Many small business owners fall into the trap of trying to “do it all,” getting so busy that they lose sight of long-term goals, a cycle that threatens to result in a failing business.
According to Bloomberg, eight out of ten small businesses fail within the first 18 months. No wonder. We all know how easy it is to get swallowed in the day-to-day business operations and let poor time management skills take over. Small business owners need to be the visionaries and forward thinkers, but that can often be what gets put on the backburner first.
To stay in that 20% of thriving businesses, read these five tips for small business owners to focus on what’s important.
1. Hire strategically
Your never-ending list of busy work and “to-dos,” can become distracting and all-consuming. Identify your strengths as the business owner and delegate tasks that you don’t have time to give 100% to anymore. This could include marketing, purchasing, finance, sales, etc. Giving up these responsibilities is a sign of real growth and lets you focus on the bigger picture of your business growth.
2. Saying “No” to meetings
An over-crowded calendar can be a recipe for disaster. If you have hired strategically, you should not be involved in every aspect of day-to-day decision-making. Aim to be accessible to your teams, but don’t be involved in things like daily sales meetings. Learn to set boundaries, prioritize and attend only meetings with your most immediate priorities.
3. Plan to be Interrupted
Staff members will pop into your office and you will run into someone while getting coffee that leads to a 30-minute discussion. Sure, you should put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign and close your office door, but this will not prevent them all. If you plan time in your day that gives a buffer to your existing schedule, you will be less stressed or frustrated by conversations that run longer than expected. Your employees will appreciate you not constantly rushing off as though you don’t have time for them.
4. Select your tools
We are a technology-driven world, and there are many tools to choose from. Find a millennial in your office and tell them about what time management you are struggling with. Choose a calendar, task, alert, notification, or alarm app, and stick to your schedule! Your phone can be the greatest tool you have at your disposal to keep you in line, so use it to its full potential. Beyond your phone, there are many wearable pieces of technology that will help in your time management needs. Some of the most basic devices you can set to vibrate each hour to remind you to get up, not let a meeting go over, or just help you keep track of the day!
5. Go home
As a small business owner, you have a task list that will never end. An NFIB article explains you need time to take it easy in order to maintain balance and stay energized about what you are doing in the office. Yes, some days/weeks you will stay late and barely get sleep, but knowing this is not sustainable is important for your overall health and, in turn, the health of your business.
While no one can completely remove the things that can derail their day, using these five tips will help you have more time and energy for the long-term planning your business needs to thrive. You can now plan for that store expansion, find out what inventory is working for you, or get ahead of your slow season with more marketing. Now that you have the time, all you need are some funds to get started!