Most of us tend to follow the old ‘tradition’ of making personal New Year’s resolutions – maybe to lose a few kilos or exercise more …but what about New Year’s resolutions for your business?
Have you considered ways you can work smarter and not harder as we head into 2019?
The number one complaint of most small business owners’ is that they ‘don’t have enough time.’
If this is you, then here’s a few bad habits we suggest you aim to change, and a few good ones you may want to implement.
Some of these are ‘oldies but goodies’ – and there’s a reason for this – quite simply, many small disciplines, like those mentioned here, can really impact your time management and productivity, bringing you a greater sense of control and achievement.
There’s absolutely no doubt that technology is improving our lives in many ways, but it can be a trap too!
Emails in particular, can be both an interruption and a distraction.
You know how it is, you’re in the middle of writing a proposal or pouring over figures and an email arrives that you automatically consider responding to, and that takes you off on a tangent…
Before you know it, you’re caught up in a whole range of other issues and projects, and the task you initially started has fallen completely by the wayside.
Email is now ingrained in the workplace and it is a phenomenal tool when used wisely. Certainly, it’s a must for workers in remote locations or when people aren’t immediately contactable in the office. Interesting though, a recent survey of 9,000 workers from the United States, U.K., and Germany, by Unify published by Entrepreneur.com, showed that 28 percent (almost one-third!) said email was the tool they’d most like to see removed from the workplace!
Eradicating email is not the solution at all. But managing email wisely can free up your time. Some entrepreneurs find it enormously beneficial to set aside two or three blocks of time in a day just to respond to email. This way, you can focus solely on your inbox. Respond and then file. Delete old messages. Keep your inbox flow ‘manageable’ so you don’t feel overwhelmed every time you look at it. The trick is to then shut down your email, until your next session so you’re not tempted to respond to every time it alerts you to a new message.
Encourage staff not to use email unless they have to. This way you get more personal interaction. And if there’s a problem that needs solving, sometimes a five-minute discussion can resolve something that might otherwise be dealt with in half a dozen emails. If you spend say, three minutes on each email response, then you’ve spent 18 minutes. You do the maths. Time is precious.
Multi-tasking is over-rated. It not only increases stress levels, but when you’re thinking about several things at once, you have a higher propensity to overlook things or make mistakes, which then means doubling back and fixing them.
There are times when multi-tasking is necessary but it can become a bad habit. Being truly present, in a meeting, on a phone call or when working solo means you’ll have the mental capacity to be completely engaged, and more often than not, you’ll be more productive, getting more done, in less time.
Most entrepreneurs have an over-developed sense of responsibility! And this is a good thing but it doesn’t mean that you can’t let go of the reigns from time to time.
Surround yourself with competent people, and pass on tasks that can realistically be handled by someone else.
Outsourcing various roles and responsibilities can be an excellent solution in some cases too.
When you free yourself up from working ‘in the business’ you have more time to focus ‘on the business’.
What’s more, you can focus on areas that are your personal strengths – those things you’re not only good at, but enjoy, rather than getting caught up in mundane tasks you neither like nor have the specialist skills for. Nothing kills inspiration like an endless ‘to do’ list full of jobs that don’t excite you. So strive for a healthy balance between those things you need to do, and those things you love to do.
Meetings are fantastic for many reasons: increasing staff engagement, generating ideas and giving people the opportunity to talk face-to-face, to name a few.
And they don’t have to be overly formal, but it is tried and true: Having an agenda or a regular meeting format keeps meetings on point.
There’s nothing worse than a waffle fest.
Make sure that everybody gets the chance to raise concerns and be heard, but also keep discussions short, and concentrated on the issue/s at hand.
What can’t be resolved immediately, needs to be dealt with outside of the meeting platform. Good time-keeping should be a priority.
When you’re running a small business, staying on top of the day-to-day activity can be totally consuming.
Taking time to ensure you have a solid plan in place is really the only way that you can achieve a sensible road map for moving forward, and achieve sustainable business growth.
The New Year is an excellent time to deep dive into your business, review where you are and where you want to be. As the half-way point in the financial year it’s a great time to look at your strategic targets and your financial forecasting and re-set if need be.
Have you read our free e-book? Planning is not just about setting goals, it’s also about ensuring that you have the right financial structure and resources to take you forward, as well as understanding the risks you’ll face along the way.
Entrepreneurs are by their very nature dedicated and determined. Most ‘live and breathe’ their business – this can be a healthy sign of passion and creativity. But it can, over time, have detrimental effects if you’re not also taking regular time out to relax and recharge. Burnout can be a serious problem for small business owners. So look after your mental health.
A business mentor can really help you bring your ‘A’ game to the business consistently. As someone looking from the outside in, a mentor can help you to find new perspectives (and smarter solutions!) to problems or issues that are holding you, or your business, back.
Running a small business is an increasingly complex proposition – the challenges of a global marketplace, staying on top of cyber security, keeping up with technology, maintaining customer loyalty, building your brand in a highly competitive marketplace, keeping staff happy, cash flow steady, debts under control and making a profit are all competing issues that need to be juggled while you’re growing.
That’s not to say running your own business isn’t rewarding, but there comes a point when a business will stagnate if it doesn’t innovate – and while entrepreneurs are generally inventive and highly resourceful, having a ‘sounding board’ can be very useful. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved,’ as they say.
If we can help, contact us. Our team is highly experienced across all aspects of small business and we offer a range of solutions that can help you make 2019 the year that you take charge, so your business starts working for you, instead of the other way around.