Grow Your Business, TODAY, With Applied Time Management

Grow Your Business, TODAY, With Applied Time Management
Special Event – One Day On
  • Create and begin using your own Time Management Matrix (TMM) 
  • Immediately connect the TMM with your calendar and begin saving time TODAY! 
  • Develop at least one time-saving form that you can use in your business TODAY!
  • Learn the Daily Action Folder System and how it will save you mega-time 

You will receive:

  • An email the day prior with all the downloadable forms and documents that we will be working on
  • Paper copies on-site

You will benefit immediately:

  • Putting together your TMM
  • Moving items onto your calendar – in real time!
  • Developing at least one form that will make a time-dent in your business and something you can use immediately

What to bring:

  • Your laptop or tablet

Date:  Monday, April 7 from 8:00 – 12:00

Where:  Intelligent Office of Alexandria

2331 Mill Road, Suite 100

Alexandria, VA  22314

Cost:  $149

Light, healthy snacks and beverages will be provided

Click Here to Register

For more information, please contact Jennifer Howard:



Business Coach Tips – Public Speaking

Do you ever speak or present in front of people?  If your answer is yes, then you may be interested in the following tips I find useful!

When you are speaking:

  • Be conscious of what you are wearing – don’t be too obvious (you want them to listen to you and not be fixated on your outfit or suit)
  • Don’t show too much skin
  • Don’t use weak words and say “you know” a lot
  • Don’t (absolutely do not) remind the audience that you are nervous
  • Don’t apologize often
  • Don’t wring your hands
  • Do make good eye contact
  • Don’t fidget with your clothes
  • Don’t clutch the podium
  • Don’t use your high-squeaky voice
  • Don’t talk as fast as you can (this can actually make you more nervous!)

Expect Speaking Success by:

  • Writing a script
  • Writing for listeners, not readers
  • Making your words easy to remember
  • Using action words
  • Telling stories
  • Using testimonials
  • Using repetition (mildly)
  • Asking rhetorical questions
  • Creating a picture or image
  • Giving them something to look at, write on, or follow along with
  • Showing interesting visuals
  • Practicing your speech
  • Putting it into an outline
  • Visualize yourself making the speech and being successful!

Slower is Faster

I am not naturally an organized person.  I freely admit that I would rather pile things up – clothes, shoes, mail, email and especially paperwork.  Why?  In my mind, the act of taking time to put things away takes too much time!

A couple of years ago, I was visiting my parents and watching the Baja 500 (a desert race on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula) with my father.  There was a fascinating segment where a team, that included a father and son, had gotten stuck due to some broken, but fixable, part of the vehicle.  The son was frustrated with what had happened and was hurriedly working on the damage.  In his haste, he kept making mistake after mistake.  Patiently the father watched.  After a little while, the father stepped toward the son, put his hand on his shoulder, and whispered, “slower is faster, son.  Relax; concentrate; slow down.”  The son did as his father instructed.  I watched his shoulders relax, heard the deep breath he took and observed him consciously slowing down.  He became methodical in his more relaxed state and no more mistakes were made.  He repaired the vehicle much quicker and they were back in the race. It was a beautiful moment and I took away an exceptional business lesson.  Slower is faster.

How can a businessperson apply the “slower is faster (SIF)” model in the everyday running of his or her business?  Several ways.  The most important method, and what I want to share with you today, is in the management of time and paperwork.  This is especially true for a businessperson who handles his or her own calendar, record keeping, filing, etc.  The solopreneur as well as the entrepreneur with a smaller staff definitely falls into this category.

The first thing to do is to wrap your head around the “SIF” mindset.  While rushing sometimes gets us to the end of something quicker, there are inevitable and unavoidable mistakes.  For example, have you ever hurriedly sent an email response to someone without proof-reading it?  Most all of us have.  However, I can tell you from experience, that when I am in a hurry and I don’t proof read that email, there are always mistakes in it.  How does the “slower is faster” model apply here?  Corrections!  The recipient of the email may not understand what you wrote, the tone intended, need clarification, etc.  In fact, one of my biggest mistakes in writing an email in a hurry is that I send it to the wrong person!  I have 7 different “Karen’s” that come up when I type a “K” into the “to” line.  If I don’t slow down and take the time to make sure the email is going to the correct “Karen”, I have sent a completely irrelevant email to the wrong person.  Then, when the wrong “Karen” sends it back to me with a note, “wrong Karen, again”, I have to copy and paste the body of the email into a new note and make sure it goes to the right “Karen”, this time.  I have wasted so much time by being in a hurry!  Not only did the person who was supposed to get the email get it much later than I intended, but it took more time on my part to resend the email and then apologize to the wrong recipient.  Consider, also, that doing things right the first time (the result of SIF) creates a more professional image and builds trust. Mistakes are unprofessional and could undermine confidence with clients and coworkers.  Slower is faster.

Remember the SIF rule when dealing with paperwork, too.  The idea is to touch each piece of paper one time – really – just once.  The more times you handle something, the more time wasted.  Think of that pile (or piles) of paperwork on your desk.  Every time you pick it up to look through it for a particular piece, you have handled every piece in it, again.  The trick is to DO something with the paper when it comes in.  It’s okay to put it in a designated letter tray to file – now it’s out of the way and you don’t have to touch it again until you, or someone else, files it.  However, items that need action need to be suspended in a dated file until it is time to DO something with them.  It may seem that this system is slow and takes too much time, but it doesn’t.  I can attest to the fact that slower, in this case, is definitely faster.

Today is a good day to begin taking action.  First, start doing something with all that paper. File it, put it in a tray to be filed, suspend it, act on it or throw it away.  You’ll be amazed how much time NOT going through piles of paper will save you.  Next, slow down with emails.  Check your recipients, watch what you forward, be careful when using “reply all” and proofread your copy.  Finally, “slower is faster” can work in other areas of your life.  I challenge you to think of times when this phrase can be useful and make it a part of living time-managed and well-balanced.

Testimonials – VanEch Studio

Twenty-five years ago, I started my own interior design business, working for the most part out of my home studio. Three months ago, I took the next step in a lifetime dream and opened a retail home furnishings store in conjunction with the interior design.  Soon thereafter, I retained Jennifer Howard of Next Level Group.

I hired Jennifer because I love her approach to life and believe she understands what makes a business great. With her past experience as a brick and mortar business owner and her coaching accreditations, she has the acumen to look at specific issues in my business and help me get clear on what needs to happen next and the actions I need to take to get there. In our weekly sessions, Jennifer provides guidance and support to real problems but more importantly, she challenges me so that I can figure out what is in the way of creating the business I want. She is a trusted partner who holds my feet to the ground with the utmost professionalism and a genuine desire to help.  My business is grateful to have her and your business will be too.

Niki VanEch
VanEch Studio, Occoquan VA

Jennifer’s Top Tips – Letting Go of Tolerations

What are tolerations? They are those pesky things in life that can really bug us. They are the “straw that breaks the camel’s back,” in many cases. Tolerations are things like:

  1. The copier that leaves a line down the middle of your page
  2. The employee that consistently comes in 5-10 minutes late
  3. The burned out light in your refrigerator
  4. Not having enough time to enjoy your hobby anymore

How do you get rid of tolerations?

  1. Identify and make a list of those things in life that you are tolerating and if they were changed/fixed, you wouldn’t have to think about/deal with it anymore
  2. Determine a period of time in which you would like to get rid of those tolerations
  3. Choose a couple to work on at a time within the time parameters you have set
  4. Celebrate when you have gotten rid of the tolerations in your life!

Confessions of a Business Coach – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I shared my story of slowing creeping into the life of a “workaholic” and what a disaster that was for me personally (little family and quiet time) and professionally (I was so exhausted I had to take many months away from my business.) What brought me out of this completely unbalanced way of living was learning how to implement a strong personal foundation.

What is a personal foundation? It is, “a structured basis to support an individual in living an exceptional life*.” I wanted to be an excellent business owner and live an exceptional life. The thought of getting there in a planned fashion was very appealing and I was willing to do the work to get there. There were, however, a couple of mindsets that I needed to change if it was going to work for me.

The first exercise was wrapping my head around the idea that my personal life was my foundation. Unfortunately, I had made my business my foundation and my personal life was supporting it. What I learned was that when you make your business the foundation for your life, you are navigating on pretty thin ground. Many things can happen that can easily and quickly change your business environment. The best approach, is to make your personal life the foundation and setting up your business to support it. For me, this meant learning some extreme time management skills so I was not working all the time and could enjoy my personal life, again.

The next mindset I set out to adjust had to do with my “attractiveness factor.” I will write more on “attractiveness” next month. But for now, and for me, it was getting back to the basics of what brought good, positive things to me instead of me having to go out and find them. For example, the passion that moved me forward to become a business coach was to help other business owners grow their business. But somewhere along the way, the goal became earning money. Now, wanting to earn money is not a bad goal at all. However, I learned that the best goal was to really focus on helping people and the money would come. To accomplish this, I let go of how many clients I had and how much I was billing each month. Instead, I began working toward attracting high-quality, coachable clients and turning away potential clients who were not a good fit for me.

Finally, I had to take better care of myself. You may be thinking that I started eating healthier, exercising more, etc. While those things are very good, taking better care of myself went deeper. I had to learn how to say, “no.” This was very difficult for me – a person who wants to help others. But I had to dig deep and ask myself, “If I say yes to every request for help or assistance, am I doing it for the sake of helping or because I wanted to please people.” Well, you guessed it, the real reason I was doing too much was because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. That was a dangerous mindset and I had to learn to stop and evaluate every request that came my way to make sure I was doing something for the right reasons. While this can still be a challenge for me, I have found it easier to be honest with people about my availability and I am definitely happier and healthier because of it.

What about you? What does your personal foundation look like? Is your business the foundation of your life or does your business support the life you want to live? Are you so focused on earning money that you can’t remember why you began your business in the first place? And are you taking care of yourself by placing healthy boundaries around you and not taking on more than you can easily handle within your set work hours?

If you are struggling with any of the above areas, take some time, today, to do something about it. Identify the challenge, reflect on how you got there, and then make a shift in your mindset to get back to those things (enjoying your life independent of your business, taking better care of yourself and your time, etc.) that were your goals in the beginning. Now you are on your way to developing your own strong personal foundation!

*Coach University – CU 500 – Personal Foundation


Take A Breather – New Beginnings

Happy Winter! If you’re like me, you’re already dreaming about warmer weather. After last winter, I told my husband that I wasn’t going to complain about the upcoming summer heat – and I didn’t! However, the brisk cold we are “enjoying” right now makes me think of more than just the warmth of Spring and Summer, I also think about the promise of new beginnings.

What do new beginnings mean to you? For some, new beginnings are an opportunity to ditch the baggage of the past and move on in their life. For others, it is a time to reflect on what has been working for you and to do more of “that” and less of those things that bring you down. For me, it is a time of implementing new goals while not forgetting the reasons I do what I do each day.

As you read the main article this month, Confessions of a Business Coach, Part 2, I want you to    consider what implementing a strong personal foundation would look and feel like for you.  If you would like more information on developing your personal foundation, reach out to me and I will be pleased to assist!

Think Spring but keep that warm coat nearby!  Thanks!

Take a Breather

“Life’s a Beach.”  Have you heard that expression before?  Most of us will take the word, “beach” and substitute it with another word that has a negative connotation.  This month, let me encourage you to take the word, “beach” and think of being at the shore or, if you’re not a water-lover, someplace else that makes you relaxed and happy.  Why?  Because if you’re always thinking about your work, what you have to DO next or who you need to please, stress takes the place of “relax” and you may become a “beach” (or the like for the guys!)

This month’s feature article titled, “Confessions of a Business Coach” is the first part of a two part series.  It is my own story of how I went from being an over-worked and over-whelmed entrepreneur to discovering the benefits of work/life balance.  In addition, don’t miss my Top Time Management Tips – they’re beneficial for any and all.

Welcome and thanks for checking out my new newsletter! (subscribe here)

Jennifer’s Top Time Management Tips

  1. Build in Margin – Be sure to leave some time in between appointments and other items on your calendar for the unexpected.
  2. Use your calendar – Whenever you think of something that you need to do, immediately place it on your calendar. Once it’s there, you can let it go until the day you need to take action.
  3.  Time blocking – Set aside chunks of time to take care of things you do daily. For example, I work on non-urgent emails first thing in the morning and at the end of each day.
  4. Take the lead – When setting appointments with someone, give him or her a specific day and a couple of times that will work best for you. This puts you and your calendar in control and cuts down on several back-and-forth emails to chose a time that works for both of you.
  5. Project Binder – This is one of my favorites! I have a separate binder for every client and large projects. For smaller and short-term projects, I use one binder (appropriately titled Project Binder) and write-on dividers to separate each item.

Confessions of a Business Coach

I was thrilled when I signed my first coaching client.  After months of presenting my new coaching services to networking groups and business associates, my hard work finally paid off.  I was employed.  The new found confidence I had in myself and my business was quite infectious.  Before long, I had several new clients, moved from my home-office to a “big girl” office in the city and had money to spend.

Exactly one-year after I began my coaching business, my husband came home and told me we were moving to another state.  “Yikes!”  “Another state?”  And, on top of that, the other state was so far away it felt like we were moving to another planet.  I finally had my dream business and I did not want to shut it down just because I was moving away.  So, I got “smart.”  I negotiated a deal with my clients that I would meet face-to-face with them the first two weeks of each month and the third week we would coach over the telephone. They all agreed and I began driving back and forth between the two states (868 miles) every two weeks.

I kept up that arrangement for nine months.  It was in that last month I realized that I could not run my business that way any longer.  When I was in town with my clients, I routinely worked from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm every day.  I was exhausted, not growing my business, neglecting my friends and family and generally not taking care of myself.  I began daydreaming about quitting it all and going back to a quieter, gentler life…

At the end of the ninth month, my husband and I moved my office back to the home in our new state.  Because my clients were used to meeting face-to-face, only a few wanted to continue coaching strictly by telephone.  The good news was that I had worked with them long enough to see them through tremendous growth and most were ready to “fly” on their own.  The bad news was that I felt like a big failure; I had to practically start over with my business and was exhausted physically and mentally.  It was at that point I discovered the importance of developing a strong personal foundation.

What is a personal foundation?  It is, “a structured basis to support an individual in living an exceptional life*.”  I wanted to be an excellent business owner and live an exceptional life.  The thought of getting there in a planned fashion was very appealing…

Stay tuned next month for Part 2 of Confessions of a Business Coach.

*Coach University – CU 500 – Personal Foundation