If you are a small business owner (SBO), then you know well the time demands you face everyday. From responding to emails, to dealing with paperwork and employees, day to day tasks can get overwhelming pretty quickly. Not to mention the fact that you still have to grow your business and find new opportunities to increase your ROI. To help combat this, in today’s blog post, we are going to look at some productivity tips for small business owners.
Top Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners
Below is our list of tips to help SBO’s increase their productivity every day and – possibly – free up some time for the important things in life: family, vacation, and personal time! Many business owners and managers dive into work with the mindset that if they can just get caught up on this week’s work, they will be able to take some time off over the weekend or even go on vacation.
Unfortunately this process rarely occurs, as by the time you get caught up on your current to-do list, another one has already formed. This is an endless cycle that many owners get caught in. The only real way to combat this is via the old saying: Work smarter, not harder.
If you run your own business, you are no doubt inundated with e-mails throughout the day. By the time you send one e-mail out or respond to one question, it seems like three more come in. Responding to all of these e-mails may appear like you are being productive, but in reality, you are probably spending your efforts in the wrong place.
For starters, only a portion of those e-mails are likely to be “important” or something that you need to answer right away. The vast majority are things you either never need to respond to, or can respond to in a day. There are two quick fixes that you can do to limit the amount of time you spend checking e-mail everyday.
First, set times that you will look at your e-mail. First thing in the morning, mid-day, and an hour before close of business are all good times. Second, set up a secondary “emergency” e-mail account or create a filter on your current e-mail that sorts messages – from people that you know you will need to respond to immediately – into a special inbox. This way, you can respond to the important mails without feeling the need to scan through your entire inbox.
If you are worried about offending clients or colleagues with this behavior, consider setting up an auto-responder that will thank people contacting you and letting them know that you will respond within 24 hours. Including your phone number in case of an emergency is also a great tool.
Be Productive, Not Busy
Along the same lines as above, the real goal of everyday is to be productive, not just busy. Believe it or not, those two things do not go hand in hand. Consider making a detailed list of the things that must be accomplished everyday and a separate list for things you would “like” to finish. Next, make a third list of things that are vital to the function of the company and bring in the most profit.
Finally, set these lists side by side and see if there are any tasks that overlap on more than one list. The items that overlap the most are the ones you should be focusing on.
Delegate Work Efficiently
Ask any successful businessman how they achieved success and more likely than not, their number one answer will be that they surrounded themselves with the right people.
Having a top notch team in your business is crucial. When picking vital team members, you may be tempted to go solely on expertise, and while that is certainly important, it is – surprisingly – not the most important aspect. Trust and reliability are much more important. After all, if you can’t trust an “expert” to do a job, what difference does it make how talented they are?
Pin-pointing the exact areas you need to be a part of in your business, and which you can delegate to trusted employees, is, perhaps, the most important and significant way you can increase your business’ productivity. In addition, delegating tasks frees you up for your real job: thinking of new ways to grow your business.