Being a small business owner is no easy feat. It requires you to be an expert in all facets of the business – from financial management, right through to marketing. Even if you have dedicated employees for each of these areas, you can easily find yourself spending your entire day fighting fires for these employees, or jumping between operational tasks to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Most business owners believe that being the first to arrive to the office and the least to leave comes with the territory of being a business owner. Because of this, burning out is a real threat. Your ‘to do’ list just keeps getting longer and, in our experience, often exhausted business owners just feel like they are not getting anywhere. You could even be wondering why you are “in business” in the first place. The good news is, you’re not alone!
As experienced Brisbane business coaches, we have the knowledge and experience to get you started on the right track and reclaim some of your time. Here’s seven simple tips to implement as a business owner.
Tip #1 Book In Monthly 80/20 Reviews
The 80/20 rule was discovered by Italian Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), an economist, sociologist, and the Professor of Political Economy at Lausanne in Switzerland. He observed that 80% of income in Italy was created by 20% of the Italian population. Today millions of businesses use Vilfredo’s 80/20 rule to gain clarity around the most important things you should be focusing on. Here is how it works.
1) Figure out the 20% of activities that are producing 80% of desired results.
2) Figure out the 20% of activities that are taking up 80% of your time. Now consider focusing on the 20% of activities that are producing the biggest results and removing, delegating or outsourcing the 20% of activities that are chewing up most of your time.
Tip #2 Keep Your Daily ‘To-Achieve’ List Short
When you run a small business, it can often seem like what needs to be done is infinite, and all your tasks require equal attention. Turn your ‘to-do’ list into a ‘to-achieve list’. For example, the task may be to “phone five new leads”. Change the wording to say ‘book five appointments’ instead. The psychology behind this is that an overwhelming or unpopular task suddenly becomes something that is more inspiring to do. Also it enables you to become really clear on what your highest priorities for the day REALLY are. The best time to do this is at the end of every day, in readiness for the next day. Narrow this list down to just two to three items a day, and knock them over.
You may end up with many tasks that are pushed out, but like the 80/20 rule, that is the point. You can focus on what is most important and get it done. You might be thinking “no way is this possible”, however, even if your list is five items long, the discipline behind the methodology works!
Tip #3 Only Check Your Emails A Couple Of Times A Day
While it is important to keep up to speed with what is happening in your industry and all of your client’s communications, emails can be a massive time waster. Instead, schedule in email time and approach it like every other task. Even close your mailbox until then. One of the biggest time wasters is checking your emails first thing of a morning, as it takes your focus away from what you had “to-achieve” for the day. Instead, schedule email time for 10am over a coffee, reply to the most urgent and flag the rest. Then close your email and do not revisit until 3pm. In the afternoon, use this time to answer any urgent emails, and if you have time, attend the ones you flagged in the morning.
Tip #4 Cap General Meetings At 30 Minutes
If you’ve ever worked in a large corporate company, you’ll know how much time gets wasted in meetings. The fix? Cap meetings at 30 minutes, and only have the people that need to be there in the meeting. Set a clear agenda that’s no more than three points (1 point ideally), and fix or conclude the next step for that agenda item in no more than 30 minutes.
Tip #5 Put Aside Two Days Each Month To Clear Your Mind
As the old saying goes, “when you are working in the business, you are not working on it”. Sometimes, all that is needed for a breakthrough is time away from the daily fire-fighting. Try to find a low impact, relaxing activity that will take you fully away from your business and help you clear your mind. Now when you are all alone, think about where where you want your company to go and what can be done better. This simple time away is invaluable and can be more productive than being in the office. During this time you can also check-in with your health, something many small business owners sadly put aside.
Tip #6 Schedule Your Day Around Your Energy Levels
Are you more focused in the morning, or late afternoon? No matter the time, scheduling your day around your energy levels can quickly increase your productivity levels. Perhaps even more important, your energy schedule will prevent you from spending too much time on a task because you are doing it with the wrong energy levels.
Tip #7 Learn To Delegate
The success and growth of your business all revolves around delegating. That is why you should only ever hire A-grade staff who know more than you do, so you can feel confident delegating. Unless you are just starting up or a freelancer, you should never need to take on the burden of moving your business forward. Instead, become an expert delegator and empower your employees. They will be happier, and you will be able to get back the time you deserve and to achieve the things that are most important.
Want To Know More?
Kaibizzen is a team of Brisbane business coaches who work with clients all over Queensland to achieve faster growth, wealth, better system strategies and team happiness. Read our client’s testimonials here
, or get in touch on 0408 337 288 if you want comprehensive, tailored advice on getting your time back.