Too much on your plate? Why hiring is the last thing you should be doing.
Sometimes we become so engrossed in doing work that we forget to examine and question how the work is being done. This is particularly true when we find ourselves overwhelmed and falling behind. Don’t make the mistake of adding before you subtract. Before you decide to hire an assistant or additional staff it is important to take a step back and evaluate what you can do to make your business run more efficiently. You may be surprised to find you don’t need to hire many or any new staff members by streamlining the way work flows through your organization.
Here are five steps to take to make your work count:
Step One: Delegate and Automate
As a business owner it is important to understand what role you and only you can play in your company. Are there tasks that should be executed by technology or your staff that you constantly find yourself doing? If there isn’t any existing software that performs the functions you need you can always have software custom designed for your business. Examine how you can automate, delegate, and restructure workflow in your company to ensure everyone is focusing on their core competencies.
Step Two: Work Less, Sell More
Use Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM). This will help you communicate more effectively with your customers and determine which ones to focus on. It is far easier and less expensive to get your existing customers to spend money than acquire new customers.
Form partnerships with businesses with similar target markets that are not in direct competition with you. For example, a catering company may form a partnership with a florist. Valuable partnerships where you refer customers to one another can help you attract more business without spending time and money on advertising.
Step Three: Cut Down On Commutes
When possible try to get your meetings done through video conferencing. This can save precious time and cut down on transportation, food, and coffee expenditures.
Step Four: Get Organized
Keep your workspace organized to avoid looking for lost items. For parts of your workspace that are shared ask your staff if the current organization methods work for them. Sometimes we organize our entire business in a way that makes sense to us without considering how easy it is for our employees to find and retrieve the same information.
Don’t neglect online organization. Although a messy computer desktop isn’t as unsightly as a real work desk it can waste just as much time. You can clean up your online workspace by:
Keeping the way you name files and where you store them consistent.
Having a document that contains your many usernames and passwords or using password management software such as Roboform.
Using a cloud based file sharing application such as Cubby or Dropbox.
Effectively using folders in your email. Labelling your folders things such as ‘invoices’, ‘leads’, and ‘receipts’ can save you time in the event you need to recall an email.
Step Five: Eliminate Time Wasters
The internet is full of distractions. You may have gone on your Facebook page just to post a status update for your business and found yourself still clicking through pictures and articles an hour later. Be vigilant. Over the course of a week take note of activities that are not productive such as:
Reading articles that aren’t relevant to your business
Getting engaged in lengthy social media conversations
Over reliance on email. Sometimes is better to pick up the phone rather than let the conversation drag out over the course of one or more days.
While many of these productivity tips may seem like no-brainers, even the best of us fall prey to time wasters from time to time. Be aware of how you and your employees are spending their time and spot bottlenecks before they happen. Ensure your technology is working for you rather than you working for your technology. If your software isn’t working the way you need it to or you’re programs don’t work together consider having custom software built for you or having your programs integrated by a development company such as Gravit-e.