Over the holidays, I had asked my network for topics to write about – see Single Biggest ChallengeThe response has been great.

As I write this, I am still going through the responses. Before all else: thank you very much to each and all!

I am a big believer in the 80/20 rule. It is one of the most important “power laws” in the multi-verse. So, I am not surprised that just a few broad categories accounted for 80% of what you all had to say. I am surprised that it was exactly 80%!

80/20 is Everywhere

The top five categories, based on responses to date are:

  1. Sales – 30%
  2. Time management – 28%
  3. Internal alignment – 11%
  4. Strategy – %6
  5. Recruitment – 5%

Of course, I created these categories and not every response fits neatly into one category or another. The responses themselves go into a variety of, I think, interesting directions. Here, I just want to give you a quick recap and let you know what sort of articles you will be seeing from me.

What don’t you already know about Time Management?

Really, what has not been said about time management? From Taylor to Covey, from Daytimer to Getting Things Done, don’t we already know everything there is to know? And yet, from solo entrepreneurs to senior execs at sizable companies, we struggle:

  • How to balance client service with client development –
  • How to practice your craft and maintain healthy operating margins –
  • How to get your own work done while hiring, on-boarding and training staff –
  • The M word: multi-tasking – from spinning up multiple companies to managing multiple channels of communication – call backs, emails, Skype calls, Instagram – Instagram???
  • How to run a successful business as a parent and bring in enough income to support your family –
  • How to balance higher quotas, increased demands on your time with a healthier lifestyle –
  • How to balance work versus your personal life –
  • “Work continues to be like a treadmill that is hard to get off” –
  • How to deal with the lack of time –
  • How to reconcile limited resources with limitless opportunities –
  • How to be a one man army –

So, we have quite a few angles from which to approach the time management grail.

“The purpose of business is to get and keep a customer” – Peter Drucker

See prospect, convert into customer. It is just one sentence. Maybe two. How hard can that be? Hard enough, apparently, for at least a few of us. Issues, questions and topics include:

  • How to discern a real buyer from a potentially dangerous buyer –
  • Amazon and / or Walmart: how to leverage those channels without getting swallowed and spit out –
  • How to navigate the “cloudy overhang” of misaligned policy and regulation, particularly in an environment of change –
  • “How to consolidate and link all actions performed by customers” on multiple systems to enable full traceability for internal purposes and to customer service expectations –
  • How to enter a market when you have proved the performance of your product, yet your market seems reluctant to give you a chance –
  • How to deal with the commoditizing of your product –
  • How to get an increase in profitability through either new sales or price adjustment to existing contracts –
  • How to value and buy leads –
  • How to move a previously highly profitable brick and mortar buy-sell-trade retail to successfully compete in a world of digital media –
  • How to attract the right customers that “are willing to pay a fair price” for your services –
  • How to deal with “too much revenue from the same source” –
  • How to find qualified sales people to “accelerate growth” –
  • How to expand your business while working a “day job” –

And the list goes on with internal alignment and infighting, strategic investments, selling a company, “pockets of ineptitude” – and on to include a few specialized and interesting topics, such monetizing distributed application development and connecting mentally disabled people to the Internet –

All in all, there is a lot of ground to cover.

I certainly do not have all the answers to these questions.

I do know how to frame questions and find out who does know the answers or at least who the critical few folks are most likely to point us in the right direction.

I am looking forward to writing about these questions. It will be fun and, I hope, interesting to you.

Loosely, I will take the following approach.

  1. Define the terms of the questions and otherwise frame the question.
  2. Determine what popular and effective responses.
  3. And, offer a a few recommendations as to what you can you test for yourself.

If you would like to let me know what is bugging you the most in your business, let me know what you are thinking – see Single Biggest Challenge.