According to a recent report conducted by Sage, small businesses spend on average 71 days on basic administration tasks. That equates to over 25% of the year spent on tasks such like accounting, HR, payroll, talent acquisition and training to name a few. As a small business, you cannot afford the large group of people needed to handle everything for you from start to finish. However, that does not mean you should be spending most of your days stuck doing tasks that eat away at your company’s overall productivity. Your customers should come first and foremost, as they are the drivers to your businesses’ success. So to help you grab back a few more hours a day, here are our top tips on making the most of your time:
This tip may seem simple enough but many small businesses do not take the time to prioritise. Instead of wasting time working on four different projects at once, prioritise which tasks need to get done first each morning. This will not only lead to less stress throughout the day but can help provide a game plan for what needs to get done for the day and what can be set to the side if need be.
Most individuals who own small businesses may have some idea of what they spend their time on throughout each day, but it is also important to realise how much time is spent on tasks. Break your time down on a periodic basis by writing down everything that you do throughout the day and how long it took to do it. It could be anything from office meetings to coffee breaks. This will help you to identify areas of your day where you are unproductive as well as which tasks are taking up the most of your time. Again, this does not have to be done on a daily basis, but doing it ever so often will help to keep your small business staying as productive as possible.
This tip may seem like a no-brainer as well but many within the small business community do not conduct proper scheduling. You may not have the luxury of assistants who can simply schedule everything for you and remind you when an event or meeting is coming up. At the beginning of each day along with prioritizing tasks you should also try to schedule out the week or even month ahead if possible. Be sure to include breaks as well, as everyone needs to take breaks regardless of how busy they may be during the day. Another great idea is to schedule time for checking and responding to emails as well, as we all know how much time they can take up in a day if we allow them to.
It may seem inevitable during the course of a day to perform more than one task at once in order to save time, but it is more of a time waster than anything else. More often than not you’ll find yourself tackling five different aspects of a project and leaving them all unfinished at the end of the day, rather than focusing on just one part of it and getting it completely done, leaving you figuring out where to pick back up again at a later point in time. Instead of trying to do everything at once, stick with only one task at a time and give it your full attention until it is completed. It may not seem like a time saver at first, but over time you will recognize that having tasks fully finished instead of half completed all the time is worth it.
Using a CRM
Last but certainly not least, a small business can save a lot of time by using a customer relationship management (CRM) system. If you didn’t know, it’s basically a way to automate tasks through the use of software- that could be automating certain emails your business sends out, collating all your calendars and notes in one place and keeping tabs on customer and employee data centrally. Surprisingly, its estimated that just under half of small businesses don’t have any kind of time management software in place to reduce administrative burdens. In today’s world automation is crucial for any small business, as any little benefit that can put you ahead of your competitors is worth it, especially if it saves you both time and money in the end as well.
The benefits of CRM are numerous and include greater customer retention, improved service, increased sales, and a better overall customer experience. What is also great about a CRM is that it can give you a great overview of your customer base. Say for instance that you want to see how often customers come back for repeat purchases. With only a couple clicks of the mouse you can have all of the information at your fingertips.
We all know that social media plays an important role in small business marketing, and a CRM system can help in this regard as well. For another example, let’s say you want to see how your business is being received on social media. Many CRM systems have dashboards that show all of your business’ social media accounts on one screen, allowing you to see exactly what customers are saying or sharing about your small business. Who wouldn’t want to have everything in one place?
Time is one thing you can never have enough of. If you’re spending most of the day doing administrative tasks or other essential-but-easily-simplified-and-streamlined things, you’re not keeping your customers or clients at the front and center of your attention. So if you don’t have a CRM in place already, why not take a look at more of the benefits to using one, and see if it’s right for you? Or if you’re using a free one with limited functionality, it’s worth checking out all other CRM’s (which might not be free) could also benefit you. CRMs are one thing that’s worth their weight in gold- or time, whichever is more valuable to you.