Time – and the lack of it – is undoubtedly one of the most challenging resources for any SME or small business owner/operator to master. When you’re striving to get your business to the level you want, it can often feel like you’re working long hours every day and trying incredibly hard for little return.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to want to take a “hands-on” approach to everything. However, while this work ethic is what inspires us to reach for the stars, it can also be holding us back.
That’s why this article will share valuable and practical tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of suffering from poor time and resource management. It offers tips around key time-management skills of learning how to delegate, train and upskill yourself or your staff, examining your schedule plus knowing when and where to ask for help – maybe with a business mentor or advisor.
How much of your time is spent on day-to-day activities? How much is spent on growing your business? If you’re not getting to the level you want, then you’re probably focused too much on making your business work and not enough on marketing it. Fortunately, you have options to help you succeed. With proper time management and resourcing skills, you can streamline your operations to the point where your time is devoted to one thing: growing your business. Following these tips and steps will help you achieve exactly that.
1. Round up your resources
Before you can strategise a better way to run your business, you first have to realise what kind of resources you have at your disposal. Chances are that you have more than you think - it’s just not being utilised properly. When we talk about resources, we’re referring to anything and everything that can either help your business run smoothly or assist you with growing and marketing your brand.
- Your employees
- Your admin software
- Your internet connection
- Anything you use (or could use) to take on a task
You want to start thinking comprehensively when figuring out what resources you have, as well as which ones you need to help alleviate your pain points. Once you have a complete list of resources, now you can start to strategise on how to use them as efficiently as possible.
2. Look at your current schedule
The next step will be to see how much time you’re spending on each task. To make sure that you’re getting the most out of this step, we suggest bucketing each task into different classifications.
- What items are you doing right now that can be done by an employee?
- What processes can be automated with the right software? (Try our Tech Tools training course.)
- How much time is spent fixing problems instead of preventing them?
Feel free to categorise your tasks as thoroughly as possible. Go through your day and write down everything you do and begin classifying them. After a few days, you should have a good idea of where to go from here.
3. Determine which resources you need
Perhaps you’re doing administrative tasks because you don’t have an employee that can do it. Maybe you have to do things manually because you don’t have a means of digitising it yet. Whatever roadblocks are getting in your way, you want to figure out what you could do to remove these items from your to-do list. At first, you may think that you have to invest a ton of money to get to the next stage. However, you don’t have to change everything all at once. In fact, doing so could lead to more problems initially, so it can be smarter to make these adjustments incrementally. When prioritising your resources, you want to focus your attention on the tasks and duties that are costing you the most time. Are you working in place of an employee for hours on end? Are you inputting data into the computer all night long? Whatever is taking the most time should be addressed first. If you can alleviate this particular task and remove it from your plate, then you will see significant results.
4. Learn to Delegate
As we mentioned, many entrepreneurs believe that they have to be the ones handling everything to ensure that it gets done correctly. However, there aren’t enough hours in the day to take care of it all, which is why you have to learn how to pass duties off to someone else.
If your employees aren’t trained on a particular process, what’s preventing you from teaching them? If you have to work in place of a staff member, why can’t you hire someone to fill in for you? If it’s money you’re worried about, focus less on the costs and more on the increased revenue. When you’re able to manage your time and resources effectively, you can transform your bottom line. Stop looking at these things as a financial burden and start looking at them as investments in your brand’s future.
5. Divide your day for success
When it comes to time management, you want to make sure that the tasks on your to-do list are relevant to your position. Since your primary focus should be growing your business, what items on the list are related to marketing and promotion?
While you still have to focus your attention on administrative duties and operations, they should not be your priority. As such, you should divide your day between the two and allocate more time to growth.
During this process, it’s imperative that you hold yourself to your projections as much as possible. While you can’t anticipate everything that could happen, you want to focus on your plan of action so that you don’t deviate. Resist the urge to step in and take over when there’s an issue. Learn to trust your employees to handle it. You’ll be much better off in the long run. Your own well-being is also critical to your success, and the long term health of the business. Read our article on Well-being in the workplace here.
6. Put it all in the plan
Now you've quantified and qualified the resources you have and the resources you need, you should document it in your business plan. You should then be able to map out your business structure and identify where you will need outside help, which leads us to...
7. Mentorship and training
We understand that getting better about time and resource management is a struggle for many business owners. That’s why the Auckland Business Chamber offers everything from free expert advice through to comprehensive mentorship programs to help teach you the best ways to handle these steps so that you can get to the next level even faster.
Our business mentor programme is one of the most successful, simple and cost-effective ways to help you take your business to the next level. You can also take advantage of our fantastic resources at www.chamberbusinesstools.co.nz or call us on 0800 CHAMBER.
It’s as simple as contacting the Chamber to find out how our experience and expertise can help transform your business. You owe it to yourself and your brand to see what we have to offer.
You can also learn more about productivity, managing your time better or just all-round business management. Be sure to check out our free Business Builder Series via the link below.