Thursday August 20, 2015
When was the last time you really felt you had enough hours in a day to get everything done that you needed to? As a small business owner, time probably isn’t your most abundant resource.
That’s why it’s so important to know where your time goes in a day. Are you spending most of your time creatively growing your business? Or are you caught up in day-to-day, repetitive tasks that are necessary to keep your business afloat?
In order to get back in control of your time, you first need to understand what things in your day are taking up more than their fair share. Here are five major time-stealers for small business owners. Time is one of the main ingredients necessary to grow your business. Anything you can do to reclaim your time puts you on track to growth.
If any of these tasks are dominating your day, make it a priority to find a solution that works for you.
Inefficient Planning and Communication
Often, a disproportionate amount of our time goes to just trying to get the whole team organized and on track. We create to-do lists, we send emails, and we sit in meetings that always seem to go on longer than they should.
Part of the reason this always seems to take longer than we anticipate is because of all the human elements involved. People get distracted, people misunderstand directions, and people forget things.
At AllProWebTools, we’ve found that the best way to organize tasks and priorities quickly and without errors is to move the whole process online. We use a cloud-based tasking system, live chat, and other online tools to keep everyone in the loop.
That way, there’s always a written copy of instructions. Deadlines and priorities are always clear, and progress can be monitored without the need for meetings.
How your employees spend their time affects how you spend your time. Your ability to reliably delegate tasks and trust that they will get done lets you spend your time and energy on growing your business. If you can’t count on your employees to get high quality work done in a timely manner, it’s time to either realign them, or look for new employees who can carry their weight.
Either way, knowledge is power. You need to know where your employees’ strengths and weaknesses lie, which means you need tools to measure their workload, efficiency, and progress on projects.
Time tracking is a great way to get started. Finding out how long it takes employees to complete tasks helps you understand how company time is being used, where knowledge gaps are for specific employees, and which employees work most efficiently at what tasks.
When was the last time you audited your clients? Really took a look to make sure work put in is translating into dollars earned? You can’t afford unprofitable clients, and you don’t have time to do work you aren’t being paid for.
Calculating the lifetime value of your customers is a great way to get started. Understanding how much revenue your customers bring in, compared with how much time and resources you spend on them, helps you keep an eye on the long-term health of your customer relationships. You can learn more about calculating customer value by clicking here.
So what do you do if you realize that some of your customers are draining your time and resources? It might seem counterintuitive that cutting clients loose could increase profitability, but it frees you up to pursue new customers that are a better fit. Here are some tips for breaking things off with a bad client.
Repetitive Administrative Tasks
It’s amazing how much of your day little administrative tasks can eat up. Little tasks like invoicing and order management can easily get out of hand without systems and processes to keep things organized.
Whenever possible, look for ways to reduce repetitive tasks. Eliminate the need for multiple entries and look for software that keeps track of the day-to-day without needing your input.
Where you can’t eliminate, automate or delegate.
Obviously marketing is crucial for growing your business, but if you go in without a solid strategy, it can be a huge waste of time. If you’re putting tons of time into designing and implementing social media, PPC, email, and content marketing strategies, you need to be sure they’re working well enough to justify the investment.
To avoid wasting time on directionless marketing, you need to constantly measure, test, and compare your different channels and campaigns. Keep and improve upon strategies that consistently pay for themselves. Cut out the ones that don’t.
Whenever you’re auditing your time, keep in mind the simple idea that your time should follow the money. That is, spend your time on the parts of your business that bring in the most money. Usually, you can find at least one or two areas where your priorities are out of line with that basic goal.
That’s where it’s time to start looking for a tool that can help you get back to putting your time where the money is.
What day-to-day tasks take up more time than they’re worth? Let us know in the comments!