For many people, opening up their own business is a dream come true. After all, being your own boss does have a lot of perks, from having your own schedule to having people work for you instead of the other way around. However, as peachy as it may all sound, it’s never quite that simple in reality.
Any business owner worth his salt—no matter if it is a small- or medium-scale enterprise, or if it is a massive multinational corporation—will say that it all entails hard work. A lot of hard work. Nothing comes for free, that’s for sure. So if you’re up to having those perceived perks, you will have to put in the effort in order to get it.
The good news is that you don’t have to exhaust yourself at every instance, or spread yourself out too thin, in order to achieve your desired goals and targeted objectives. Believe it or not, there are also business hacks that small and medium businesses (SMB) can employ to make life just a tad simpler and easier for everyone.
Blocking Tasks for Focus
A common pitfall of new business owners is that they always tend to micromanage their enterprise. From conceptualising to searching for unsecured small business loans or equipment loans, toproduction and sales and delivery, even all the way to auditing, they always want to be in on the action. Being hands-on is a mark of committed owner, of course, but it does not necessarily make one an effective business owner.
The likely end scenario with cases like this is that this type of business owner will be overwhelmed with all the tasks he or she has taken upon themselves. Spreading yourself out too thin, for whatever objective or pursuit you may have, will ultimately be counter-productive.
So how can you design a feasible time management scheme that will allow you to be as efficient as possible in your daily tasks running the business? One idea could be for you to plot your schedule in time blocks. The science behind this is that it should let you eliminate the distractions that usually plague the multitasking entrepreneur.
Say, for example, you allot yourself about 60 minutes (1 hour) for one specific task, be it dealing with paper works or meeting with staff. Make this task block exclusive, and do not let anyone or anything interrupt you. Instead, you can attend to those interruptions (incoming phone messages or emails, staff concerns, etc.) during your break at the end of the 60 minutes.
If you dedicate a fixed time to one specific task, then you should be able to exert all your effort and focus on that task alone. Before you know it, you would have already accomplished much more than you normally would if your tasks are fragmented and constantly interrupted by other matters.
However, do not forget also to make room for certain concerns that will require your immediate attention. Flexibility and adaptability still remains key to the entire process.
Plot Weekly and Daily Schedule
Corollary to the item above, another crucial life hack for the new business owner would be to plot as detailed as possible the weekly and daily schedule. Since you are expecting to have a lot on your plate, you can, at the very least, try to organise your tasks. Having an organiser is not enough. What is key is for you to fill and update that organiser as concisely and efficiently as possible.
The weekly schedule ought to help you have an overview of what are the tasks or to-do items that will be most likely taking up much of your time. By highlighting major appointments—such as client or supplier meetings, or even financial backer meetings so you can get additional small business funding—you can easily determine how to adjust or re-calibrate the rest of your schedule around these items.
Meanwhile, your daily schedule should help you manage your tasks by the hour, wherein you can apply the concept of time-blocking discussed above. Make sure, however, that you don’t fill up every conceivable blank space in your daily organiser. You should also make room for breaks or breathing time, otherwise you will only end up going back to square one, or that of having too much on your plate.
Fortunately, there are plenty of apps that are now easily available online offering comprehensive calendars for the busy entrepreneur. Use this technology to your advantage, and make a better plot for your schedule. You just might be surprised at how productive you can be even given the limited time that you have.
Maintain a Healthy Distance, Practice Hands-Off
Basically, what this simply means is that you should work to train your staff or managers well enough such that you can turn over or delegate certain tasks to them. At the root of all your time management problems lies your compulsion to get involved in every step of the business processes. Again, while this may be reflective of how committed a boss you are, it does not always make you a good one. Instead, it makes you appear as if you don’t trust your staff, or you don’t know what to do so you just end up dipping your hands into whatever task you can think of.
Leadership is a crucial element in having a successful business. Inasmuch as you trust your ideas, you must also be able to trust the people working for and with you that they can be on board your team as a significant member. At the same time, delegating tasks to them should relieve you from those that are otherwise hindering you from focusing on the more important matters, such as facing clients personally to establish business relations with them.
Remember, you are not expected to carry the full weight of your business operations. That is precisely why you hired people to help you in the first place—let them help you. This is especially important for those items that you are not very well-versed with. It is up to you to make the team work to your advantage. Give them the opportunity to work with you, not just for you.
These are but some of the many steps you can take to streamline your business processes and operations even more. Prioritising your business’ organisation and workflow can greatly impact the success of your endeavor. Put much thought into these and apply them well, and you should see your enterprise running smoothly than when you first started.