Try it; you’ll like it!
I attribute a lot of my success to the use of an electronic organizer. It’s important as you grow that you find ways to do more with less time. I firmly believe the use of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) is one of a few main reasons I was able to grow to such a large sales volume auto recycling operation, with 150 employees in 6 locations. In my book I devoted a lot of discussion to PDA’s as a high priority for success.
In the late 1980’s, I had a pocket electronic organizer that was primitive by today’s standards. Many of my friends started using them but always poked fun at me for my fanatical approach to that Rolodex. In the late 90’s, I required each of my mangers to carry one, which the company purchased for them. Men and their toys! It was rare not to have everyone beaming the latest core buyer’s phone number or a key employee’s new home phone number to another manager at a meeting. We also created one record with all of the latest employees’ contact information, which all managers had at all times in their shirt pockets.
Other significant uses of a PDA for me included these:
- I used it for all of my scheduling; it allowed me to maintain and schedule lots of appointments and meetings. It can also serve to reconstruct that information for accounting or tax purposes, and to help you remember when something happened last.
- All my friends always called me for a number; it was the joke that I had everyone’s number. I had the lake house number for my manager, who only went there occasionally. (It wasn’t always a blessing having everyone rely on me for numbers, however!) I never needed to wait to handle something and to leverage that contact list and my cell phone into results. One of my good friends, Steve Gronow (Kensington Motors, Detroit), once joked in a meeting that he had never see anyone use a cell phone in the restroom, but I am not one to waste time. I suppose that is real muti-tasking.
- When I did a private stock offering to recapitalize my business in the late 90’s, I had over 1,000 names and addresses of old friends, business acquaintances and bankers; that allowed me to quickly get the offering document out to a comprehensive list of “friends and family”. (Many in the securities business call such an offering that.) I oversubscribed the offering in less than 2 weeks and then moved on to other projects.
- I used it as a virtual notepad. When you use your MBA (All of you do that, Manage By walking Around.) to gather notes on to-dos, it is a powerful tool. Things get done!
- I used it for a weekly company meeting. We always had an agenda for such a meeting. (Don’t you just hate preparing one?) I made one agenda in the PDA, and each week, as new things came up that needed to be addressed in the meeting, I entered them. Just before the meeting, I’d cut and paste the list into a Word document and print it out! After the meeting, I’d edit and remove items addressed, and cut and paste it (right in the PDA) to the next week’s meeting, and the process started over. A small aside here, weekly meetings with an agenda are highly effective at getting results. If there was an assignment or to-do for a staff member, they knew it would still be on next week’s agenda, and it had better be complete by then!
For the last few years, I have been using a pocket size Sony Clie, which uses the Palm operating system. I highly recommend the Sony and love the very simple Palm O/S.
Next month-Why are some of more successful than others?
Remember, only you can make BUSINESS GREAT!
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Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. He now manages his real estate holdings and investments, and does limited small business consulting. You can learn more about him at WWW.salvagingmillions.com. (Click on “more about Ron Sturgeon”.) He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or firstname.lastname@example.org.