SME owners are always racing to set up their business, build their brand and generate revenue in the shortest possible time, especially in this age where industry competition is strife. It’s a well-known adage that ‘time is money’, but a lot of SME’s today lose out on valuable business due to a lack of importance given to time management.
To solve this, below are a few time-saving tips that can help you get more work done without getting stressed out or working 90-hour weeks.
As an SME owner, you are under pressure to meet deadlines, complete paperwork and handle issues like customer inquiries and getting to know your customers. If you don’t plan your day, all your time will be spent putting out fires and doing tasks which your employees, freelancers or friends can handle instead of you. If you want more productivity as the boss, try following these suggestions:
- Schedule tasks according to importance and urgency
- Put a mark beside tasks only you can do
- Record your appointments, deadlines and ideas in a phone, diary or planner.
- Plan to spend more time on activities that are have greater business benefit to your company, i.e., brand building, client proposals etc.
- Schedule someone on your team to be available at all hours your business operates. This is especially important when you are outsourcing branding work to another company.
These days, customers expect to interact with their favorite companies digitally and on social media, which makes more work for an SME owner. You can use several methods to prioritize your brand building tasks, for example:
- The ABC Method: This involves ranking all your work with A, B and C in order of importance. Complete A-1 tasks first, A-2 second and all the way to C-3, last.
- The Eisenhower Method: President Eisenhower once said, ‘what is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important’. This method sorts tasks as important, not-important, urgent and not-urgent. Do ‘important and urgent’ tasks first and ‘important but not urgent’ next. Follow this with ‘urgent but not important’ tasks and finally ‘not important and not urgent’ tasks.
- The Pareto Analysis: This is also known as the 80/20 principle and is important to determine which task is important while building your brand. Assume 20 percent of your customers generate 80 percent of revenue, or 20 percent of your work produces 80 percent of business. You can then focus on that 20 percent of customers/work that generate the biggest returns.
3. Set Goals
For an SME owner, having clear cut goals which are attainable and measurable are critical for time management. For example,
- Decide that you want to dedicate 3 hours to finishing an urgent project. Commit to delivering it before noon so that you have a goal on how to spend your morning.
- When prioritizing, eliminate tasks that are insignificant, not on getting more work done. Doing small things like responding to emails may give you a false feeling of productiveness, so keep these aside to focus on the most important thing first.
- If you have in-house employees or are outsourcing work, clearly brief the person on what and how the end result should be along with its deadline. This way, you save on a lot of valuable time which would otherwise be spent on multiple reworks where he tries to pinpoint what exactly you need.
Many businesses are based on others working on their behalf. As an SME owner, delegating tasks is one of the hardest things to do but necessary if you want to save time, reduce stress and increase your brand success. Organize your work like this:
- Tasks that only you can do
- Tasks that you can do but others can help you complete
- Tasks that others can do but you can help them complete
- Tasks that others can complete without help
You can use the 80/20 principle here too – if others can do a task up to 80 percent as good as you, delegate that task to them. But remember, micromanaging is counterproductive. Encourage and trust whoever is doing the work for you to do it on their own.
5. Minimize Distractions
In an SME, every business, vendor and client wants to talk to the owner. To minimize distractions, it is important to restrict access, control your work environment and avoid personal distractions. Regaining concentration after an interruption takes a lot of time, so instead you can,
- Set aside designated time in a day to handle interruptions and employee discussions. Insist that they wait till that time to talk with you.
- Set aside designated time to answer/return phone calls and emails. Ignore them till that time.
If you are a small business owner trying to build your brand, cultivating a set of good time management practices will lower your opportunity costs and generate more income. Try and see for yourself!
In need of some solid branding? Let our team of experts at WinnerBrands help you started! Book a free consultation today.