Time Management and Small Businesses

As a small business owner your job description is likely, President, CEO, Chairman of the Board, Receptionist, Janitor, HR Manager, Payroll Manager, and Salesman.  To complete all these functions, one must be a master of time management or have the ability to function on little sleep.  Whether you live to work, or work to live, you can probably start with these basic principles and suggestions to start living more and working less.

  1. Delegate – Being lazy isn’t always a bad thing.  You hire employees to do work, so let them earn their paycheck.  When looking to delegate, ask “can someone else do 60% of this project”?  If the answer is yes, then try delegating the project.  If you only need to be a part of 40% or less of the total project time, then it is likely going to be beneficial to delegate the work.  Make sure to build in time to check-in, answer questions, and review along the way.  In addition, require a deadline for delegated work that gives you enough of a buffer to correct anything that was done wrong before the actual deadline arrives.  This will ensure success and timeliness of any project delegated.
  2. Consolidate – If you have multiple businesses you may have multiple professionals you consult with for each company.  Instead of using multiple lawyers, CPA’s, insurance agents, PR firms, etc… use the same for all companies you own.  Try to find professionals who have close relationships with each other.  If you lawyer needs a tax return, wouldn’t it be easier if they called or emailed your CPA directly?  If you have a good relationship with a professional, ask for references to professionals they know and trust.  Creating a close network of advisors will save you time and anxiety.
  3. Automate – Let technology work for you.  Eliminate paper time cards and reports and implement an electronic time tracking system that your payroll manager can efficiently review.  Leverage your workforce to create templates that will streamline processes.  Download financial transaction from your credit card companies and banks into your financial reporting system.  Anything that will save your employees time, will allow you to shift more responsibility to them and off of you.
  4. Outsource – Tired of being on the phone with your IT guy every week about terms you don’t understand?  Server crashed?  Virus infiltrated your employee’s computer causing your system to crash?  Having to pay for new servers and firewalls?  Why deal with this headache and ultimately the associated expense.  Look into cloud computing. By outsourcing much of your technologic needs, you can reduce risk to your business, save money, and increase efficiency.  No more lengthy calls to the IT guy is like Christmas in July.
  5. Stay Organized – A little up-front work will save you time down the line.  Clean work areas correlate to organized minds.  Being able to find something quickly will reduce frustration and inefficiency.  Create a filing system that is easy for both you and the people who assist you.  Try to end each day by organizing your desk, paperwork, email, etc.  This will help you start the next day smoothly.

With these tips, make sure that your time away from work is equally as important as your time at work.  Allowing yourself a little time off at night or on the weekends will help you to focus on work when the time comes.

At DBBM, we work with many small business owners who benefit from a few of these tips.  As trusted friends and advisors, we want to make all of our clients’ lives easier.