. “I believe the world needs more love. It’s important for small business owners to be making a positive impact: it’s spreading more love. I really believe entrepreneurs are changing the world, and it’s my mission to help them to be able to do that in a bigger way.”

And that key word she uses, “love”, is relevant in more ways than one. “I worked in the wedding industry for ten years,” she says. “As an employee I made those businesses a better place to work, and I made them more systematised. In doing so I made them more money and I saved them a lot of time.

“Eventually I decided it was time to help other business owners to make a bigger impact.”

Her clients include service-based businesses, such as consultancies; but Katie also has others on the books – from healers to interior designers.

Getting their systems up and running

So how do you systematise someone’s business?

“I have a seven-step process,” Katie says. “What I do when I start working with entrepreneurs is figure out where they are. I do a lot of in-depth questionnaires and gather intel on how their business is structured and where their struggles are. From there, we go through the seven steps to help them save two hours or more a day.”

This seven-step process of business productivity includes cutting out sabotaging beliefs, restructuring time and energy, structuring routines – including to-do lists and team management – creating set procedures for the business, drawing up delegation strategies, exploring business growth and adapting to the future.

Much of this process begins with one simple to appreciate, but tricky to master, idea: we only have so much time and energy in the day.

“Time and energy are finite resources, and people need to be aware that committing to do something impacts their business across the board,” she says.

“I talk about time and energy as a puzzle, and we have only so many pieces. I find a lot of business owners get to the point where they’re struggling in their personal life because their business is taking up too much time. And they’re struggling in their business because they’re always behind – or things are chaotic and stressful because they underestimated how much time things would take. They’ve over-committed or not delegated well.

“By taking a look at that puzzle and making decisions, you’re looking at the global issues. So, as a business owner, you get to design what your life will look like.

“I really encourage people to take the power back in that process – to recognise that your goals in your personal life affect your business; and also that your goals in your business life affect your personal life.”

She adds it’s not about looking at small goals and objectives. True business productivity systems extend beyond this. “You need to look at things in the macro – everything at once. That way you will be able to identify where you’re working against yourself, so you can really have freedom and be more impactful and powerful as a business owner.”

Solving the time and energy puzzle

If there’s one serious block to business productivity it’s that there’s a lot going on in the head of an entrepreneur. Setting up systems helps to take some of this strain off.

Katie gives the example of writing a newsletter to your customers or subscribers: “There could be hundreds of steps that go into that: click here, click there, drag this here, paste this, type this, proofread it and so on.

“By creating a system you’re taking those steps out of your head. They don’t need to be remembered.

“I always like to talk about how entrepreneurs’ brains are like a glass, and that every thought they have and every piece of information they need to remember is a marble. I always ask entrepreneurs: how’s your glass looking? Is it half full? Is it overflowing? Is there a mountain of marbles that can’t fit into your glass? That’s the reality for most people.

“Systems take out those marbles. If you’re to take out all those 100 steps that go into a newsletter, and refer to a list instead, you’re going to be more efficient and effective.”

Business productivity systems like this are, Katie says, “a journey from being in total chaos to having simplicity and things systematised and easy to delegate.”

On this journey you can step back and look at how you can set yourself free from old constraints. Then you can forge a plan for the future, building teams to delegate to. Crucially, you have time to think about the future of the business as well.

Business productivity in practice

“I always say that, in growing your business and being a successful business owner, you hit a point where things become a Catch 22,” Katie says. “So what used to serve you starting a business no longer works when you get to a certain point. When you start, you don’t likely have a huge budget, or you don’t know a lot of different things to do with your new business. You have to learn about – and do – things yourself. Once you get to a certain point in business, it’s not helpful to spend your time and energy on these things anymore. But you’re the master of them now. So people get into the trap where what helped them is now hurting them.

“In the United States there’s this myth or story about the self-made millionaire. They see this one person: this huge successful businessman like Tony Robbins. What they don’t see is the hundreds of people behind him that make things happen. There’s this perception that to make an impact they need to do it all themselves to make sure it’s all good.”

Katie sees beyond this myth – and practices what she teaches. She’s expanded her own team to six staff in as many years. “I love it,” she says. “I use all of my principles. It gives me a lot of freedom and allows me to have more impact. I wouldn’t be able to do ten percent of things I do without a team behind me.

She says it is always good to hear from people she’s helped pull out of the low productivity trap. “For example, I have a client I worked with a year ago,” she said. “Everything in her business was totally stressful and in chaos. She was working 60-70 hours a week. Now she works the traditional 9-5 through working with me and appointing four team members. She makes more money and has more time for her family.

“By systematising your business you get your life back. I just love people telling me they don’t work nights and weekends anymore – and make double the money in half the time.”

So what advice does she have for someone fighting the clock?

“My first piece of advice is they don’t have to be a machine. Life is to be enjoyed.

“This in itself can be powerful,” she says. “A catalyst for change.”

Find out more

Visit Katie’s business, Full Spectrum Productivity, here.

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