How to Save Time as a Small Business Owner

How to Save Time as a Small Business Owner

Running a small business is extremely time-consuming. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of time due to managing the myriad of components which make up a business. Instead of spending time growing their business, owners end up spending most of their time on administrative tasks and the day-to-day operations.

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, it is essential to learn how to save time when it comes to operating your business. Running your business as efficiently as possible will minimize customer complaints, optimize your workforce, and increase revenue. Below are 4 steps every small business owner can follow to better manage their time and get more done.

Merchant Factors looks at some of the financing options available to SMEs and the requirements they need to meet to attain alternative financing.

Step 1: Prioritize and Eliminate Non-essential Tasks

The first step in taking back control of your time is by creating a two-week ‘to-do’ list. Once you have completed your list go through it and highlight which tasks are urgent and which are non-essential. The goal is to identify what you must focus on and what items you can eliminate from your list.

When you consciously choose what tasks are not essential to your business it removes the stress associated with being unable to complete these tasks and allows you to focus on the essential items.

Step 2: Set Time Limits

As a small business owner your time is valuable, because of this you need to set time limits for non-productive tasks such as meetings, responding to non-urgent emails and so on.

To be more productive, block out time for specific tasks. For example, do not look at your emails for the first four hours of your day and focus on getting your most important tasks done in the morning.

When it comes to meetings, cap them at 30 minutes and have an agenda to stay on track and cover what is necessary during that time.

Limit distractions by making sure your employees know that they are not allowed to distract you for a certain amount of time during the day. This time can then be used to get through your prioritised tasks quickly and efficiently.

The goal of setting time limits for tasks and activities is to enable you to take more control of your time and to get what needs to get done sooner rather than later. Time limits help you make the most of your time instead of running out of time before completing your tasks.

Step 3: Use Tools to Optimise Your Time

Employing tools and systems to decrease the time tasks normally take is another especially useful step in our four steps to better manage your time as a small business owner. Employing tech solutions to automate tasks where possible increases efficiency and productivity. Start by creating a list of the things that are taking up most of your time and see what tools are available to help automate some of these tasks, streamline business operations and save you time.

Below are a few useful tech tools which can be used to simplify your day and save you time:

Expensify: Is a business application used to track and manage expenses, transactions, and cash outflow. It provides a simple way to capture and record expenses by taking photos of receipts. The best part is the basic version of this software is free, so there is no reason not to simplify this process and save time.

Calendly: Is a meeting scheduling tool that allows you to schedule meetings simply and quickly without the unnecessary back-and-forth emails. Calendly sends the selected recipient your available options and they can choose which suits them best, once they have selected, Calendly automatically schedules the meeting, saving you time. Calendly has a basic plan available at no cost.

Brightbook: Probably the most useful tool for small businesses on this list is Brightbook. Brightbook is easy to use, a secure online accounting system that allows you to send professional invoices, keep track of payments and see at a glance how your business’s finances are looking. Brightbook offers basic functionality for free with added services available at an additional fee.

The above are just a few tools you could use to save time and automate tasks. There are many more tools like these available online, all you need to do is look for them.

Step 4: Delegate and Outsource Tasks

Delegating is a great way to save time, especially if you have a reliable in-house team. You need to make sure you have provided your team with the information and tools they need to complete the tasks you will be delegating to them. A delegated task is only successful if it gets done. Therefore, when hiring, it is important to find the right employees and create a team you can trust to get things done.

When you do not have the in-house talent and you do not feel comfortable outsourcing a task like invoicing to an automated tech tool, it may be worth bringing in a contractor or outsourcing to a professional. Instead of tapping into hours you do not have rather employ a specialist who can do these tasks on your behalf. Outsourcing is an effective way to get more done in less time and saves you the cost associated with hiring a permanent staff member.

Below are a few business operations or departments that can easily be outsourced and will save you time and money in the long run:

Hire a virtual assistant – A virtual assistant is there to support you as the business owner and is available to do a variety of tasks from secretarial work through to social media and photo editing. There are many benefits of outsourcing tasks to a dedicated virtual assistant, the number one benefit is that it is a cost-effective solution and/which does not require a long-term financial commitment.

When you hire a virtual assistant, you specify how many hours and times per week you require their services which means you only pay for what you need. This allows you to get more done and gain access to additional skills you perhaps do not have access to in-house. Virtual assistance is not new, and many companies provide this service in South Africa.

Better manage cash flow by outsourcing your debtor administration – Debtor administration services are another exceptionally useful and valuable tool available to small business owners. By outsourcing your debtor administrative department to a company who knows what they are doing, handles your debtors book professionally and keeps track of late and outstanding payments, not only saves you time but ensures the money owed to your business is collected timeously.

Stop chasing unpaid invoices and try factoring - By using an alternative financing option like factoring, you get the funding you need when you need it. Factoring provides your company with fast and flexible access to working capital, against your accounts receivable. Factoring unlocks many benefits and if you make it a part of your business model, you will be able to spend more time growing your business and generating profits - rather than chasing customers for money.

Merchant Factors is an independent factoring company with over 32 years of experience in delivering tailored business finance solutions to businesses big and small. By partnering with Merchant Factors you will not only save time but you will improve your business’s cash flow which means you will have more time and more cash available to grow your business, improve its operations and bolster revenue.

Why not outsource to the professionals, save time, get more done and have the peace of mind knowing your accounts receivable are well looked after by an established alternative financier with over 30 years’ experience in the industry.

Contact Merchant Factors today - For fast, flexible business finance.

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