Time is that one resource every single business owner wishes they had more of; the adage ‘Time is money’ certainly rings doubly true for entrepreneurs. Since there is (currently) no way to clone ourselves in order to get more things done at the same time, we can only make sure the precious time we have is well utilised.
Here are four tips to help small business owners maximise the limited time we have:
1. Stay organised.
Small business owners are always faced by an overwhelming number of tasks that need completing (yesterday), but one of the biggest obstacles to getting things actually done is actually being disorganised. How many of us have spent too much time wondering where we stored a physical file in the office, or even a digital one in our computer?
In fact, getting organised means developing effective personal organisational strategies and tools, especially when it comes to clutter. Once you’ve identified what your organisational challenges are, you can then proceed to overcome them. It could be something as simple as getting a filing cabinet to store all your important documents, or setting aside an hour a week just to manage one’s digital files – putting them into the right folders, or using a proper file naming convention – so that you don’t waste time digging for them.
2. Delegate, or outsource.
One of the biggest problems with entrepreneurs and small business owners is an almost innate inability to trust someone else to do the job they’ve been doing for some time. The truth is that delegating tasks to a competent employee you trust, or outsourcing a function to a skilled professional, can actually help get the job done well and – in quite a number of cases – faster than you can handle it yourself.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are actually those who understand this simple principle – Virgin Group’s Richard Branson once admitted to Entrepreneur Magazine that his success stemmed from relying on his team of CEOs and top managers to help take his companies to where they are today. “Virgin’s ability to grow and diversify successfully was set in the company’s early days, with my learning how to delegate and let go,” he had said.
3. Manage your time wisely by leveraging technology.
Entrepreneurs should not be adverse to using technology to simplify one’s tasks – when online pundits say that there’s an app for everything, it’s literally true. Today there is an entire slew of productivity tools – whether for the web or your mobile phone – that can easily help to manage your personal and professional lives.
Service providers who need to manage their schedules – whether you are an orthodontist, hairstylist, plumber or a courier – can find time management solutions to help them easily plan their client appointments online, such as with Timendo. Those handling huge projects can employ online project management solutions that help them plan various stages of a project and the milestones required to bring the project to fruition.
Most of these solutions have mobile versions as well, so you can even use them on the go.
4. Avoid distractions.
In the day and age where social media reigns supreme, it is far too easy to get distracted by all those notifications pinging away, whether it’s a friend’s Facebook update or an instant message via some online chat service. And while some of us do use such services to communicate with partners or customers, in most cases they are of a personal nature and can be a productivity killer. One of the best ways to deal with this problem is to simply set aside a specific time to deal with your social media tools, such as half an hour before lunch.
Likewise, impromptu meetings or even a coworker stopping by your desk to chat can derail your productivity. Some business owners actually set aside a specific time window for employees to drop by for an unscheduled chat, while the rest of their time is off-limit unless there’s an emergency.
Do you have any other time-saving tips for business owners? Sound off in the comments below.