One thing many people who go into business comment on is the amount of time it takes them to run their business.
No matter what type of business you run, there’s always something else to do. Whether that’s ordering materials at 10pm, running a huge payroll system or keeping up to speed with new legislation in your industry, the work never stops.
Which is why we thought we’d come up with these time-saving tips to help you work more efficiently and get the most out of the day.
Track your time
Spend a week keeping a diary of your activities to work out how you spend your time. Record every aspect – from time spent on emails to time spent chatting while the kettle boils.
Review your data to see where the biggest time drains are, and then look at how you could change your routine or activities to save time.
Your phone is your friend
We’re all walking around with powerful little computers, but do we actually make the most of this pocket tech?
There are a host of apps out there that can meet just about any business need – from sending faxes (yes, they still exist, especially if you work with the NHS) to note taking, project management tools and productivity trackers.
There are other creative ways you can harness your phone’s power. For example, rather than write a blog, dictate your first draft to the voice recorder app. Send someone a picture of the machine part you need to ensure you get the exact spare part. Use Skype or Facetime to dial into a meeting while you’re on the train.
Phones are great, but they do have their limits. Some tasks need the full functionality of a computer, and there’s usually a software package that can make things simpler.
These include graphic design packages, a contacts database that allows you to track all of your customer interactions, an e-newsletter system that handles your data protection needs, or an intuitive bookkeeping tool such as Pandle.
If your business is in its early stages you may not have the capacity to take on a PA, which means you’re spending a good chunk of time chasing invoices rather than tracking down new business.
A virtual PA can provide the same support as an actual PA, but at a fraction of the cost. And you should be able to recoup that cost through the time you save.
This may not save time every day, but there will come a day when a positive approach to IT security will save you a huge amount of time and money.
Setting a backup system to run automatically in the background will prove invaluable if your computer crashes. Running a virus checker once a week could protect you, and your customers, from hackers. And setting up a password manager could stop malicious attacks from happening in the first place.
While these steps may not save you time every day, in the long run they’ll prove invaluable to the smooth running of your organisation.
We’re all busy, we all wish we had more time. Be clever with the time you have and get the most out of your day.