For business owners, time is money. There are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. Here are several suggestions to help you make the most of your time and develop more business.
Recognize that time is divisible. If you try to multi-task, you should be aware of the time needed to shift mental gears. Unless the shifting requires minimal thought, you will not be as effective or efficient as focusing fully on a single task.
Batch tasks. One way to improve efficiency and to save time is to ‘batch’ similar tasks. For example, let phone calls go automatically to voice mail. Access voice mails periodically between tasks. Respond to the voice mails after deciding the importance of the message. Use the same approach to access and respond to emails. Other tasks don’t need to be done every day, Consider ‘batching’ your invoicing and do it once a week.
Understand the concept of Opportunity Cost. Each task you do either makes or costs you money. If you spend your time doing a task, what is the opportunity cost of not doing a different task? Before you start a task, ask yourself, is this the best use of my time? For example, if you have a retail store. You need to work on accounting in the backroom. What incremental goodwill and sales are you losing by not interacting with your customers on the sales floor? Consider doing accounting tasks early in the morning before the store opens to minimize the opportunity cost.
Beware of your comfort zone. It may turn out that doing one task is more valuable than another. You avoid doing the more valuable task because it would take you out of your comfort zone. For example, you stay in the backroom doing accounting because you are in your comfort zone. You are less comfortable interfacing with customers and building goodwill and sales. It’s time to break free, spend more time interfacing with customers and building good will. The more time you spend on this activity, the more comfortable it becomes. This will help create a new comfort zone and help you accomplish what you need to do in the time you have.
Prioritize your tasks. Some tasks are urgent, others are important, and still others are neither urgent nor important. Customer problems should be considered urgent and handled as soon as possible. Checking in regularly with existing customers is important. It may not have to be done today, but should be done regularly. Schedule regular blocks of time to do this. Break your client list into several smaller lists that can be incorporated into your other daily activities. Use these conversations to find out what is changing within the customer’s business. This will help you anticipate the potential impact on your business. Using this technique will result in completing the important task before it becomes an urgent matter that needs to be addressed immediately.
Spending time on business development activities is one of the most important tasks of any business owner. Building business development related activities into your daily routine is one of the best uses of your time.
You can achieve your business and personal goals through better time management. Your time is precious. Guard it jealously. Spend it wisely. Do you need help learning how to mange time and establish priorities? Do you know how to use the productively tools you already have or need to select new ones to help you improve your time and priority management? Contact us.