Business operations can be hectic. True, there may be off hours or even off days. Most of the time, though, business owners are bombarded with tasks. You find yourself pulled in different directions throughout the day — whether it’s marketing, sales, operations, customers, accounting, you name it! Time management is essential to growing your business successfully.
Where do you allocate your time? What should you focus on? The answers to these questions depend on where in its lifecycle your business is right now. Are you just starting up? Just starting to expand? Taking your brand nationally, or globally? Each phase in your business’s life requires different strategies.
The best practice is to determine your ultimate goal. Ask where you see your company in three, five, ten, or even twenty years down the line, and from there assess your optimal tactics to achieve these ends.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you manage your time while running your business.
Figure out a system. Have a clear-cut view of the various processes in place in your business, and delegate them to your employees. Trust them with these tasks; avoid micromanaging at all costs. Focus your energies on your expertise and the jobs you enjoy doing. This way, you can be more passionate about what you’re doing, and those who work for you can use their expertise to turn your business into a well-oiled machine.
Limit your email time
Every business owner is inundated with hundreds (if not thousands) of emails every single day. The most effective way of dealing with this is to carve out a piece of time during your workday and only check or respond to emails within that time frame.
How this looks to you will depend on the nature of your business operations and your personal preferences.
- Closing Time – One option is to keep from opening or touching your emails until the very end of the day. If your business cycle is more active in the afternoon, or if you find that you are most productive in the mornings, then blocking off time later in the day will allow you to maximize your most profitable time and stay in touch with your clients.
- Start the Day – Another alternative is to deal with emails first thing in the morning. If you choose this method, you need to avoid re-checking your emails throughout your day. This can wear down on your effectiveness and limit your productivity.
- Delegate – Unfortunately, neither of these strategies work for some businesses, specifically those dealing with emergencies. Though clients in need of emergency services typically choose to make a phone call, some do communicate via email.
In this case, assign one of your staff members to monitor client emails during peak revenue-generating hours. This way, you can respond to emergencies without spending a large chunk of your day checking and re-checking your emails.
Another valuable tool for maximizing your efficiency is having a task or ‘to-do’ list so that you can track goals and objectives throughout the day, week, or month. Allocate the appropriate time for you to complete each task, and cross them off the list as soon as you accomplish them. Periodically review your performance, looking for ways to improve your efficiency.
Use the available tools
Technology has granted us a continuously growing pool of software and tools to help save time and increase efficiency. Look into the following and identify which software to add to your toolbelt:
- Email – Important factors include user-friendliness, space, and spam fighting tools.
Accounting – Choose one that’s cloud-based, has mobile- and multi-user access, and can support timesaving automation on top of core accounting functions.
- Data Storage – In addition to having ample amounts of space, your storage option should also be shareable for easy access to essential documents and files.
- Sales CRM – An efficient Sales CRM (customer relationship management) tool should be easy to use, accurate and fast when generating reports, customizable, capable of automating repetitive tasks, and able to integrate third-party apps.
Implement standard operating procedures that incorporate the use of productivity-enhancing software to manage your time well.
Outsource experts for specific tasks
Hire third-party entities for any task that requires niche skills your team may not be able to handle. They can help fill any gap in day-to-day or occasional business operations.
Allocate projects or tasks between the peak and off-season
If your business is seasonal, you have only a few months in a year to really sell. Allocating which tasks to do during the peak season and which to leave for the off-season can mean the difference between growth and stagnation. While demand is high, focus on selling. Leave other tasks, like equipment repair, education, and training when you have more downtime.
Maintain a well-balanced life
This step is as important as the others. Balancing your life gives you increased energy and more motivation to perform throughout the day. Get enough sleep, eat properly, spend time with your loved ones to help you remember the reason you’re in business in the first place.
Ultimately, the core idea is to understand how valuable your time is. You have only so many revenue-generating hours within the day. It is essential that you learn how to maximize this limited time to make as much profit as you can.
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