One of the hardest things as an entrepreneur is to find enough time in the day to put all of your ideas into fruition. As a small business owner you wear multiple hats daily whether it is general admin, accounts, sales, marketing and content creation or delivery of the service/product it can be hard to stay in the ‘zone’ and focus on the task at hand.
Over the years I have gone from starting my business as just a sole trader to over time expanding it at one point to over 35 staff and multiple companies, this baptism of fire has given me insight into how to effectively manage my time so that I can get the most out of my day and therefore overall success of my businesses.
With that in mind I have three key points that will help you master your day and get the most out of your productivity to improve your overall business performance!
Focus on high value tasks first and foremost
Focus is a term that many people truly fail to grasp. Firstly when you focus you need to put all of your energy and thoughts into that thought process or task at hand without distraction. Secondly that focus needs to be put towards tasks that bring immediate or short-term value to the business. For example let’s just say you come into work Monday morning and you have the following tasks to complete:
- Contact leads that have come into the business over the weekend
- Respond to general client administration
- Create new content for your business
- Contact a client for some customer feedback
- Do an accounts reconciliation for the previous week
Which of these tasks would bring back immediate results for your business? If you answered 1 then you are correct, contacting new business opportunities is going to potentially result in a greater return for your business that week. So in terms of a return on time investment follow the order below when it comes to tasks so that you are always getting the most out of your time:
- New customer inquiries: If they are not contacted within 24 hours your rate of conversion will drop by up to 50%. You must strike whilst the iron is hot and remember nobody will ever sell your business as well as you do!
- Content creation and marketing: In today’s business world content creation is king as it is essential to establishing yourself as an authority figure. Traditional marketing in 75% of industries is dead; it now resides digitally through social media platforms and Google. Without the creation of content and an effective strategy to market it you are dead in today’s business world. This is an area though you can outsource if you are pressed for time or need help but I recommend you at least grasp the concepts of it, as it is crucial to know every aspect of your business.
- Existing customer feedback: To grow your business much of the time you only need to turn inward. Your existing client base should be your raving fans and those whom you can turn to for new client referrals, testimonials to promote your business etc. As a rule of thumb be sure to engage with your clients within the first 2-3 weeks of them using your service or product, this will allow you to counter and potential concerns they may have and it also shows them you are open to making their experience with you a better one. There are also these days plenty of CRM software platforms that can help automate this process for you so remember whilst results do matter, many people will stay with you for the experience and journey with your business.
- Everything else: Accounts, reporting, general client administration all fit in this basket here which is often mistakenly prioritized first rather than last. The reality is even though these things are all important to the smooth operation of your business they are not going to translate to immediate business revenue and are the type of tasks that if your business grows could easily be passed onto to an administrative assistant.
Every minute of your day needs to be scheduled
Consulting many business owners over the years one of the key issues I have found is lack of simple diary management. For example if Monday morning is for new client sales and lead generation how much time have you allocated for it and what exactly are you doing what that time?
For years I have itemized every single thing in my daily diary, whether it is snack time, training it is all in there. An example of this would be the following, which could be a Tuesday:
- 6:00am: Wake Up, Shower & Get Ready
- 6:30am: Breakfast
- 7:15am: Drive to the office
- 7:45am: Previous day accounts reconciliation
- 8:00am: General business admin
- 9:00am: New client sales
- 10:00am: Eat
- 10:30am: Existing client feedback
- 11:30am: Train
- 12:30pm: Post workout shake, shower & change
- 1:00pm: General business admin
- 3:00pm: Content creation
- 5:00pm: End of day wrap up
- 6:00pm: Finished for the day
Does your daily schedule look as itemized as this? If not you need to make it look similar! Either Google calendar or iCal are great tools that you can use to manage your daily timetable for more effectively.
Take some ‘you’ time every day
What is ‘you’ time? You time is time that is spent on something that benefits you as the priority and nobody else. Now that might sound selfish, however sometimes you need to be selfish so that you can actually give more to your family, loved ones and business. What type of things constitutes you time?
Things such as exercising, meditation, walking your dog, sitting alone by yourself without your phone or laptop and reading something are all things that you can do for either your body or your mind. Many business owners do some of these things intrinsically without even realizing why they are doing it, the reality is in business we tend to give up too much of ourselves for our clients, our family etc. which over time will lead to burn out, something I myself suffered significantly from in 2012 when I was struck down with Lyme disease.
How I got myself out of that period in my life was by introducing my daily you time for no less than 30 minutes per day 7 days per week, doing this has allowed me to maintain my sanity whilst managing an excessive workload.
In closing I promise you that if you start applying these three strategies daily you will see an improved level of productivity from yourself that is not only going to benefit your business, but you as an individual.