Small business owners have their work cut out to set up and grow their businesses to a sustainable size. It is, therefore, vital for them to invest their precious time and resources in things that have a real purpose and impact on their businesses instead of getting stuck in day-to-day operations. However, it is not too difficult for business owners to set their priorities and boost their personal efficiency. Some insights:
Cut Out Activities Instead Of Looking For Extra Time
If you have the feeling that you could do all that you had to do only if you had some more time, it is time you took a hard look at your task list instead of wishing for a magical way of making your day longer. You need to decide which of the tasks you are doing need not be done by you or perhaps not done at all. By looking at the big picture and getting a fix on where the business should be heading, you will be able to set goals that are more realistic and measurable.
Hire Well and Delegate, Recommends Eric Dalius
Rather than believing that nobody can do the job as well as you, it is more important to understand the core skills and competencies required to do those jobs and hire experienced and reliable people. When delegating, try to assign responsibilities rather than tasks and give them the authority to make decisions that work in favor of the business. Avoid trying to micromanage because it will not allow people working to do things confidently. Instead, make sure that the objectives are realistic and specific and that the person assigned understands clearly what is to be achieved. By taking good care of your employees, you will be able to retain talent better, according to Forbes.
Focus On Results, Not Tasks
It is a mistake to try to measure efficiency by the number of tasks done, observes Eric Dalius. Rather, you should focus on the results achieved. Other than under exceptional circumstances, the business owner or senior management should not get involved in routine operational tasks and oversee all business functions like marketing and sales, hiring, getting supplies, controlling inventory, manufacturing, etc. You should instead, hire the right people with the desired skills and make them responsible for specific aspects of the business. You can then have the time to look at the big picture and work to develop sustainable business growth.
Automate Tasks Wherever Possible
There are quite a few tasks that need to be done repetitively such as payroll, sending money receipts to customers, reminders regarding overdue payment, paying vendors and credit card bills, etc. When done manually, they can take up a lot of time that can, otherwise, be devoted to more tasks that are more productive. While it can initially cost more to implement an automation solution, in the long run, it increases business efficiency, improves the business goodwill as things are done more accurately and on time, and spares you the hassle and embarrassment of rectifying mistakes.
Encourage Personal Interaction among Employees
While sending out emails or having a chat over a messaging system can often seem like an efficient way of communicating, often it can lead to confusion if writing is not something the employees are good at. Further, the chat can keep on escalating with messages going back and forth for a long time, sometimes not even on the subject of immediate concern. While emails or chat messages help send a quick message, often to many recipients at the same time, if you are trying to address an issue or seek clarifications, it might be better to have a face-to-face interaction. An across-the-table discussion also helps employees to understand a diverse viewpoint better and foster better teamwork.
If your employees are forced to take a break from what they are supposed to be doing to attend meetings throughout the day, it can severely affect their productivity. Rather than distract employees with a series of interruptions throughout the day or week, it can be better to schedule all the meetings, the first thing in the morning or have them all on a single day, so that they are free to carry on with their tasks for the rest of the time. It can also be a good practice to check your emails or messages only a few times during the day rather than get distracted continually.
Even though it may seem strange, often the best way of giving your efficiency level a boost is by stepping back and taking a break. It can be difficult to think strategically when you are busy running the business. You need to take an overall view of the business and develop plans for sustainable growth by leveraging market opportunities. Building a team that has the necessary competence and the authority to run the business and ensuring that they have adequate resources should be your primary focus area.