Struggling With Your Harlem Small Business? These Tips Will Help You Get Paid

June 6, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic and its related shutdowns in 2020 caused significant struggles for many businesses.

However, today’s challenges can often be more about maintaining focus rather than external pressures.

Here are six tips to help you stay focused from Harlem to Harare during difficult times.

1. Talk to (or Seek Out) a Business Mentor

Engaging with a seasoned business mentor can be a game-changer. A mentor can help you set goals, inspire new thinking, and provide valuable insights. Joanna Ziemlewski, owner of the women-focused coaching business SoulScaping, notes, “By working with a mentor, you can shorten years’ worth of growth and painful lessons into only a few months, and hopefully without the pain.”


If you don’t already have a mentor, now is the perfect time to find one. They can offer an outside perspective that might be crucial for seeing the bigger picture and predicting future paths.

2. Reconsider Your Priorities

Lack of focus often stems from poor prioritization. Adopting methods such as Eat the Frog, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, the ABCDE Method, or Chunking can help you concentrate on the most critical tasks. Mark Ellwood from Business.com emphasizes that “the key to success is how you allocate your time to what matters most.”

Research shows that top performers spend up to 60% of their time on value-added work, compared to 50% for the average employee.


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3. Just Say ‘No’

Overcommitting is a common pitfall for business owners. Learning to say “no” can help you protect your time and focus. Author and entrepreneur Kevin Daum advises, “Have a realistic sense of your capacity, and don’t go past your limit.”

Saying “no” to less critical tasks allows you to prioritize what truly matters and avoid burnout.

4. Save Time with Better Tools and Software

Inefficiency often comes from not having the right tools. With the shift to remote work, investing in productivity tools is essential. Consider task prioritization software like Todoist and I Done This, collaboration tools such as Asana and Monday.com, and time-tracking software like Harvest and ActivTrak.

These tools can streamline your workflow and save valuable time.

5. Set Up a ‘Do Not Disturb’ System

Interruptions can severely disrupt your focus. Implementing a “do not disturb” system can help minimize these disruptions. Turning off notifications on your phone and clearly defining what constitutes an emergency can help maintain a productive work environment.

Jan Lehman, owner and CEO of CTC Productivity, suggests that defining a “true emergency” empowers employees to handle interruptions better and focus on their priorities.

6. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks

Scheduling regular breaks is crucial for maintaining focus and productivity. Research indicates that breaks can replenish your brain’s attention and motivation stores, encourage creativity, and improve overall performance. As Ferris Jabr writes in Scientific American, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.”

Implementing these strategies can help you navigate the challenges of today’s business environment and maintain your focus.

By seeking mentorship, prioritizing effectively, learning to say no, leveraging the right tools, minimizing interruptions, and taking regular breaks, you can enhance your productivity and achieve your business goals with the US Chamber.

Photo credit: HWM.


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