3 Ways To Optimize Small-Business Owners’ Time Management
There are two things every small-business owner wishes he or she had more of: time and money. While obtaining a merchant cash advance can be easy, finding additional time in the day can be tricky. Running a small business can be a demanding job, and owners can often find themselves stymied by an inability to get to every last item on their to-do list. Short of attaching more arms, there are ways to optimize your time management. Besides, what good is getting a merchant cash advance if you can’t find the time to properly utilize the additional money to improve sales, grow the business and boost profits?
Many owners vent about the time spent on non-revenue-producing activities, when instead they’d rather be interacting with clients, chasing down prospective leads and growing the business.
Here are three ways to optimize your time management:
- Stick to a schedule
At first glance, this might seem easier said than done. Most owners wake up with a list of things they want to get done in the day, but then the unpredictable nature of day-to-day operations has a way of interfering with this schedule and sending the owner off track. It’s a regular complaint. However, as the owner, you need to carve your schedule in stone instead of writing it in pencil. The schedule doesn’t have to be delineated to the exact minute, rather it can be a fluid suggestion of how to spend your time. For instance, The National Federation of Independent Business wrote about small-business owner Rebecca Epperson, founder and CEO of PR Etc, a public relations firm. Epperson divides her week into “focus,” “free” and “buffer” days. The three middle weekdays are her focus days, when she concentrates exclusively on growing her business. Mondays and Fridays are buffer days she uses for internal matters and paperwork. And while weekends are her free days, this wasn’t always the case as a new business owner. A schedule like this allows you to be flexible in what you’re able to deal with, while also ensuring you can commit serious time to important matters.
- Embrace automation
As a small-business owner, chances are you do it all, from accounting to marketing. Paying vendors, employees and invoices in addition to marketing can be a serious drain on your time. According to SMB Finance Research, financial processing can cost owners up to two full business days a month. That’s 24 days in a year – almost a full month spent on reviewing numbers, double checking every figure and writing out the appropriate checks. By automating these onerous tasks, owners can gain a significant chunk of time back each year. Many companies and apps take care of much of this work automatically, and at a low cost.
- Go virtual
Many small businesses, especially those just starting off, are a one-man operation: namely you, the owner. Often this is due to razor-thin profit margins and a lack of available working capital to pay additional employees. Hiring more workers typically means renting larger office space and providing necessary tools, such as computers, phones and other supplies. Instead of wasting your valuable time on scheduling meetings and chasing down invoices, hire a virtual assistant. Modern collaboration technologies like instant messaging, video conferencing and cloud-based servers/networks, mean you can hire an assistant who never has to come into the office, or even live in the same time zone as you. With a small up-front expenditure for the new employee, you can leverage the investment into new sales and additional revenue.