As a small business owner you’re wearing many hats – marketing, accounting, business development, among others – and it can be overwhelming at times. To manage the day-to-day stresses of running your business and keep your sanity, it is important to effectively manage your time and take advantage of the resources that are available to you. Brother Canada suggests its top three tips to help maximize results in as little time as possible.
1. Focus on What’s Important…Keep a To-Do List
The challenge for many small business owners is how to prioritize activities that will bring in new business while ensuring that the existing business is being successfully managed. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to get and stay organized. Whether you use a “To-Do” list on a software platform or a smartphone app, be diligent about identifying and focusing on critical action items and deadlines. It’s good practice to end your day reviewing and updating your to-do list because it’s fresh in your mind and allows you to set your game plan for the next day. An additional bonus to staying organized: you can sleep a lot better when you know you’re accomplishing your daily goals because it means you’re on track to achieving long-term goals.
2. Delegate Tasks
You started your business from scratch and it’s been your blood, sweat and tears that has gotten it to where it is today. So, it’s no surprise that many small business owners find it challenging to delegate some of their work. You’ve hired a team that shares your vision, so delegate because it helps give you the time and energy needed to deliver quality work to your clients. Here are a few tips to help you start delegating effectively:
- Communicate the Task: Clearly describe the project or task, indicate when you want it completed and define the end results you expect.
- Consider Decision-Making Authority: Consider granting the authority required to complete the task because this will remove roadblocks and prevent delays.
- Get Commitment: Just because you’ve assigned a task doesn’t mean your employees accept it, be sure to confirm their commitment to completing it in the timeframe required.
3. Organize Your Workspace
Where did that invoice go? Where did I put my prospect’s phone number? Clutter – both physical and electronic – can negatively impact your productivity. Below are a few ideas to help you organize your office:
- Create a Filing System: A defined filing system for paper or computer documents doesn’t have to be complicated and it creates order on your desk or desktop. First, create separate folders for different needs. If you work with clients, for example, give each one its own folder, so you know where to store any document related to them. For computer files, establish a naming convention (e.g. Client-ABC Company, Client-XYZ Association), so they’re grouped together by subject (e.g. clients, suppliers).
- If You Use It…Keep it Close: Don’t waste time looking for things you use every day, keep them close to you. If you’re always looking for your cell phone, buy a stand and put it next to your computer so you always know where it is. There are no rules. It’s your space, so organize it in a way that suits your work style.
- Purge and Purge Again: File or recycle papers you’re not using any more. If you need to keep files for legal reasons, scan or store them where they can be accessed if needed. If you’re unsure whether to throw something away, find a place for it away from your workstation but easily found should you need it.
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