Top Three Time-Saving Tips For Small Business Owners
1. Leverage technology.For example, maintaining a positive cash flow is critical to the financial health of any business, and the key to staying in the black as far as cash flow is concerned is to ensure that customers pay their bills on time. For that to happen, small businesses need to make it easy for their customers to settle payment - it's incredibly archaic, and not to mention time-consuming, for customers in this day and age to write out checks and mail it out. Instead, consider setting up an account with a merchant service provider in order to accept online payment. Not only will you save plenty of time from not having to go down to the bank to cash the checks, your bookkeeper and accountant will thank you for not drowning them in useless paperwork. Likewise, if you're the kind of entrepreneur who's always on the go, you can leverage on productivity apps for your mobile phones to help you simplify your busy life. Similarly, going paper-free for your filing system saves you plenty of hassle from trying to search for relevant documents.
2. Trust the experts.As a business owner with a limited budget it is always tempting to rely on yourself to do everything in order to save money. But the problem with that is that no entrepreneur is an expert in every field, which means you can end up spending too much time to get something done. Take bookkeeping, for example. You may want to try keeping your own books since doing all the work yourself gives you reassurance that everything is being done the way you want it. The problem is that growth leads to complexity and soon even the most routine of bookkeeping tasks can become too much for entrepreneurs to handle themselves. Things go awry when they can't cope. That can be short-sighted, and why we think you need to consider outsourcing your bookkeeping. By all means sweat the small stuff... but smart entrepreneurs hire experts to do the sweating on their behalf. If time is money, then spending some money to save a lot of time can save you even more money in the long run.
3. Work from home.This may sound counter-intuitive, but some small business owners can actually consider working from home. Not only do you incur costs commuting to and from the office - on petrol, parking, wear-and-tear on your automobile - but travelling can take up a significant amount of time. Try this - tally up the number of hours you spend on the road in a week as part of running your business, and you'll soon realize that much of it could have been spent more productively. Of course working from home doesn't apply to every entrepreneur - especially if your business entails you to run around visiting clients anyway - and certainly doesn't work for a lazy, procrastinating one. But for quite a number ( think designers, copywriters and developers) there is sufficient technology tools - virtual communication tools, remote file sharing services etc - to ensure you're just as productive at home as you would be in an office. And maybe even more.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.