Every business is riddled with waste.

  • You’re wasting your time.
  • You’re wasting your money.
  • You’re wasting your team member’s time.
  • You’re wasting your customer’s time.
  • You’re wasting your customer’s money.

If someone uttered these words to me, I would either get mad or I would feel ashamed.

Now before you slam the door in my face because I’ve offended you, take a minute and breathe.

Now ask yourself, what am I currently involved that is wasteful?

Recently, I went to a drive-in fast food restaurant with three of my children.  We all ordered milkshakes.  The whole purpose of the trip was to get milkshakes.  My children had finished their chores. I wanted to treat them for a job well done.

It took 7 minutes after we arrived before someone took our order.  I had to repeat my order multiple times because the order taker didn’t take my order down correctly.  It took about five minutes for me to “order” the four milkshakes.  I mean the main ingredients are milk and a shake.

We sat and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I looked at my clock. Twelve minutes passed since I ordered the milkshakes.  That’s it! I’m getting a refund.

I tried my best not to be ugly.  I stopped a waitress and said I needed to get a refund.  The manager came out and apologized.

“I’m short staffed.” among other excuses came from his mouth.  I could tell he was sincere and sorry for the incident.

A bit frustrated, I said, “I ordered four milkshakes.  It shouldn’t take a half hour for me to get four milkshakes.  My time is worth something.”

And that was what frustrated me the most. I had lost my time.  The money I got back, but the time is gone forever.

I share this story to hold a mirror up to myself. It’s easy to complain about the splinter in somebody else’s eye.  It takes a mature person to look in the mirror and realize they have a 4×4 in their eye.

When I’m mature, and something bothers me. I stop for a moment and ask myself, an important question.

Why is this bothering me?

Then I ponder further and ask myself another question.

“If something is bothering me, what am I currently doing that is causing this to bother me.”

Would you like to know what’s bothering me?

If you ask nicely, I’ll tell you.

You didn’t say pretty please.

What bothers me is waste.  And I’m not talking about a discarded napkin on the side of the road. I’m talking about the dump truck backing into my driveway and unloading itself all over my nicely washed car.

It stinks to high heaven. Believe me when I tell you this.  It didn’t have to happen.  It could have all been prevented. So now is the time to make a change.  Now is the time to stop waste.  And it all starts with me.

As President Harry S Truman said, “The buck stops here.”

Now let’s focus in on how you use money in your business. I start with money because money is the easiest thing to measure. Money is always measured.

Unless of course, you have it all stashed under your mattress and pay everything in cash. Then you probably won’t have a good record of your money.

But that’s not the case with a semi-organized business. If your business books are in order, everything earned and spent in your business runs through your bank accounts and credit cards.

See I told you, you’ve got all your money recorded. And you did very little to record the money transactions. You just had to receive and spend money.

Now we get to the point I made at the beginning of this email. Your business is riddled with waste. Waste shackles your business to mediocrity.

The cause of the waste is a lack of focus.

As a Realtor business owner, you are a master juggler.  You have more than a hundred balls up in the air. You think you have it all under control.

I’m going to whisper sweet nothings into your ear.

“It’s a lie. It is physically impossible to juggle 100 balls in the air. There will come a time when you can’t maintain the focus, and all the balls will come tumbling down.  Just you wait.”

The worst part of it is you are so focused on juggling that you don’t even realize that the balls you are juggling don’t even matter.  You dropped the most important balls.  And you are dooming yourself to failure as a result.

You’re going to drop balls.  I don’t care how skilled you become.  You could have gone through the Cirque De Soleil school of juggling.  You keep adding balls to the mix. You’re only going to focus on the last ball added.  The last ball that is urgent that really has no positive impact on your future.

If it’s inevitable that you are going to drop balls, here is my secret of juggling success. Drop the balls that don’t matter.  Only juggle the important balls.

Put your hands together and let the balls drop.  Thud … Thud … Thud. There now look at the pile of balls.  Now, look at your right hand.  Count your fingers. How many fingers do you see?

The number of fingers on your hand indicates the upper limit of the balls you can realistically juggle.  No close your hand into a fist and stick your thumb up toward the sky.

How many thumbs to you see. That’s right. Just one.

One Thumb = One Thing to Focus on.

We run around chasing new clients, always doing what is urgent, spending more money on marketing, trying to get new clients, taking a shotgun approach toward everything in our business.

And the result of running around like a chicken with its head cut off is obvious. Our business begins to stagnate and withers away.

I’m not a rocket scientist, but I do know how to exercise logic.

If lack of focus is the cause of waste, then focus reduces waste.

When you reduce waste in your business, you improve business operations, and your business grows.

You are overwhelmed because you are looking at too many things in your business.

Gary Keller, in his masterful book, wrote about The One Thing.

I never counted how many time Gary Keller says “The One Thing” in the pages of his book, but I’m going to venture he says “The One Thing” at least 2,000 times in the book.

“The One Thing” in the book The One Thing is “The One Thing.”

Now ask yourself a “One Thing” question. What is the One Thing I can do to dramatically increase the amount of cash I have in my bank?

Spend at least 5 minutes thinking about this question. Submit a comment with your One Thing.

I’m excited to hear about your first step towards focus.

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