People and Productivity: The wrestling match for every new small business owner
As a small business owner you love to pursue your passion in business. You love the freedom to control your professional life and you love the flexibility of your business lifestyle. So what’s the catch? You may also feel like a juggler because you may also find yourself doing many mundane tasks to keep your business going. This takes away time from focusing on your business because you spend too much time focusing in your business.
Startup companies and other businesses that are not growing still have lots of details to take care of with a limited number of people. Often the business owner does most of the tasks until the business grows sufficiently to hire to fill specific roles. Over time you may still find yourself doing these mundane everyday tasks, like hiring and firing, bookkeeping, buying supplies, or spending time on new marketing. Perhaps you also are selling on the store floor, waiting tables, or doing some of the cooking if you own a restaurant.
Whatever time you are spending on everyday tasks may be too much time as the owner. This is especially true for a start up business, as it takes away critical time to be creative, engaged, and to focus on business development tasks that will help your business grow. You do want your business to flourish and grow. That’s what a small business owner is about. Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend more time thinking about your future rather than just getting through the present?
How do you get across the bridge to get more time focused on growing your business?
To do this you have to transition from your current way of doing business to a new way. There needs to be a distinct change in your time, focus, and where you spend your energy. In other words, you need to decide that you are going to spend more time thinking about your business; then do it.
Have you decided to really transition how you spend your time?
If so, then great! The next thing you have to do is to take action by buying yourself more time. Here are some practical suggestions that will free up some of your time so that you can refocus on growing your business:
Hire and Delegate
Think about what you are really good at, and what you are not so good at. Be honest here as it makes no sense to think that you are good at something even though others would say that you’re not. Perhaps you should make a list in two columns: “I’m good at” and “I’m not so good at.” Once you have done an honest evaluation of yourself, group the “I’m not so good at” items into job roles. Perhaps you’re not good at cooking, serving, bartending, bookkeeping, selling, etc. Some of these items could be grouped into a single role, such as “serving” and “bartending” since they are similar.
Then, for each functional group in your list you should consider hiring someone to do that role, which will free up a certain percentage of your time. You don’t have to hire to replace all your weaknesses at once, but do one at a time while your business catches up with the expense. In this way you get a better person more suitable for the role, plus it frees you up to spend some time about growing your business.
Be Prescriptive with Time Management
Another change you can make to free up time to focus on growing your business is to perhaps have better time management. Create a list of all the things you do and where you spend your time. Group the list into common groups with similar and related tasks. Also assign an approximate amount of time that you spend each day, or week, on each grouping or task. You can also assign a priority to each as well, such as high, medium, or low. Once you have built this list with the amount of time and priority, make a decision on those items that you can do at a certain time of the day, week, or month; in other words, schedule those tasks. In this way, you won’t be focused on those tasks until your predetermined time.
Then, go through the rest of your list in the same way. Identify the items that must be done daily, others once per week, and other once per month. But, once you go through this time management organization process you may find that some of the tasks may not take quit as long. You also may find that there will be certain times in your day that have also freed up. Or, you may see that certain tasks have a process to perform that is repeatable. Document this and subsequently assign the task to a staff person to do. You can then use these new freed times to think and reflect on ideas for growing your business.
You started a business because you are passionate about what you do. Your sense of freedom, flexibility, and to be your own boss drives you to where you are today. Now, help yourself to focus on your passion. Reduce your time on the mundane tasks of keeping a business going. So you can start spending more time to work ON the business and not so much IN it.