For most business owners, the day starts out with a simple goal: get things done. From that point, though, things tend to go downhill. There are phone calls, emails, meetings, clamouring clients, upset staff members – everyone needs a slice of your time. By the end of the day that strategic planning session you had scheduled has been pushed completely off your calendar.
If you’re tired of spending your day problem-solving instead of business-building, you need to simplify. Here are seven ways to do it.
1. Invest in non-invasive technology
Having the latest smartphone is often seen as an essential for business owners, but it can do more harm than good. It’s much better to invest in technology that takes some of the organisational work off your plate. Some things to consider include:
Improving your website to handle customer queries automatically – from simply providing more thorough information to creating online forms that cut down on your phone time.
Paying someone for social media – with increasing need to be active on the web, it’s a good idea to farm some of the work out.
Go automatic – systems that generate invoices, send out late payment notices and reconcile accounts can be an incredible saving in time.
2. Create procedures and templates
Business involves, in large part, doing the same things over and over again. Having written procedures and accompanying templates not only make tasks easier for you to complete, but easier to delegate.
Many business expenses are regular. Why pay each bill separately when they can be automatically paid?
4. Deal with emails and delete them
Answering emails takes up an enormous chunk of the business day. It’s best to have time set aside for emails, rather than email-watching all day. It’s also best to deal with them as soon as you read them, then get them off your plate.
5. Join tasks together
Things get complicated when lots of little jobs have to be done. Most things are connected, so formalise that process. Don’t deal with your website one day and your advertising budget the next – incorporate them into the same planning session.
6. Outsource where possible
So many tasks can be outsourced. The expense of outsourcing should always be set against the time you gain to grow your business.
7. Invest in a day of time accounting
Time slips away from all of us. One of the best ways to simplify your business is to figure out what’s made it so complicated in the first place, and time accounting is a great way to achieve this. Simply keep track of exactly what you do for one day, and how much time it takes. The results will tell you a lot about your current business processes, and your reaction will give you a good idea of what you need to do about them.