In this transcript, Clay Clark (U.S. SBA Entrepreneur of the Year for the State of the Oklahoma) and Deedra Determan (“Mom-preneur”) discuss the importance of effectiveness on Thrive15.com, the best sales training program.
Clay: The best selling author John Maxwell once wrote, "The secret of our success is found in our daily agenda." Why, in your mind, is it so important for entrepreneurs to make a to-do list and why do most people not make a to-do list?
Deedra: I think as an entrepreneur you have fires that come up all the time. Something will come that you're not expecting and you've got to take care of it. Maybe that takes two, three hours of your day. We'll you've got to get back on task for your to-do list. It's moving. It's moving parts. What you didn't get done that day, could be the next day. I think if you don't have it all down and have a plan, you're not going to get to your end goal. The to-do list gets you all the tasks you need to-do, something every day, to get you where your end goal is.
Clay: Today I had a beautiful example of what happens where you just look up and you're like dear Lord, why is this happening to me? I sit down. I've got an hour blocked off. I had three speaking events that I booked and I've got to send off invoices. I sit down, my computer is crashing. Somebody has accidentally synced a series of large, raw format video files to my computer. They're downloading all these files and I can't make it stop. Stop downloading. Stop. My computer is crashing.
I unsync the drop box, the victory. I unsync it and then my computer crashes like they hit the Control, Alt, Delete. Control, Alt, Delete. The printer won't sync and the thing won't sync. Then the AC guy wants to talk and have an emotional conversation and this whole thing is going on. Then people are showing up for our meeting, but I had my meeting agenda already printed. Some times it just falls on you. Luckily I could come up for air [in five 00:01:43] and I'm like OK I need to get this done. I feel like without my to-do list I would have just probably cried.
Deedra: Right. Right.
Clay: Do you ever feel like things happen?
Deedra: Oh yeah. Things happen all the time. I think as you're starting your business there's no question, it's not going to stay the same list on that day that you started. It's not going to be like that on Friday. You have to keep prioritizing what's the most important thing I need to-do tomorrow. I think if you do it the night before you get up the next morning you're ready to go. You're not spending an hour wondering what should I do today, look back in my notes. You know exactly what you need to do and you get rolling.
Clay: Sam Walton, the guy who started Sam's Club, you might be familiar with a little company called Wal-Mart, kind of a smaller retail store, it's starting to catch on. This is what he says, "I usually have my yellow legal pad with me, with a list of 10 or 15 things we need to be working on as a company. Mist list drives the executives around here crazy, but it's probably one of my more important contributions." Think about that. One of his more important contributions was the to-do list.
I read Rockefeller's book. My wife got me the book called Titan. It's unbelievable, I have an emotional bond with Rockefeller now. In there he has this red note pad he carries and that was his number one thing. His red note pad. I would encourage you if you're watching this and you don't have a to-do list, you just have to get one.
Clay: You got to write it down. Have you met with a lot of entrepreneurs that don't have to-do lists?
Clay: Do you try to encourage them to get one, or what do you?
Deedra: Absolutely. I know within the first five minutes if someone's going to be successful, their business, when I meet with them. When they come without a pen and a paper and everything is just off the top of their head. How are you going to learn? How are you going to remember everything? You're coming to a meeting. I'll make my staff walk around with a piece of paper or a notebook and a pen at all times. Write it down. You never know when you're going to pass in the hall and there's something that you need, or if you want to use your computer, today there's your iPad or whatever. You can watch sales training videos on Thrive15.com.
Clay: What about the guy whose got the iPhone, he's typing it on Ever Note and he's typing it on the notes, and he's writing it down and he has yellow note pads and he has a ... what about that guy? How does that guy or gal? Have you met that guy or gal?
Deedra: [inaudible 00:03:52]
Clay: Where you've got the note pad and then the ... what do you tell that person? Do you just get one list?
Deedra: I think one. One or you're going to be overwhelmed. I use my computer a lot, but also I walk around with my paper list, as well.
Clay: OK. So you put it all in one place?
Deedra: Yeah. One spot.
Clay: I know I've been guilty of taking whatever is handy and I start writing on it. I've got this Wendy's napkin where I ... it's important to put it all in one place.
Clay: OK. Do you believe that should be taught more at college? To-do listing?
Deedra: Yeah. I think not only listing, I think organizational skills in general. It's how ever you do it you get your own system down that works for you. Absolutely, that's such a huge part of whatever job you're doing.
Clay: I just want you to know ... I'll move off at this point here ... but I have yet to meet a successful entrepreneur that does not have a to-do list and does not have a day planner of some kind, yet the average person I know does not have either one of those items. I'm just throwing out, maybe there's a connection there, maybe it's just some weird sort of psychological phenomena.