It’s a cliché, but it’s true: Time is money. This is especially true for small business owners, many of whom find themselves stretched to the breaking point by the number of things they need to do to run their companies effectively. When business owners become fatigued, productivity often suffers, which in turn has detrimental effects on companies’ bottom lines. Therefore, it is important to explore techniques that can save you both time and money if you are running your own business. Let’s examine five such techniques.
1. Prioritize your tasks. Create a list of activities that need to be completed daily, weekly, or monthly. Try placing the most important tasks first. If you aren’t sure which tasks are more important to your business, look into utilizing the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is predicated on the popular notion that 80% of profit is derived from 20% of a company’s products or services. Do a little investigating to find out which of your products or services fall into the 20% of your most productive endeavors and focus on those things while cutting back resources and time used on the less productive efforts. There are various apps available that can help you create your to-do lists efficiently.
2. Use technology to your advantage. If you are still doing your payroll, accounting, invoicing, etc. by hand, the chances are that you are losing countless hours of productivity. Find programs, services, and apps that will help you. You can find many free or affordable apps that will allow you to handle these business functions more efficiently yourself. If you move business processes to services in the cloud (Internet) instead of keeping them on site, you will also likely find them more accessible and easier to maintain. Additionally, social media marketing and electronic newsletters can be quick and inexpensive ways to market your goods or services.
Be careful, however. Don’t allow technology to take you too far from your company’s essential priorities. If you find that you are spending too much time answering e-mails, surfing the web, engaging on social media platforms, or managing apps while the business of your business is getting neglected, it may be time to set the technology aside for a time to restructure routines or reexamine goals. Technology should be a tool used to enhance your managerial experience and save you time; it should not distract you from your main business objectives.
3. Outsource tasks that can be better handled by others. Perhaps using your time or your employees’ time to handle bookkeeping or accounting doesn’t appeal to you. Perhaps doing these things wouldn’t be a good use of your time or resources. Consider hiring outside bookkeepers or Certified Public Accountants to keep your records straight and your company legal so you can focus on growing your enterprise.
4. Delegate where you can. Small business owners often put a great deal of responsibility upon themselves. The strain of carrying these burdens can cause stress and fatigue, which in turn can lead to further problems or conflicts both at work and at home. Business owners have employees for a reason. Take time to learn their strengths and weaknesses, and find a way to use their talents to maximize their value and take some of the pressure off you. This can be especially helpful if outsourcing is not a comfortable or realistic option.
5. Keep your energy level up. Taking short, frequent breaks can keep you mentally sharp. Staying mentally sharp can lead to increased productivity. If you stay well rested and well nourished, you can stay focused and efficient.
Furthermore, try developing strategies for tackling tasks that may keep you more energized throughout the day. Multi-tasking can be very draining, so it may be easier to conserve energy by knocking out one task at a time if possible. Some people find that taking on the most difficult task of the day first—while still fresh—makes the rest of the day go smoother. Finding strategies that will keep you more energized throughout the course of a day can keep both you and your business healthy.
There are a number of ways small business owners can save time, but these five may be among the most helpful. Try to find techniques that will work for you. If you are successful, you’ll probably be saving not only time but also money.
Is your business running at peak performance? If not, it can be very helpful to have an “outside” set of eyes to help identify strengths and areas of improvement. Leadership Excellence offers professional business coaching for small businesses to help your business reach its full potential! Contact us today to find out how we can help you grow your business.
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