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7 Ways to Find More Time to Grow Your Business

Fourteen months after starting their own plant hire company, our clients ran into some trouble that was largely impacting their business.

They found themselves surrounded by stacks of paper, their inbox was brimming with more than 300 emails that needed to be answered or trashed and, just finding a pen on their cluttered desk became a challenge.

It didn’t take long for them to realise the need to get smarter about managing their time to make their company run more smoothly and by listening to our advice they soon found that by being made accountable for their actions they were better placed at managing their time. Within 8 months they grew their business to a point where they could hire their first full-time employee, making them all the more able to focus on the important aspects of the company.

Here are seven ways you may be wasting time without even realising it.

  1. You overload on administrative work. Too often, small-business owners waste time on tasks they don’t like or aren’t even good at. What’s more, they often expend energy avoiding such tasks and then spend more time than necessary doing them.
  2. You put off quick tasks. If you can pay a bill or schedule an appointment in a couple of minutes, do it immediately. Putting chores aside for later—no matter how mundane—is a common way small-business owners waste time.
  3. You micromanage employees. Too many employees need their hand held throughout the day and, as a result, small-business owners often waste precious time micromanaging such workers just to make sure they do their jobs properly. If you have to guide an employee through every aspect of the job and they aren’t making progress toward working independently, ‘let them go!’. Harsh as it may seem, firing people who are slowing you down may be the best solution for your business.
  4. You let daily developments drive you. Putting out tiny fires throughout the day is a big misuse of time. Rather than thinking about strategies to expand your business, you’re drowned dealing with every issue that comes your way minute-by-minute. To stay focused on what really matters, try to block out time each day for your strategic priorities.
  5. You don’t have a clear social media strategy. Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media sites will certainly help your productivity. But even if you devote only one hour each day to social media activity, you will still be wasting time if you don’t have a game plan, “Social media is part of your marketing plan. You really need to understand what your desired results are.”
  6. You try to reinvent the wheel. Hanging onto projects or products that no longer look promising is a waste of time, ask yourself, “How promising does this potential client / product look?” Be honest with yourself and decide if it’s time to drop it and move on.
  7. You repeat the same things over and over. Customer communication is important, but if you always have to answer the same questions from different customers, you’re wasting time. Rather than starting from scratch each time, create a template for such routine tasks as email responses to common queries, invoices, client letters and meeting agendas.