SME owners have to manage everything, from the hiring and managing of employees to finding new clients, to planning the business strategies for the company.
But is there a more efficient way?
“I just haven’t got the time.” Does that sound familiar? Well, it does to the majority of SME owners. What probably once started out as a ‘one-person operation’, has now grown into a real business and in some cases has turned into an uncontrollable monster that has gotten out of hand.
The Problem? From juggling the accounts and doing all of the hiring and firing through to creating more business and forming the company strategy, it can be quite difficult for an SME owner to let go; especially having been responsible for the initial growth of the business. Utilising my own experience, there is a much more efficient way of getting everything done and still having a life too!
The notion of us not having enough time is not new. However, time cannot be managed. Time cannot actually be controlled! We can only manage ourselves and our use of time.
So what can an SME owner do to make the most efficient use of their time?
Let’s start by identifying two critical areas:
- Identify which daily tasks add the maximum amount of value to your business.
- Identify your current time stealers. The tasks that get in the way of achieving no.1.
Many SME owners get so bogged down with the ‘doing’ that they fail to identify what it is they should be doing and what actually gets in the way of them doing it!
“If you could take the tasks that you are currently doing that have the biggest impact upon your business in terms of profit and turnover and just do them all day, every day, what would they be and what would the impact be?”
Many SME owners think that by letting go of certain tasks or hiring others to do them, it adds to their cost base. Yes, it does add to the cost base but what does an additional 80% of you doing what you are best at generate for your business in terms of turnover and profits?
Where does your time go?
Many SME owners get so caught up in the day-to-day running of their businesses that they just don’t realise where their time goes. Before they know it, it’s 6pm and if you ask them what they have achieved they probably couldn’t tell you.
Identify the time stealers and put a plan in place to arrest them!
Complete a time log for a week or two to identify your time stealers:
The first step in sorting out your time management problems is to identify where your time goes. Keeping a log of what you do and when you do it.
Doing work that others should be completing.
Tasks that you should have delegated.
Tasks and decisions that you have been putting off.
Putting out fires.
Answering emails/too many emails coming in.
Telephone interruptions that should not have got through.
Interruptions from staff that could have gone elsewhere.
Duplication of work. No system to organise your day.
Lack of kills or knowledge.
Lack of planing.
Can’t say NO.
After you have compiled your log, take a look at it and identify the most frequent time stealers that reduce your effectiveness in the workplace.
Once you have identified your time stealers keep analysing where you are spending your time on a monthly basis and make adjustments to what you should be doing and how you are doing it.
We all stray off track from time to time so don’t beat yourself up about it, just take stock and move forward.