The phrase “time is money” is very true when it comes to business. The majority of your time is dedicated to your business, which makes money for you. However, it often seems as if there’s not enough time in one day. Here are seven ways that small business owners can save time, and in turn, save money.
#1: Create a Schedule and Set Hard Deadlines
This is easy if you hire employees and have set hours for your business, but not all entrepreneurs have the typical “9 to 5” workday. For these people, it’s even more important to set a schedule that also allows for flexibility since every day may not look the same. Keep an eye on the clock when doing business tasks to get an idea of how long it takes to complete each task. This will help give you an idea of what type of schedule to create.
With creating a schedule comes setting deadlines— and strictly adhering to them. Of course, things that must be completed at an earlier time should take priority over those that can be done later. This may require you to put certain tasks on the back burner, particularly if they don’t hold as much significance as other projects. Prioritize your tasks to ensure you accomplish everything on time.
#2: Delegate Some Tasks
If you do have employees, it may be helpful to pass along some of your usual tasks to them. This can be hard to do since having control of every part of your business is something that the majority of business owners do when they first begin. However, turning over tasks— or even hiring new people for specific tasks frees up more of your time. Just make sure that those you delegate to are qualified and that you trust their judgment.
#3: Keep Multitasking to a Minimum
Several studies have shown that the majority of people cannot multitask effectively. While it is possible to work on two tasks at once, our brains can’t effectively concentrate and give the proper time and attention to both tasks at once. In fact, multitasking takes longer and you’re more likely to make mistakes. With all tasks, but especially significant ones, it’s best to focus all of your time and energy on that one task.
#4: Learn to Say “No”
Taking on extra work helps you feel more productive, but it’s not a good idea if you don’t have the time to do it. This is why creating a schedule and planning your days ahead of time is important— you’ll know what you have time for and what you don’t have time for. Saying no to both additional business-related tasks and requests from others in your personal life allows you to have more time to yourself, whether it’s to focus on another part of your business or to focus on yourself.
#5: Organization is Key
Staying organized can help you save time. Disorganization within the workplace leads to more time searching for documents— both paper and online. Creating a filing system that makes sense to your business can help. Organizing documents in chronological order and by type is the easiest way to keep track of both tangible and digital files.
#6: Remember to Take Breaks
This may sound counterintuitive to saving time, but more studies have shown that taking breaks increases productivity. Burnout can happen to business owners just like it can happen to their employees, so you must also take a step back from work from time to time. Just keep in mind that your breaks should be brief, and scheduling them into your busy day can help. If you have a hard time stepping away from work, start by taking small breaks and then work your way up to longer breaks.
#7: Software Services for Automation
Many business tasks are repetitive, yet necessary, but they still take up a lot of your time. Fortunately, you can invest in business software that will automate these tasks for you. Automation is the process of using a machine (e.g., computer software) to perform a specific task in place of a human being performing the task. Examples of business tasks that can be automated include:
- Social media
- Marketing and sales
- Inventory management
- Budgeting and planning
- Accounting and bookkeeping
When you have a software service that can perform these tasks for you, you’ll have more time to focus on other aspects of your business. Also, getting the services you need can limit the number of mistakes made by hand— also saving you time and money.
Aside from automating repetitive tasks, all of these tips come with practice. Be consistent and patient with yourself, and you’ll see how much more productive you’ll become over time.