You’ve got a great product or service and you’ve connected with a solid customer base. If your business isn’t expanding like expected, you might take a look internally. The way you manage your business has a huge impact on the bottom line. Here are 5 areas to explore.
1. Time management
From order fulfillment to payroll to marketing and more, small business management is a fine art. Managing time is especially difficult with all of the distractions that come up throughout the day. Here is a sample of what might be sucking your valuable time away from your business responsibilities.
- Constant email checking
- Surfing the web mindlessly
- Frequently posting/checking/responding to personal social media accounts
- Micromanaging employees
- Unnecessary meetings
- Not delegating responsibilities (see below)
If these timewasters sound familiar, you’ll need to find a system to stay on track and complete tasks while achieving a healthy work/life balance. Here are two techniques to explore.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system with working intervals called pomodoros, the Italian word for tomato. This technique encourages people to quit working against time and work with the time they have. The workday is broken into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. After four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.
The 80/20 rule is also called the “Pareto Principle.” It was named after its founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, back in 1895. It basically states that 20% of your efforts end up producing 80% of your results. That's why it's important to manage your time in a way that focuses your attention on the main efforts that will help you achieve set goals.
For an in-depth look at tips you can use to help manage your time, review 9 Tips to Improve Time Management Skills. In addition to learning to say no, planning time to relax and setting deadlines, we’ll show you how time management tools and programs can help keep you organized.
2. Delegate tasks
You’ve probably heard the saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself”. While this can be true, it’s not a great strategy. You’re doing yourself and your employees a disservice by trying to handle everything. Not only will your work life suffer, but your personal life can be impacted as well. Delegating can be uncomfortable for many entrepreneurs. Here are steps you can take to make the process less painful:
Determine the tasks you’d rather not do - Does bookkeeping make your stomach hurt? Do you dread doing payroll? Look at everything on your plate and pick out the things you’d just rather not have to worry about.
Choose who you’ll delegate to - Don’t toss accounting duties onto an employee without the education and background required. Additionally, look at workload. You don’t want to delegate to a staff member who already has a lot of important responsibilities.
Make your expectations clear - A simple “you’re in charge of this now” isn’t going to do. You need to make sure you’ve trained the person taking over adequately. Discuss the “why” in addition to the “how” when you’re passing along a project or task.
3. Set concrete goals
A 2018 survey found that 63% of small business owners only plan roughly a year in advance. It can be tough for a multitasking business owner to step away from day-to-day tasks and focus on the future-but it’s important. One of the best ways to plan and prepare for the future is to set concrete goals.
When you think about the future of your business, what goals come to mind? You might want to increase revenue, expand market share, or introduce new products. Use the "SMART" method to craft specific goals. SMART is a set of criteria meaning your goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound
4. Keep up with technology
Time is money, especially for a busy small business owners. Technology gives time back to you by helping your business function efficiently and effectively. No matter what type of technology you use to complete tasks, finish projects, and reach goals, you need to keep up with the latest developments. Outdated technology can not only affect the speed of your business, it can affect security. Running an old system or app can even end up being more costly than running up-to-date systems. If technology isn’t your thing, task a team member with implementation of new systems and processes. There can be consequences when implementing new technology. Read our article, The 3 Biggest Dangers of Implementing New Technology in Your Small Business. You’ll learn what to look out for and how to avoid a potential negative impact.
5. Automate operations
When you automate operations, it means using technology for work processes to reduce or completely eliminate human intervention. Time spent on mundane tasks takes away from time you spend on activities that can increase revenue. When you automate certain tasks, you and your team can focus on more business building initiatives. Here are articles outlining ways you can automate all or part of the tasks associated with marketing, customer service, accounting, and more:
- Top 10 Business Marketing Apps for Small Businesses – Learn how apps can help you implement email marketing campaigns, collect leads, manage social media, and measure important metrics.
- 7 Top Scheduling Apps for Business - These apps are designed to streamline how customers interact with your business and book time with you.
- Apps Making Retailers Life Easier - Whether you’re a brick and mortar store, an e-commerce website or a retail outlet, we explore 4 apps that are guaranteed to make your life easier.