For small-business owners, being incredibly busy comes with the territory.
Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day—and you can’t work all of them. You have to sleep sometime, anyway.
While you may not be able to physically add more hours into your workday, by working smarter, you can make more of an impact in less time. Here are six time-management tips that can help you grow your small business into a large one.
Delegate tasks to your employees
You hired your team for a reason: They’re good at what they do. While you may be tempted to do everything yourself—or at least micromanage everyone to an excruciating degree—you won’t be able to take your company to the next level if you’re trying to do everything yourself. Additionally, if you are constantly looking over your employees’ shoulders, odds are that they will be quite frustrated. Remember—half of the employees who leave their jobs quit because they can’t stand their bosses.
There’s an easy fix: Don’t try to do everything on your own. Delegate tasks to the rest of your team and trust them to get the job done the right way.
Invest in new technology
Sometimes, you have to spend money in order to make it. If you’re relying on old tools and technologies, it’s time to invest in new computing infrastructure. By leveraging the cloud, for example, you and your employees will be able to tackle work-related responsibilities from any connected device. Instead of having to run back to the office to access mission-critical communications, your team will be able to keep on top of their chats and emails wherever they happen to be. Similarly, a restaurant can boost its efficiency by utilizing modern point-of-sale software.
Technology promises to make our jobs easier. By investing in modern tools designed specifically for businesses like yours, you can unlock additional optimization and make your team more effective.
According to a recent study, unified communications solutions—those that link email, instant message, video conferencing, and more in one central platform—can save businesses that employ 100 people as much as $920,000 over the course of the year. Not only will new technology allow your team to make a bigger impact, but it will also pad your bottom line.
Live and breathe the Pareto principle
The Pareto principle—also known as the 80/20 rule—tells us that 80 percent of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts. In the business world, the Pareto principle means that 80 percent of your revenues, on average, will come from 20 percent of your clients: the most loyal ones.
By understanding the Pareto principle and operating in accordance with it, you can work more effectively, focusing on the tasks and clients that are most likely to send the most business your way. This is not to say that you should ignore clients that don’t give you as much revenue. Rather, understand that your time is valuable and invest it accordingly.
Take time off
No matter what you think, you don’t have a never-ending supply of energy. While you may be tempted to work longer and longer hours, studies show that productivity starts to drop off after putting in 50 hours in a given workweek. After 55 hours, output falls off a cliff.
If you want to increase your productivity, you need to be sure you take enough time off to recharge your batteries. Otherwise, you may find yourself putting in herculean hours without having much to show for it.
Don’t say “yes” to everything
As a committed business owner, you care a great deal about making your company the best it can possibly be. In this light, you may be tempted to say “yes” to every request that comes your way.
You don’t have all the time in the world. Break out of the habit of saying “yes” to everything and choose your battles wisely.
Minimize your distractions
No matter how focused you are on growing your business, it’s almost certain that you waste time being distracted over the course of the average workday. Maybe you spend too much time on Twitter. Maybe you’re on Facebook all day checking out what your friends are up to. Maybe you read a ton of news.
Whatever the case may be, distractions can significantly thwart your productivity. Do your best to minimize these distractions and you’ll be able to get more things done. If you’re unable to prevent yourself from hopping onto your favorite websites over the course of the day, use a tool like RescueTime that makes it impossible for you to access certain sites during specific periods of time.
As a small-business owner, you’re pulled in a million different directions every day. Unfortunately, you can’t pack more hours into the workday.
The good news is that you can be a more effective business owner with a better approach to time management. Do it the right way and you’ll be able to get more done in less time. The end result? A happy, healthier company with more money in the bank.