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Anyone that knows a Small Business owner has probably heard them utter the words 'There just aren't enough hours in the day' or 'I'm too busy to make it today'. Yet there are some Small Business owners that have more than enough time to run their businesses and lead fulfilling social lives. So what's the big secret? Organized time management. The following tips should help you efficiently manage your time, increase productivity, and free up some of your day for more enjoyable activities.
Set your working hours
While many Small Business owners working from home cite the 5 second trip from bedroom to office as a massive time saver, they lack or disregard discipline. Taking it too easy during the day, cooking, socializing, or even watching TV, all add up to many wasted hours. Where as our competitors that have leased office space get the most out of their day because there's nothing for them to do but to commit themselves to the growth and development of their businesses. Set your hours of operation, even if it's only a few hours a day, and during these hours concentrate on nothing but your business. Ask yourself, "Would I be doing this if I was employed to run this business?".
Define your Office hours
And stick to them. Let your friends and family know that, except in emergencies, you're unavailable during your Office hours. You wouldn't call them at work to ask if they'd like to meet you in 15 minutes for a coffee and a chat. A good yak on the phone a few times a day digs in to your limited hours. Try a google search on "Marketing" instead and you may discover a few techniques you can employ to increase revenue for your business. While at work, if there's nothing else to do, learn about building your business. There's more than enough information on the Internet to keep you occupied.
If it's not a business oriented call, ignore it. Consider investing in a second phone line dedicated to your business. If you like a good chat, phone conversations can consume a large slice of your day. Have your answering machine take the call. If it's an urgent matter, urgent enough to disengage you from working on the growth of your business, you can always get right back to caller.
Set your Agenda
And stick to it. You have to exercise discipline and show restraint. There's no point in setting an agenda if you're going to disregard it. Refer to it when you find yourself lazing about. Key in generous breaks but not overly generous. Remember, breaks are meant to restore concentration levels and get you working with a refreshed frame of mind.
Software is the greatest time saver of all. The entire business world revolves around and is powered by software. If you find yourself spending a lot of time on data entry or data updating, software specifically designed to automate those tasks will be enormously beneficial. Software is essentially developed to replace human labour. Take advantage of it and exploit all features of any software you currently use. Make your tasks easier and enjoyable and your productivity will increase.
If you're not financially ready to employ full time help, consider hiring on a part time or casual basis. Every business has it's rudimentary tasks. Why waste your time keeping your business simply running when for just a few dollars a week, hired help would free you up to concentrate on growth and development. You may find the seemingly costly trade to be a tremendous gain in the ensuing weeks.
Running a high performance, profitable business is simply a matter of clever time management. Work smarter, not harder. Concentrate on the high margin elements of the business and delegate the tedious low margin tasks. Think about diversifying, extending your interests and seeking out new markets. Fight the fatigue factor, keep yourself well nourished and take a 5 minute break every hour to restore your concentration to optimum levels.
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