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Mel Robbins created the premise for one of the most powerful TED Talks of all time when she couldn't get out of bed.

Mel is a Human Behavior Specialist and entrepreneur, and created the Five-Second Rule while her and her husband were going through a difficult time in their professionals lives. Today, the video of her TED Talk has clocked more than 7,000,000 views.

Speaking at Xerocon in San Francisco, Mel told how the Five-Second Rule means every time you have an impulse to act on a goal you must physically move within five seconds and act on it in that time frame.

Thinking about calling someone? Five, four, three, two, one, do it. Thinking about going to the gym? Five, four, three, two, one, do it.

As an entrepreneur herself, Mel knows what it's like to struggle with hesitation. She shared two areas small business owners can use the Five-Second Rule.


Mel said small business owners are constantly struggling with where to focus their time and their energy. The moment they walk into work, they feel they have lost control of their day. Small business owners should take time at the start of their day to prepare for what's ahead.

"Force yourself to spend 10 to 15 minutes planning your day and working on the one strategic objective that you keep avoiding before you leave for work," Mel said.

"Most small business owners wake up, look at their phone and start panicking. You want to grow your business, you've got to put the phone down, you've got to get up… you've got to sit down with a notebook and spend five minutes and think about what you are going to get done today that will help you expand your business."

Mel said small business owners should clock this time in the morning and use the Five-Second Rule to do it. When your alarm goes off in the morning? Five, four, three, two, one, do it. Get up.


Mel said small business owners need to put a stop to the self-doubt that will ultimately cripple their small business if it isn't stifled. The biggest obstacles small business owners face is the worries they place in their head.

"The moment you feel yourself doubting yourself, push it out of your head," Mel said. "Five, four, three, two, one. Your self-doubt has no place in your business."

If small business owners use the Five-Second Rule in their business and do away with hesitation, they are sure to thrive.

Tony Robbins on the Next Big Disruptor to every Business


Tony Robbins. CREDIT: Getty Images

"Not since the dawn of the internet has a single technology had the power to fundamentally change every business and industry," says Tony Robbins in his latest podcast, The Next Big Disruptor|NextVR's Brad Allen talks about how virtual reality is about to change everything.

When Tony Robbins first put on a pair of virtual reality goggles, he was transported to a basketball game, courtside. "I have been fortunate enough to sit courtside watching an NBA finals game, and I felt like I was right back there," says Robbins.

I must admit that my first reaction was to be skeptical. Ever since Star Trek's Holodeck, I have wanted to believe that virtual reality would one day change the very fabric of how we consume content and thereby how we do business. I was an early supporter of Linden Lab's Second Life in the late '90s and a huge fan of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash novel (published in 1992). But for the better part of the past two decades, virtual reality has not seemed to progress very much, until now.

Virtual Reality (Finally) Ready for Prime Time
What has changed is that the technology has finally caught up with the vision of what's possible. And the end-user cost of the technology has dropped below the $1,000 price point, which means that we're about to see massive growth in user adoption. According to research firm Tractia, more than 200 million consumer virtual reality head-mounted displays (HMDs) will be sold worldwide by 2020. The same article states, "The company forecasts that consumer virtual reality hardware and content revenue will increase from $108.8 million in 2014 to $21.8 billion worldwide by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 142 percent."

Consumer adoption is fundamentally being driven by three players: (1) Google's Cardboard, (2) Samsung's Gear VR, and (3) Facebook's Oculus Rift.

Why Virtual Reality Is the Next Big Disrupter
In Robbins's latest podcast, he and NextVR's executive chairman, Brad Allen, discuss what has fundamentally changed in both virtual reality and augmented reality that has made it ready for prime time. NextVR has invested millions in building the hardware and software technology that allows you to feel like you're right there.

"It's as if you are transported," says Allen. "It's the closest thing to teleportation you'll ever experience. You put on the goggles and instantly you're right there. From a courtside seat at the NBA to backstage with your favorite artist." NextVR has cut deals with the NBA, Nascar, Live Nation, PGA, NHL, boxing, NCAA March Madness, and Fox TV (to name just a few). NextVR is actively working to deliver the kinds of experiences you can't even buy in the real world. Not just front-row seats at your next music concert, but onstage, backstage, and the ability to bounce around from multiple perspectives during the live event.

"This is an unfair competitive advantage for businesses in the next 12 to 18 months," says Allen. "Goldman Sachs is predicting virtual reality will become an $80 billion industry." He expects as many as 20 million customers will adopt the technology in 2016, with another 50 million to 70 million in 2017 and hundreds of millions thereafter.

And while the focus of NextVR is currently entertainment, Allen sees applications in every industry. Imagine your child coming home from school and telling you, "We went to the pyramids today and walked around." Or how about using virtual reality for enhanced training programs? These are way better webinars when you can actually attend the live event. Or in the medical profession, why not consult your doctor virtually? And what about all the advertisers who want to tap this medium?

With the technology finally being ready for prime time, there are a slew of applications we are only just beginning to explore that will fundamentally shift your business.

What Business Are You In? What Business Must You Become?
Robbins teaches that every business must know the answers to two fundamental questions: What business are you in? And what business must you become? When you fall in love with your customers (instead of your products), you must build the future of your business for tomorrow while simultaneously delivering the value you've promised today. Regardless of what business you are in today, Robbins is encouraging you to be thinking about what business you need to become so you are not disrupted when the needs of your customers fundamentally shift.

In the podcast, I enjoyed Robbins's hockey analogy: "The best hockey players in the world don't skate to where the puck is, but rather they get to where the puck is going." Google, Facebook, Samsung, and Robbins believe that virtual reality will fundamentally impact every business. It's not a matter of if so much as a matter of when. Strategizing and planning for these shifts today will help ensure you ride the technology wave rather than have the wave of technology crash over you.

Being Transported Into the Heart of Incredible Experiences
But hardware is not enough. We've seen massive flops in technology such as 3-D television sets. Why should anyone believe that virtual reality will succeed when other technologies have failed utterly? The answer is in the incredible content that is currently being developed.

This year at Collision, I was consumed by a virtual reality storytelling panel that had David Eun and Marc Mathieu of Samsung Electronics speaking with Jacques Methe of Cirque du Soleil. Eun talked about his own life-changing experience being transported to Africa. "I was fortunate enough to be with Scott Harrison, CEO of Charity: Water, and a small group of benefactors," said Eun. "We put on our VR goggles and were instantly transported to a small village in a third-world country. There we experienced the joy of dozens of children as the water well Charity: Water had drilled went online. I've never experienced anything like it. I was there. We all were there. And yet each of us had a different and unique experience depending on which child's face we chose to focus on. I believe virtual reality will fundamentally change the nature of the charities we support, when you can stand in front of the very people whose lives you are forever changing."

Then, Jacques Methe blew my mind when he described what Cirque du Soleil was doing in partnership with Samsung. "At first, we used virtual reality to capture the front-row-seat viewing experience" he said. "But then we asked ourselves, what if we put you right in the middle of the action? Rather than watch from the audience, what if you could be in the show? With virtual reality, you can now be onstage and part of the story."

Imagine experiencing what it feels like to be a Cirque du Soleil acrobat. With the ability to change perspectives, you can be flying on a trapeze, bouncing on a trampoline, or simply look out into the audience as a clown. We are now only scratching the surface of what's possible with virtual reality storytelling. The content creators have an entirely new medium to play with.

We Must Get Beyond the Novelty
I also had the opportunity to speak with Curtis Evey and Dominic Kurtaz of Dassault Systèmes 3DExcite, a leader in virtual reality for the automotive and aerospace industry. "Until you put on a virtual reality headset, you don't understand," says Evey. "Today, retail is primarily an execution of decisions already made digitally before you ever enter the store. But with virtual reality, we can finally experience the product without leaving our homes."

"What gets me really excited," says Kurtaz, "is combining 3-D printing capabilities with virtual reality. This is going to completely change the game in so many industries."

And that, my friends is the point of all of this. Virtual reality is (finally) here, and it appears to be gaining traction in all the right places. You can choose to ignore virtual reality and wait for one of your competitors to disrupt you. Or you can take the time to understand what this is all about and find new and interesting applications for your business.

Take Massive Action on Virtual Reality
So, enough of the intellectually interesting information. The time has come to take massive action. If you want the full benefit of this knowledge, you need to do something with it. So here are the three things you must do if you're serious about building the business you must become.

  1. Listen. Hear all of these insights from the very players who are making it happen today. Listen to Tony Robbin's podcast: The Next Big Disruptor|NextVR's Brad Allen talks about how virtual reality is about to change everything.
  2. Put on a damn virtual reality head-mounted display. We can discuss and debate this until we're blue in the face. You're at a massive disadvantage until you adorn a virtual reality headset from Facebook's Oculus Rift or Samsung's Gear VR. Even Google's Cardboard at least gets you a taste of what's possible. But just talking the talk is meaningless. You won't get it until you wear it.
  3. Envision and write down three possible futures. Once you've experienced today's virtual reality, take 30 minutes to brainstorm (by yourself or with your team) how you might use this technology to make your customers' experience 10X better. Don't fall in love with the technology. Instead, fall in love with how you will dramatically improve the lives of the customers you serve. That's the only way to win.

I appreciate your taking the time to read my articles, but if you choose not to take these action steps, then all I've done is bring this technology to your attention. For the full benefit of your business, you need to take the time to do something with this information. Otherwise, there's very little benefit for you or your company.

If I haven't convinced you, you can also read Tony Robbin's latest LinkedIn Influencer post on the same topic. Perhaps hearing it from "the Chairman" (i.e., the man whose ownership of multiple businesses is worth more than $5 billion) will inspire you to take massive action. Robbins is, after all, the No. 1 life and business strategist, a New York Times best-selling author, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. When he sees something insightful, let alone game-changing, I tend to pay attention.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of




Is Wearable Technology about to Disrupt the Health Care Industry?

Digital disruption is something to be aware of in all professions at the moment and the Health Care Industry is certainly no exception. Medical Practitioners will need to be considerate of the impact of this technology on their practice models. How will doctors interact with patients into the future? what will be the effect on doctors remuneration, patient care, and care plans? How will health funds react to all this new information and patient interaction with their medical professionals.


According to Medical Daily, wearable technology was predicted to be the top fitness trend of 2016. But is wearable technology just a trend or does it have the potential to transform the medical industry? Are doctors the next sector to experience a major disruption at the hands of tech?

Wearables are already making their mark in the tech world. Fitbits, or their counterparts, are being worn on one in every five Americans, and Apple has a Health app. Self monitoring is becoming more mainstream than ever before. This means just about anyone can become health obsessed while still being attached to their phones. This is already having a positive impact of overall health and productivity. Researchers at the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies found that there's already been a 44% decrease in sick days for employees that were daily users of wearable technology.

Wearables will provide valuable information to doctors

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, a top doctor in the UK, believes wearable technology will revolutionize the monitoring of patients' health. Especially for those patients with a serious condition. He explained to The Guardian that wearables are now being actively used by doctors when dealing with patients. Technology has advanced so rapidly doctors are already seeing patients with a previous history of heart failure benefiting from using a wearable monitoring system. By using an unobtrusive sensor device, medical staff can remotely track a patient's health and predict if they are at risk of slipping into heart failure again. This means a doctor can bring a patient in and begin treating them before the condition becomes serious.

This is a brand new way of doing things for the medical sector. Doctors are used to patients coming to them with problems, and they have to trust the information they're given. With wearable technology, doctors don't have to rely on our (usually faulty) information about our activity and how we feel. Now they can use verified data when assessing our health. This could also lead to more preventative care and less hospital stays. This not only benefits the patient's health, but could save us a ton of money on health care. He predicts a huge decrease in patient admittance rates to hospitals due to the early warning signs wearable technology can detect.

The future of wearable technology for medicine

The market for health care wearables already extends beyond smartwatches and fitness trackers. In fact, Tractica predicts that by 2021 health care wearables will be worth $17.8 billion. It's no surprise when you look at the products already on the market. Things like posture monitors, movement sensors, heart straps, wearable patches, wearable cameras, and pain management tools.

So what does the future hold for wearable technology and health care? IBM Australia is running clinical trials on a piece of software that could be implanted into your brain to prevent seizures. There are also tests in motion on ingestible computers that collect and send data straight to your doctor using wifi. There's also talk of stomach acid being used to power batteries. In reality, there is no telling where this rapidly paced industry will head to next.

So what does this mean for doctors? The way our health care system is set up is surely going to change. Rather than rushing to doctors in an emergency, we will most likely head to the doctor anytime our devices alert them to a problem. Rather than learning how to diagnose a patient by sight and sound, doctors are going to need to be adept at spotting trends in our health data. In fact, we could get a whole new kind of medical professional, a data analyst. One that can link certain statistics and anomalies to serious health conditions. Oddly, this could have us seeing our doctors more frequently instead of less. It will also increase our doctor's value. If you're being seen, it's because they've spotted something potentially dangerous. The near future could have doctors studying both medicine and statistics.

For a confidential discussion to review and discuss the direction of your medical practice contact our office and arrange a time to meet with John Clarke. Book an appointment time online via or phone our Sunshine Coast Office on 07 54754300  or Brisbane Office on 07 38423128 to arrange an appointment.


Imagine a world in which it's easier to grow your business than you thought. Imagine a world in which just ten simple steps could help you take your business to the next level starting today.

Thanks to Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local and Cofounder & Chairman of Likeable Media, you don't have to imagine. Because he has 10 proven business strategies that have brought him massive success over the last seven years. And Kerpen shared these insights with Chad Cooper in a Tony Robbins webinar. 

Here's a look at Kerpen's 10 key ways to building a $10 million business:

Find trustworthy partners

Whether it's a close friend or family member, partner with people you can trust. Most of the time, we focus on the character and virtues of those we are legally partnered with. But vetting other people and entities that you are associated with - including your vendors and advisors - is equally critical. 

Create a strategy and focus

One of the biggest mistakes young business make is over-committing. They end up saying yes to almost everything and lacking a clear focus. But if you try to be all things to all people, chances are you will fail. Start with making a one-page strategic plan that forces you to focus on creating and doing one thing for one target audience. Verne Harnish's one-pager provides an ideal framework to help structure this thought process. With a singular focus, you can harness all of your energy and effort and direct it towards a specific outcome. 

Say no to what's off focus

Saying no to anything that isn't in your direct line of fire may be difficult to do at first, but can actually be one of the smartest business decisions you make in the long run. Even if it means firing your own customers. Why? Because it frees you up to focus on your target, it allows for more space and bandwidth to grow, and makes you available for the yes's. 

Find peer support

If you're a business owner, you know what's at stake and how much risk is involved in running a company. But how do you handle the fear of failure? Where do you go for advice and guidance? That's why finding a peer community is so important. Not only can this provide a confidential atmosphere where you can find support and valuable insight, it can be instrumental in the process of learning the most efficient and effective ways of taking your business to the next level. 

Form a board of advisors

Coordinate a group of trusted mentors to counsel you on key issues in growing your business. While an advisory board may not seem like a critical component of business success, it can actually become one of your most important assets in business development - providing the strategic advice and complementary skills to take your company to the next level. 

Hire slow and fire fast

The sooner you part ways with employees who aren't the right fit, the better. Most of us, however, do the opposite. We hire quickly to fill the position when we really should be taking our time to determine if the candidate has the right nature, the right personality and whether or not their core values align with those of the company. Then we are quick to let the person go, even though we know in our gut that it isn't working. By hiring slow and firing fast, you will find that it is more efficient and effective for you, your business and for that person. 

Build great values and culture

Take the time to create a space where your employees want to spend their time. Think about it - you spend more of your waking hours at work and with fellow employees than anywhere or with anyone else. So isn't it worth taking the time and money to create a place that people enjoy working? What is the culture at your company? Do you have a strong set of core values and do your employees value these standards? Building a company where people want to go to work is one of the most pivotal ways to building a growing and sustaining company.

Build your brand

With social media at your fingertips, this is the single best time to build a brand online. It wasn't that long ago that you needed to hire a PR agency to create brand identity and awareness. But now, if you are determined and diligent enough, you can build a brand by creating quality content every single day and leveraging social media outlets to attract and engage an audience. 

Ask for referrals

The best form of marketing is through your current customers. While this may seem obvious, most of us just don't do it. We may feel uncomfortable asking existing customers for referrals or we may not realize how powerful a marketing asset this can be. But if you don't try you won't reap the benefits. And it's actually quite simple to do, if you know how to present your products or services with certainty, and can go a long way towards building your business .

It's the people

The single most important factor in your success is your people - your partner, your advisors, your staff, your peers. All of these individuals will help you do the work to take your business to the next level. That means you don't have to do it alone, but you do have to find the right people, and empower them, so you can harness the power and potential of their talent, skill and drive.


3 Tips to Improve your Business Bank Balance




The magic ingredient to help your business grow is the capital to support your growth.

'Cash flow' equals delaying outgoing costs long enough to make sure you have enough incoming revenue to pay for them as well as leave a bit for profit. Sometimes finding the sweet spot between 'cash in' and 'cash out' feels like chasing the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Your profit will build up your capital to invest in growing your business. That's easier said than done as many businesses have to provide their services long before they receive any income from the work they've done.

Here are three tips to help improve cash flow – to give growing businesses the funds and stability to grow.

1. Get paid faster

Not sending invoices out instantly? You need to fix that.

Put it this way: every minute that goes by when an invoice hasn't been sent to a customer is costing you money. Get your invoicing process under control to improve your business bank balance.

Online accounting software – or an integrated business management solution – gives you the ability to invoice instantly and to convert orders or quotes into invoices at the click of a button. Dashboards showing aged debts make sure that you know who owes you and when it was owed.

2. Reduce stock on hand

Stock costs a business money. If you're in the business of selling products, this is a necessary expense, but the sweet spot between too much and too little stock is difficult to find. Without the right inventory system in place it can be hard to achieve.

Simple things like setting minimum/maximum stock levels and automatic re-ordering, knowing what sales are coming up, what trends or seasonality changes you need to consider and how they affect your business or even knowing the latest exchange rates can help you to make better purchasing decisions.

A big problem is visibility over stock. Switching to an integrated business solution would allow automation of reordering and ensure stock was always on hand, enabling freeing up capital that can be invested back into the business.

3. Reduce costs and overheads

The most straightforward way to improve your bank balance is to get more cash in, and see less cash out. Reducing operating costs and overheads is a good way to see progress in the profit equation.

Consider these to trim fat from your budget.

  • Outsourcing: Outsourcing is a great way to keep your costs down either while growing or when you need to reduce some overheads. Two areas that can be outsourced are IT and administration work.
  • Suppliers: If you currently order stock from multiple suppliers, consider locking in with one supplier instead. They will benefit from fixed costs and higher volumes and you will benefit from lower costs and easier to manage relationships.
  • Budgeting and forecasting: Make sure that you know what you have to pay when and review your key numbers regularly so that you can spot trends, opportunities or risks. Be realistic about spendings, allocate appropriate resources to projects, monitor performance, improve decision-making, identify problems before they occur – and meet your objectives.
  • Systems: Implementing a business management solution often brings planned cost savings from better visibility, reduced administration time, savings from stock management improvements, increased time billing and many more areas.

There are many ways to increase your business bank balance. Some can be implemented straight away; others require the implementation of software or a process change. The ability to increase the amount of funds on hand to help support growth is what will separate your business from your competitors.

Want to find out more?

Is your business growing? For more information about how you can improve your bank balance and inject more profit into growth, contact our Enterprise Solutions team today. is my personal favorite: It's a free tool that lets you mass unsubscribe from all the newsletters you don't read. You can either unsubscribe from everything at once (my recommendation), or you can pick and choose. Read this blog post to learn more about how it works.


2) Remove yourself from any internal company and business threads you don't need to be on.

Once you've unsubscribed from external newsletters, it's time to evaluate the internal emails you receive on a regular basis. Do you really need to get email notifications every time the sales team closes or deal, or every time someone on the marketing team reports a bug?

If the answer isn't a definitive "yes," do yourself a favor and remove yourself from whatever alias or list you're on. If that makes you wildly uncomfortable, compromise by creating a folder in your email client and send those emails to that folder automatically. (To set at up, you can create filters in Gmail or rules in Outlook.)

3) Understand -- and embrace -- that you can't respond to everything.

Part of maintaining a manageable inbox -- and your sanity -- is to change the way you think about email a little bit. Only you can decide what deserves your very limited time and attention. When it comes to email, understand that there's simply no way you'll be able to respond to every single email that arrives in your inbox, let alone read them all.

I love the way Merlin Mann puts it: "Stop thinking of emails like precious family heirlooms, and start treating 'em like pints of milk. Perishable, time-stamped milk that becomes a little less fresh every day until it smells kind of funny and just needs to be dumped. Believe me, there will always be more coming."

So if you're looking at an email and know in your heart of hearts you're never going to respond to it, archive it. Better yet, delete it. As Mann says, "Trust your instincts, listen to them, and stop trying to be perfect."

4) Keep your replies brief whenever possible.

When you do have to reply to an email, you'll find that in most cases, you don't need to craft the perfect response. Often, a few sentences will do; in some cases, a few words. If you let an email with an action item sit for a few days, a quick "Do you still need this?" email might end up saving you a lot of time.

Don't feel guilty about sending succinct emails. If you're concerned your brevity will be taken the wrong way, give a heads-up to the folks you exchange emails with the most. Tell them that, in your effort to spend less time on email and more time on your actual work, you plan to cut down word count in your emails.

The better you get at deleting emails you don't need to read or respond to, the more time you'll have to write the emails that warrant those long responses.

5) Use pre-written replies.

Which types of emails do you find yourself typing out over and over, without really needing to customize them?

I, for example, often find myself referring people to HubSpot's guest blogging guidelines page. I used to write one-off emails to folks, meaning I'd have to craft a few sentences, find and copy the link, and so on. Now, I give myself ten minutes back in my day by sending pre-written replies via Gmail's "canned responses" feature.

Gmail, Outlook, and other email clients offer canned responses. Below are instructions for setting up and using them in Gmail. 

To Set Up Canned Responses in Gmail:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and choose "Settings."
  2. Click the "Labs" tab, find Canned Responses at the top, and click "Enable." Scroll down and click "Save Changes."

To create a canned response, compose a new email and click the little arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the new email. Choose "Canned responses," and then "New canned response." From there, you can name your new canned response, write it, and save it. Anytime you want to use it, simply go back to that little arrow, choose "Canned responses," and click on the one you'd like to use. (Learn more on Google's website.)

To Set Up Canned Responses in Outlook:

In Outlook, the best option I could find was to set up your canned responses as "Signatures." That way, when you reply to an email, you can choose the appropriate "signature" and the whole canned reply will appear. Here's how to do that:

  1. On the Outlook menu, click "Preferences." Under "E-mail," click "Signatures."
  2. Click the plus icon to add a new signature.
  3. A new signature will appear under "Signature name" with the label "Untitled." Double-click "Untitled," and then type in a new name for your canned response.
  4. In the right pane, type the text that you want to include in the signature -- in other words, type in your canned response.

Once you create the canned response as a signature, you can add it to a new email by clicking in the message body, choosing the "Message" tab, clicking "Signatures," and choosing a signature from the list. (Learn more on Outlook's support page.)

6) Employ a one-click rule.

This rule might seem simplistic, but it's a huge time-saver. The "one click" refers to a single click to open an email once. Once it's open, decide exactly what you want to do with it right then and there: Reply, forward, send to a folder, archive, and/or delete.

The point here is to not open an email, read it, and then decide to deal with it later and move on. That's the bad habit that'll guarantee you a clogged inbox and more stress down the road.

7) Triage emails using "special stars" in Gmail.

If you use Gmail and your goal is to get to inbox zero and maintain it, then I'd like to direct you to the email system that's changed the way I do email. Here are the full instructions. This works great in conjunction with the one-click rule we just talked about.

The premise is this: In Gmail, you'll set up multiple inboxes and give each of them a name, like "Needs Action/Reply" and "Awaiting Response." Your general inbox will then appear on the left, and your labeled inboxes (which Gmail calls "panes") will appear on the right, like so:


You'll use what Gmail calls "special stars" -- kind of like Gmail's labels, but better -- to categorize every single email that comes into your inbox.

Every time you get a new email in your inbox, you'll want to:

  • Reply to the ones you can right away.
  • Label the emails you need to deal with later by marking them with the appropriate special star.
  • Archive or delete any emails you don't need to deal with.

In the end, you'll archive everything. Your inbox will stay at zero, and everything else will either be in its designated pane, archived, or deleted.

Use Outlook?

SimplyFile is a free organizational tool that'll help you categorize emails using folders. When an email comes in, all you have to do is drag it into the appropriate folder. You can organize both messages you're receiving in your inbox, as well as messages you're sending -- which you can file as you send them.


Image Credit: SimplyFile

8) Delegate emails to others using a collaboration tool.

Sometimes, you might find that you receive emails that are better handled by someone else. In these cases, you could either forward the email, or you can streamline the process by quickly sharing the email with someone on your team using an email collaboration tool.

There are a number of email collaboration tools out there to choose from. If you use Gmail, Hiver is a great choice: It lets you share Gmail labels (and therefore share folders) with other users, which you can use to assign tasks, delegate emails, and even track their status if you want to. If you need to add a quick note explaining what's going on in an email thread, you can do that right in the tool.


Image Credit: Hiver

9) Use the "yesterbox" approach.

"Yesterbox" is a methodology for managing your inbox created by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. This approach is kind of like inbox zero, except you're working off all the emails from yesterday and treating them like today's to-do list.

The basic premise is this: Every morning, you have a fixed number of emails to answer instead of an endless flood of new emails coming in. Once you finish dealing with yesterday's emails, you're done with email for the day. Here are the full instructions.

Like Klinger's methodology from #7, you'll categorize incoming emails into folders labeled "Yesterbox," "Today," "Action Required," "Awaiting Response," and so on. As new emails come in, you'll label them accordingly. But as for actually dealing with these emails -- that's left for a specific time on your calendar that you've designated for handling yesterday's emails. In the end, your Yeseterbox is a to-do list with static tasks.

It's that freeing sense of completion that makes this method so appealing -- but be wary that if your job requires you to tackle emails as they come in, this may not be the best method for you.

10) Set up filters when you go on vacation.

Vacations are awesome, but coming back to a jam-packed inbox is ... not so awesome. One way to manage your email workflow while you're gone for long periods of time is to set up filters.

This is an approach HubSpot's Director of Marketing Rebecca Corliss found worked really well for her when she went on her month-long sabbatical. Corliss was working in Gmail, but you can adapt this method for most email clients. In short, here's what she did:

  1. She created a new folder for her vacation ("Spain Sabbatical 2015").
  2. She set up a filter that recognized any emails being sent to * By putting the asterisk there instead of her actual email, she was able to capture not only emails that were sent to her work email address, but also emails sent to the company aliases she was on.
  3. She added a second filter that deleted irrelevant emails -- for example, all the daily and weekly digests she expected to receive, like metrics updates.
  4. When she returned, she strategically handled all her unread emails. For example, she searched for emails she wanted to respond to first by conducting key searches for her manager's email address.

Once these more time-sensitive messages are addressed, she blocked time to go through the remaining emails and respond only to the ones that were absolutely necessary. Here are the full instructions.

11) Block time to get back to inbox zero.

Dedicating specific chunks of time to get back to inbox zero isn't just for when you return from vacation. It should be something you tackle in short batches on a daily basis, and in larger chunks every week or so, depending how much new email you receive.

The purpose of batching email? So you aren't handling emails as they arrive. That can be a serious productivity killer, and can pull you away from projects and tasks that are more important than a perfectly clean inbox.

On a daily basis, limit yourself to dealing with new emails during fixed periods each day. For example, HubSpot Demand Generation Manager Amanda Sibley physically blocks off an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening on her calendar for getting her inbox in order. Do what works for you. 

12) Use keyboard shortcuts.

To make the process of reading, replying to, archiving, and deleting emails a lot faster (and generally more enjoyable), take advantage of any keyboard shortcuts your email client offers. Here are tips for keyboard shortcuts in Gmail and Outlook. If you use a different email client, do a quick Google search for the name of your email client + "keyboard shortcuts."

Keyboard Shortcuts in Gmail:

First thing's first: You'll need to activate keyboard shortcuts. To do this:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and choose "Settings."
  2. Click the "General" tab, find "Keyboard shortcuts," and select "Keyboard shortcuts on." Scroll down and click "Save Changes."
  3. Then, go back to "Settings" via that gear icon, click on the "Labs" tab, and find "Custom keyboard shortcuts" (by Alan S). Choose "Enable." Scroll down and click "Save Changes."

Once custom keyboard shortcuts are turned on, a new tab will appear in your Settings called "Keyboard Shortcuts." Head over there to learn the default keyboard shortcuts and customize them if you'd like.


Keyboard Shortcuts in Outlook:

Outlook doesn't let you customize keyboard shortcuts, but they have a heck of a lot to choose from. Here's the full list, and below are some favorites:

  • Create a new message: ? + N (Mac); Ctrl + N (PC)
  • Send an open message: ? + Return (Mac); Ctrl + Return (PC)
  • Save an open message and store it in Drafts: ? + S (Mac); Ctrl + S (PC)
  • Forward a message: ? + J (Mac); Ctrl + J (PC)
  • Display the next message: Control + ]
  • Display the previous message: Control + [
  • Delete the selected message: Delete
  • Mark selected messages as read: ? + T (Mac); Ctrl + T (PC)

Looking for more ideas for gaining and maintaining control of your email? Here are 11 inbox organization tools to try, as well as four solutions to getting "inbox zero" based on your personality.

Selling the Family Business

Selling the Family Business

Selling the Family Business

A family business is a journey - challenging, rewarding and often unpredictable. Should you decide to sell the business - often a daunting decision - careful planning and skilled execution are required to ensure a successful outcome. 

A recent survey of ultra-high net wealth individuals, highlighted the opinion that a lack of strategic planning for the family was the greatest destroyer of wealth. 

Perhaps the hardest decision for any family business owner is when, or if, to sell the family business. Selling a family business is like no other sale. It requires an approach which addresses both the family's issues and the business' issues as one, with the two often closely intertwined. It needs extensive preparation and great judgement, with timing and stakeholder management often critical. 

Most owners have strong family and emotional ties to the business - part of their family heritage and their collective identity. They may also wish to achieve specific outcomes for wider stakeholders, including highly valued staff and long-standing customers. The challenge is even greater when family members are actively involved in the company. Some family members may take a purely commercial view, whilst others believe the business should be handed down to their children and grandchildren and be part of their livelihood and collective identity. 

The business is often the most valuable family asset, so the sale should not be considered in isolation from the wider interests and future intentions of the family. The use of proceeds and future careers of family members are important considerations in the long-term success of the family.

If you or someone you know is considering the sale of your family business talk to professionals that know the process inside out. Make some time to talk to us at and see how we can help at 

Contact Clarke McEwan