We get that running a small business is no easy task. As a small business owner, you wear so many hats and have so much on your plate that it can sometimes be difficult to prioritize and get things done. However, there are plenty of tried-and-true ways that can help you make the most of your valuable time. Time is of the essence after all; something that you can’t get back and that can make or break the success of your business. So we’ve gathered a list of 8 common time saving tips that small businesses just like yours swear by:
- Keep a calendar. Putting tasks on a calendar will help you prioritize your activities and keep you focused. If you use Google as an email provider there’s a built-in calendar ready to go. Of course, there’s Microsoft Outlook and a number of other online calendars available to you. Regardless of what tool you use – even paper-based – the idea is to set aside and designate time for certain tasks. This will allow you to stay on track and get all your tasks accomplished.
- Delegate where appropriate. As a small business owner, you sometimes feel the need to do it all. But don’t be afraid to delegate tasks that might be best for someone else to tackle a specific task. If you have employees, understand their strengths and use them to help you get things done. You’re paying for them after all, so get the most of their talents by delegating what you can.
- Outsource when necessary. If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably not also an accountant. Consider hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) that can prepare your taxes and give you the peace of mind that the IRS won’t show up at your business site. Also, consider hiring a bookkeeper to handle the month-to-month accounting and finances for your business.
- Take advantage of technology. Use all those wonderful free or inexpensive apps that the latest and greatest technology providers have afforded us. From QuickBooks to Evernote, apps and online tech tools can help you navigate your daily business challenges and help save you time. One of our favorite time saving business apps is Smartsheet. It keeps our projects organized and on-task, while sending us email reminders. Check it out!
- Tackle the hardest task of the day first. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” There’s some truth to this. Getting the hardest task of the day done first will make the rest of the day much smoother. Try it!
- Understand where your revenue comes from. This may sound silly, but you really need to understand what makes you money. If posting to social media drives revenue then do it… a lot. But if it just gets you likes and fans that don’t bring in revenue, then maybe you should do this after hours; while watching TV or relaxing after work. There are a lot of time drains – social media being a big one – that can steal your productive hours. It’s fun, we get it. Just don’t let it take valuable hours from what could really be driving your business success.
- Designate some time each day to longer term business success. So how will this save you time, you ask? Well, if you plan some time to strategize your business success and longer term growth, you’ll likely achieve some level of business success that will afford you more money to hire employees to take care of tasks that you would otherwise have to do. Company growth – one of your ultimate goals – helps you achieve a level of freedom from tasks that can weigh you down. Makes perfect sense!
- Consider the Pomodoro Technique. Huh? Central to the Pomodoro Technique is using a timer to break down work into intervals of 20-25 minutes, known as Pomodori or ‘tomatoes’ in Italian, separated by short breaks. The method, common in the software design industry, is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. Better mental agility of course can pay dividends in your business success. You can dive into Pomodoro here.
These eight time saving tips are just the tip of the iceberg, but can help you stay focused on your small business and its goals, which makes all the difference in how your business grows.