Time is Money!
For many SME owners, hard work is a virtue that has been drilled into us from an early age, and the desire to knuckle down and march towards your business objectives may be one of the reasons you decided to start your enterprise in the first place. In this article we look at ways you can save time in order to use it more wisely - because as we all know, time is money!
There is no doubt that hard work and determination play a huge part in contributing towards success, but you can take it as a given that most of your competitors will also be motivated to work hard on acquiring new customers and keeping their existing clients happy. So what can give you the edge? In a lot of cases it is about working smarter, rather than harder.
Put a cap on your in-work social time
For many client facing SME owners, such as hair salon owners, personal trainers or food proprietors, there is a huge social element to their day to day duties.
There is nothing wrong with this - maintaining cordial relations with clients is one of the most important parts of their job, and relationships can hinge on it.
When that social time begins to impinge on the customer experience of others, for example, or detract from the main task itself, you should consider cutting it down. In particular, clients that are consistently late and eat into neighbouring time slots should not be given 'special treatment'.
To email or call?
So often, being a good judge of when to email and when to call can take up, or save, so much time for the average SME owner. If a client or business partner is very responsive to emails, sending a quick message can often be the quickest way of contacting them.
If you have been drawn in to a seemingly endless email chain, discussing the particulars of a service or business arrangement, so often the best course of action is to devote ten to 15 minutes to a phone call, in order to iron out any complications.
Depending on the person and the situation, you must assess the best and most time effective way to communicate.
If you spend a lot of time in the office or on the phone, whatever your line of business, consider the time both you and your customers could save with an automated booking system. Via your website, or even a mobile app, you can immediately cut out the time it takes to receive and manage bookings, and enhance the efficiency of the process.
Your customers will also appreciate the convenience of being able to jump online to book their appointments when it suits them. Shore can help you design the perfect automated booking system for your business, to find out how we can help you invest your time more wisely visit Online Booking System.
Learn to delegate
If you are an SME owner that likes to take the lead, that is a positive, but you should be wary of taking on too much. One of the best ways of ensuring you invest your time wisely is to build a competent and trusted team around you, and delegate tasks to them whenever possible, freeing you up to do the things you do best.
This involves a careful recruitment and training process, but once you have trusted lieutenants in place, you can concentrate on performing key functions such as attending business meetings, pitching for new clients and acting as a lead spokesperson for your business.
If you are a one man band, you might want to consider employing freelancers that work from home in order to build a 'virtual team' that can also save you time.
Remember, everyone needs a break
The typical hands on SME owner doesn't mind working evenings or weekends when required, but when work becomes an obsession it can lead to over doing it, resulting in you becoming burnt out and unable to perform effectively. Like any of your employees, owners of small businesses should learn to take a break when needed.
A week long holiday might seem like a waste of time, but a rejuvenated, happy boss can be more likely to lead a business effectively than a tired and irritated one. You owe it to you clients and customers to operate at 100 per cent.
Set aside time for personal development
Day to day business activities often become a set routine for SMEs. You will know the typical amount of time you spend with existing clients, focusing on adding new clients, or training employees. But what about your own personal development? This is potentially one of the best investments of time you could make, and the possibilities are endless when it comes to ways of benefiting your business.
If you are not keeping abreast of the latest developments in your industry, considering ways to enhance your business procedures, assessing the impact that new equipment or methods could make, or learning new skills that you could use to improve your company - there is a good chance you are not investing your time as wisely as you could.
Are you set up for mobile working?
Some small business owners will spend much of their time on the road, either for existing client commitments or to seek out new customers. That's why it is essential that you are set up for mobile working, with or without a 3G or wifi connection. Time spent on a train, airplane or coach shouldn't mean a stop to your working day; merely another location for you to work from.
There are now sophisticated collaborative working apps which mean you are able to access documents on the move, not dependent on an internet connection. In the car? Well why not ensure you have a hands-free kit set up so you can make and take calls on the go?
For an even closer examination on how you can begin saving time and investing, rather than letting it go to waste, download our eBook 'How to Cut Administration Time in Half' today.