It’s important to make the best use of your time as a small business owner. There’s an enormous amount of work to do and seemingly not enough hours in the day to do it. Another concern is work/life balance. Business owners can burn out quickly if they don’t have that. Let’s examine how to manage your time effectively so that doesn’t happen.
Most time-consuming tasks for small business owners
There are several tasks in the day-to-day operations of a business that can consume more time than necessary. Some of these can be delegated or automated, others simply require more self-discipline and avoidance of ‘going down the rabbit hole.’ Here are some of the areas we’ve identified that can consume the most time for business owners.
Banking and finance tasks can be extremely time-consuming for a small business owner. The problem gets exacerbated when the bill paying process involves multiple steps or bank deposits require a trip to the bank. The hours spent on each of those can add up. According to our survey of small business owners, owners who use traditional banks spend roughly one full business day per month on trips to their bank. That’s 12 full business days per year spent on banking alone.
Accounting and bookkeeping
Accounting and bookkeeping are time consuming for the professionals. Business owners can get lost in these tasks, so it’s better to hire someone who understands the ins and outs of accounting to handle them for you, and keep you up to date on anything that needs your attention.
Marketing is the engine that drives online traffic to your website and live customers through your door. It’s time-consuming, especially if you’re doing digital marketing, paid search, or posting regularly on social media. Like accounting, it’s best to outsource these tasks or hire someone in-house who can leverage their expertise.
Managing your calendar
Calendar management can chew up your time if you don’t have an assistant or an efficient tool to help. This may seem like a personal task that can’t be delegated to someone else, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much time you can save by taking this off your plate.
Time management tips to increase business efficiency
How much is an hour of your time worth? It’s an important question when you look at all the time consumed by tasks you could streamline with automation, delegation, or outsourcing. Here are seven tips to help you with that.
- Decide what’s urgent
Make a list of the tasks on your to-do list and rate them on an urgency scale of one to five. This will give you some perspective on what’s important. Prioritize the most urgent, identify which tasks require your personal attention, then delegate, outsource, or eliminate the rest.
- Plan ahead
Setting short-term and long-term goals and milestones is one of the basic lessons taught in the first year of business school. You don’t need a graduate degree to do this. Plan for business and financial obligations by budgeting your time and money.
- Focus on one thing at a time
The best way to approach something as difficult and involved as running a business is by tackling one task at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you try to do everything all at once. Focus on one task at a time and finish it before moving on to the next task. Your inbox will never be empty, but you’ll make steady progress.
- Find tools that work for you
Take another look at our list of time-consuming business tasks above. Day-to-day banking is simpler with online bill pay and a business checking account that allows easy mobile deposits. Accounting software does most of the work for you, and the best bank accounts can integrate with your software. There also are marketing apps that help automate social media posting. Find tools that can help you save time.
- Trust your team
This is a common mistake made by many small business owners. You might have started out on your own, but you likely have a team you can rely on now. The only way to grow your business is to trust that team and continue to hire people who can complement their efforts.
- Know what to outsource
Some business checking accounts let you invite your accountant or bookkeeper to securely access your account from their own dedicated login, so you get them all the financial data they need without having to share your password. There are also agencies you can work with for ongoing website management, SEO and content, and social media marketing.
- Prioritize your mental health
This might be the most important tip on this list and it’s the one most often overlooked. Prioritize your mental health. Running a business can be stressful, but don’t allow that to drag you down. Make sure you give yourself some work/life balance and take time off when you need to.
The benefits of small business efficiency
Effective time management can improve your daily operations. Your business can become more efficient, and you’ll be able to focus on high-priority tasks like bringing in new customers. There are plenty of tools and technology available to help you. Professional tasks like accounting and bookkeeping can be outsourced, while other tasks can be delegated to your team.
Use these time management skills and tips to grow your business with confidence.