Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Business owners often feel overwhelmed with so much to do. Micro businesses/sole traders really feel this, often taking on every function in a bigger business – marketing, IT, customer service, installer … It is important to be able to prioritise what’s important and reduce wasted time.
Having goals in place helps set your direction, and identify what is important in your personal life and business. Lack of goals sees you being busy, but not making progress.
Start your day by eating the frog! If you do your most dreaded task first, your day can only get better! Instead of spending a lot of time worrying about a task, tackle it first. To make goals and tasks manageable, break the task down to 10-30 minute chunks. You can make time for that, but much harder to make a whole day available.
Marie Forleo used this term recently. It means instead of putting something like ‘Tax’ on your to do list, always start each to do item with a manageable and actionable verb. For instance ‘Reconcile unknown expenses’. Verbs equal action!
If a process recurs regularly make sure you have a process, template or checklist for that task. For instance, create email signatures or canned responses to reply to standard emails – meeting bookings, requesting information, providing a quote. Instead of 10 minutes, it may take a minute to customise the email – nine minutes times ten emails a week, is 90 minutes you can devote to something more important!
You can’t be awesome at everything – sorry you are human after all! If a task isn’t the best use of your time (like data entry, design work or even cleaning at home), consider outsourcing. If you spend four hours doing something a specialist could have completed in an hour, consider their one hour cost versus four hours you could spend working on new leads generating new business.
Running a micro business isn’t easy! Be realistic and be process smart!