7 Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners
Time management skills are critical for small business owners. Here are 7 tips to help improve yours.
As a small business owner, you take on many roles each day. One minute you might be making critical business decisions about buying new equipment, and the next, you may be answering the phones or sweeping the lobby. Your entire workday is typically spoken for, but you almost certainly never feel like there are enough hours in the day. While you are probably right, learning how to manage your time effectively can help you make the most out of your 40 (or 60) hours each week. Here are 7 tips on how to effectively manage your time and boost productivity.
1. Optimize Your Business Processes
All businesses have processes they use to get products or services out the door. But, if your processes are inefficient, lack visibility, are overly complicated, or cause redundancies, it is time to make changes. Start with a business process review to document your existing processes and get feedback from employees about any challenges or roadblocks they experience. Optimizing your processes goes a long way in increasing productivity and efficiency. To learn more about business process optimization and how it can help your company, book a free consultation with the team at Kwixand Solutions.
2. Automate Where You Can
Automation is necessary in today’s fast-paced world. You can automate everything from your social media marketing to your employees’ schedules and events calendars. You should also utilize a business management solution that can help you cut down on administrative and manual tasks and manage your business operations. If you are just starting out, a cloud ERP solution like Dynamics 365 Business Central can help manage your financial activities, track employee data with their human resource module, automate your sales and purchase order management, and more.
3. Panning for the (Immediate) Future
When you run a business, your eye is always on the future. But, when your immediate goal is productivity, stick to planning for the next week or so and create a weekly schedule. Be sure to assign deadlines, add the tasks to your calendar, and set reminders. You can also encourage yourself to complete important projects by verbalizing your intent. If you have employees, you’ll also want to learn how to delegate. Harvard Business School explains that effective delegation begins with knowing what tasks to outsource to your employees and understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and goals. As you write your weekly plan, let your employees know that you expect each assigned project to be completed on time.
Speaking of setting employee expectations, effective time management also requires excellent communication skills. While you do not want to sit in meetings all day, do make a point to touch base with your key employees, vendors, or customers on a regular basis. A morning standup meeting, weekly newsletter, or monthly conference call can keep everyone on the same page, which will keep you from answering phone calls and emails looking for status updates.
5. Hello, Vacation
North Americans are tired. Business owners and employees in the United States, in particular, tend to take fewer vacation days than they should, which can hurt productivity. However, taking breaks - specifically going on vacation – can help you detach from work and return with more vigor and exuberance than ever. A week at the beach can make you more resilient to stress and keep you more engaged in the workplace. Having an opportunity to break away from the grind will also trigger the parts of your brain that inspire creativity. This is important work because creativity is crucial to problem-solving.
5. Groups Are Good
Grouping responsibilities together is an excellent strategy that can help you get more done. For example, plan to do all of your marketing one day, your accounting the next, and customer interactions on another day. This will help you get through your to-do list quicker and has the added benefit of keeping your mind on a single track. You will not have to switch gears as often, and you are less likely to forget important elements in each area. Another idea is to schedule your staff members and groups according to who gets along the best. Although you absolutely should expect your employees to be cordial with each other, you will notice that some work best together, and these groupings can help you get the most out of the hours they are on the clock.
6. Make Your Hours Count
If you own a physical storefront, how much thought did you put into scheduling your business hours when you first opened your doors? Probably not a lot, and it is likely that you simply followed trends in your area or industry. But there is something to be said about choosing your own hours based on what’s best for you. You do not have to be open at the same time as every other shop in your town. In fact, opening a bit later and even closing for a day midweek might be your best bet. If you are already using a point-of-sale system, you should be able to generate a report that shows how many sales you make each day and by the hour. You can use this information to determine if you need to change your schedule to accommodate your customers. You can also plan to bring in staff before opening your doors on certain days to handle maintenance tasks, such as restocking the shelves and cleaning.
Understanding The Importance of Time Management
Managing your time effectively is important for your business, but it is also crucial for your own personal health. Not only does learning time management skills help you relieve stress, freeing up minutes to hours each day will give you more time to devote to your passion projects, family, and social life.
As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to time management. But there are many ways to be efficient. Scheduling employees according to how well they work together, taking vacations, and using automation software are just a few tips that can help you get more done each day. While we cannot give you more hours, learning to effectively manage the ones you have will help you achieve the balance that we all seek when we first become business owners.