Productivity and Time Management Strategies for Your Small Business
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by an ever-expanding to-do list — there’s never enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to do as an entrepreneur. No matter if you have two employees or 100, you might be responsible for the equivalent of an accountant, sales associate and marketer all at once. Without the seemingly endless resources of a big corporation, you have to make every last dollar and every hour count.
Whether you’re in the middle of a slow season, have low operating capital or just need to lower your overhead expenses, we’ll help you work smarter, not harder. Here are five easy and effective ways to protect your most valuable resources — your people, time and capital.
1.Strategically Map Out Your Day
Sticking to a routine can help you accomplish more each day and stay accountable to yourself and to your team. A regular routine promotes plenty of other positive benefits, like better mental health, improved sleeping cycle and lower stress levels.1
Schedule recurring office hours, one-on-one meetings or short weekly meetings to share important updates and get progress reports from your team. These quick check-ins can help you get facetime and go over priorities and announcements without getting bogged down in back-to-back emails or individual conversations.
If you have too many meetings to manage, these tips can help you preserve your time:
- Block off time for deep work: Schedule time each day on your own calendar so that you can complete core responsibilities. Give yourself long enough in each block so that you can concentrate without distractions.
- Be selective of meeting participants: Invite only the crucial stakeholders to work meetings, and delegate someone to take detailed notes. Send the notes to anyone that may need to know the information from the meeting.
- Use team calendars to manage workloads: Eliminate back-and-forth scheduling struggles with a shared team calendar. Make sure to block out all your out-of-office, meeting and other busy time.
2. Know When to Delegate and Outsource Responsibilities
Once your small business reaches a certain size, you can’t possibly handle every task yourself. You could already be there — maybe you have several people, teams or locations to oversee in any given day.
While you may have the mindset to keep all tasks or jobs in-house, it may be more prudent to quickly outsource a contract professional for the job rather than spend time to educate yourself to do it. If you can’t afford a full-time employee, freelance subject-matter experts are easier than ever to source for a one-time or contract-based need. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are great places to start if you need help for a project or service, like customer support or website design.
3. Protect Your Cash Flow
Positive cash flow is the sign of a successes business, but sometimes, against your will and hard work, an unexpected expense or slow month can put you in the red. Get to know a few quick and reliable methods to increase your cash flow before you need to use them:
- How Can a Small Business Recover From Negative Cash Flow?
- Avoid These Common Small Business Cash Flow Mistakes
- Quick Strategies to Increase Your Business’ Cash Flow
Having easy access to savings or some form of business revolving credit, like a credit card or line of credit, can help you preserve precious time and energy when you’re already strapped for resources. Revolving credit is a solid way to finance responsibly since you only borrow what you need when you need it, instead of a lump sum that may not be the amount you truly need.
4. Set Responsible Examples for Your Team
You shouldn’t spend all day at the office – similarly, an always-on mentality isn’t a sensible expectation from your team, at least in most situations. Instead, set practical boundaries, like leaving the office at a reasonable hour, limiting overtime and prioritizing a work-life balance.
Allowing your team to work from home or use flexible scheduling can actually help your whole team improve resource management, reduce or eliminate time commuting, improve work/life balance and promote better health.2 Additionally, remote-flexible enterprises may also be more agile and/or prepared to work through unpredictable settings, like extreme weather or other unfavorable business conditions.
5. Use Free or Low-Cost Small Business Apps and Tools
You can find high-quality free or low-cost tools to help you maximize productivity, manage teams or even market, advertise and sell. If you haven’t checked out what’s available for free, these resources and tools can help you get started:
Marketing on a Budget
- 12 Free Marketing Tools
- 7 Cost-Effective Ways to Expand Your Reach
- Free Graphic Design Tools You’ll Love
Tech to Help You Manage Your Business
- Must-Have Tools for Small Businesses
- Essential Free Resources for Small Business Owners
- 17 Tips for Automating Your Small Business
- 27 Chrome Extensions to Boost Your Productivity
Free Small Business Templates
- Small Business Cash Flow Statement Templates
- Free Small Business Budget Template
- Business Budget Calculator
- Useful Out of Office Templates
Password Management Tools
Project and Task Management Apps
Stay Connected From Afar
1Plata, M. (2018). The Power of Routines in Your Mental Health.
2Howington, J. (2018). The Benefits of Allowing Employees a Flexible Schedule.