The average small business owner is ambitious, dedicated and perhaps a little obsessed. While these are certainly positive, and potentially profitable, characteristics, they do come with one negative, a willingness to work eighty hour weeks.
It follows that if a small business owner wants to have a life outside of their business, they need to learn how to use their time as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately however, for many entrepreneurs, this is decidedly easier said than done.
Should you find yourself at the helm of a small business and you’re wondering just where all of your time is going to each week, here are eight possible culprits.
If you started out as a one man show, learning to let others make decisions can be tricky. Unfortunately however, hiring somebody only to spend your entire day following them around is completely illogical.
Micro management is not only a waste of time, it can wreak havoc with both employee morale and employee growth. It isn’t always easy but if you want to make the most out of both your time, and that of your employees, you need to let people do their jobs.
Refusing to Delegate
Another mistake that small business owners are notorious for is refusing to delegate. Again, this comes down to trust, or a lack of it. And the result is that many small business owners waste time on tasks that are at best, unimportant, and at worst, completely unsuited to their skill set.
As a human, your time is limited. And as a small business owner, your time is valuable. It’s therefore important to spend it exclusively on key tasks. And the only way that you can do that is to learn how to delegate those that are less important.
Few small business owners have the luxury of starting their day with a single task at hand. And when you give the average person ten different things to do, the temptation to multitask can be overwhelming.
Unfortunately however, multitasking does not work. It cuts personal productivity in half and it makes procrastination almost undetectable. Try to focus on one thing at a time. Surprisingly, you will get more done.
Answering Repetitive Questions
If you care about customer service, which you obviously should, taking the time to deal with the occasional customer enquiry is just common sense. What you shouldn’t be doing however is answering the same questions over and over again.
If this sounds all too familiar, the problem can be solved with a more informative website and a few pre written email responses. Don’t waste time writing something on a daily basis that you could just write once and reuse.
Too Many Meetings
Meetings are a necessary evil. Staff need to be kept up to date about the direction of your business and regular meetings are how you achieve this. Unfortunately however, there’s also no denying that they can really eat into your schedule.
Try to keep this fact in mind when deciding how many to have. Your employees don’t need to know everything about your business at all times. If something can wait until the next scheduled meeting, let it wait.
Email is a productivity trap for most people and small business owners are no exception. Needless to say, unread emails cannot be ignored. With a little bit of practice however, they can be handled in a much more efficient fashion.
First off, program your inbox to highlight important emails and bin those that are irrelevant. And secondly, stop checking your inbox twenty times a day. Set aside a certain amount of time each day for email correspondence and learn to stick to it.
Never Saying No
The best small business owners keep their doors open. It boosts employee morale and it ensures that if something goes wrong, they’re alerted to that fact sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately however, constant interruptions can wreak havoc with just about anyone’s productivity levels. It’s therefore important to set aside a certain amount of time each day for you to work uninterrupted.
Tell your employees that short of a fire, you need to be left alone.
Obsessing Over the Future
Finally, if there’s one thing that every entrepreneur needs, it’s good ideas. Unfortunately however, spending your entire day daydreaming about the future of your business is not how you get things done.
New business ideas should not be ignored. At the same time however, they shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of the day to day running of your business. When inspiration strikes, write it down, it’ll still be there when you get home.
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Today’s feature writer, Brian Smith, is an employee at YellowStone Capital, which offers restaurant loans. Whenever he isn’t busy, he enjoys spending time with his family. Click here for more information.