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Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

Business Time. Management concept with clockBeing an entrepreneur can be a most exciting thing. When it comes to small businesses, entrepreneurs today definitely have their work cut out for them. The current state of the economy means that you have to be working at it 24/7.

Even after putting in all this time, you may still feel some things slipping away from you. This is where the old adage comes in “Work smarter, not harder!”

Time management is an imperative skill for an entrepreneur and effective time management is what ultimately leads to success.

Have a Team You Trust
When it comes to important tasks you need to have people you can trust in times of crisis. Your team should understand business processes fully and know the business. Communication and clarity are extremely important in business and an effective team will work like a well-oiled machine.
Your team should be able to coordinate matters and effectively communicate even at times when you are not available.

Prioritize
You may think that you can take care of everything but in situations when time is crucial you need to figure out which task has more importance. Identify these tasks before hand and make sure that they are complete before schedule. This will allow you ample time to take care of tasks which may not harm the business if left behind.

Have a Cushion
When setting tasks, make sure you take less time in executing them than required. If tasks are finished beforehand this can leave you with ample breathing space. This strategy will come in handy in emergency situations. When something goes wrong you will have the assurance of that extra cushion of time.

Delegate Responsibility
On behavior that plagues many small business owners is that of handling everything themselves. Since entrepreneurs have been predisposed to take care of tasks themselves since the birth of the business they feel that they are best positioned to handle them. You need to consider what you can get done and what you can’t. Understand the tasks that can be delegated to other employees.

Don’t Expect Perfection
Perfection is quite simply out; unattainable. Even if you try to get as close to the idea as possible you will find that it is a time eating monster. No entrepreneur has the time to look after meticulous details. Keep your eye on the bigger picture and make sure to complete tasks on time.

Outsource
There are certain tasks that cannot be taken care of in-house. In fact you may be able to get better results from a company that specializes in a particular task. Small businesses don’t generally require dedicated departments for these specialized tasks since they are only required on occasion. These dedicated departments may also end up costing more than you can afford.

Effective Planning
Although this is a no-brainer, it is imperative to time management. Set goals and create timelines associated with them. Make sure that you have an effective system in place with predefined business processes. These processes should be conveyed to every member of the organization so they know what steps to take in case of an issue.

Do Not Multitask
Multitasking can be extremely deceptive. While it may seem that more work is being done, you are doing the quite opposite. What you make up for in time you let go of in efficiency. Single tasks which are planned sequentially have been known to work better. In fact, the human brain is actually hard wired to perform sequential tasks rather than multitask.

Rest a While
The human body has certain limits and you need to identify what yours are. Arriving to work tired and working endlessly may be lowering the quality of your work. Effectively plan tasks and get things done the correct way. Being well rested will increase your ability to focus and have you prepared. In fact, this will increase your productivity in the allocated time that you contribute to the business.

Have a To-Do List
A little goes a long way. Keep a list of tasks that you need to get done personally. The list will help you keep track of small things such as booking parking spaces.

Technology Is Your New Best Friend
There are many project management software programs available on the market at cheap rates they can help keep your business on track and let you make future decisions based on previous activities. If you cannot afford these software programs then there are many other solutions available for you. Invest in a tablet for your business and download management apps. In fact there are many cloud applications which help you manage a project with your team mates.

Remove all Barriers to Communication
Establish a network of communication. Delayed communication can be more detrimental to your business than you would think. If you are unavailable, who will take care of tasks? The established hierarchy in the business can serve as a standard for the network.

Reduce Meetings
Meetings are gaping holes which just completely consume much needed time. Time is money in business and you cannot afford to spend hours in meetings. Don’t schedule too many and set a time limit on them. While it is easier to hash things out in person, keep them at a minimum.

Learn to Say NO
This is a word that you would never want to say to a customer, but sometimes it just needs to be done. If you already have too much on your plate, don’t take that extra order that you just know won’t be finished on time. Rather than jeopardizing those that you already have scheduled, say no to those that can’t be done.

The customer may be disappointed at the refusal but it would still be better than an angry customer demanding better service. Time management can feel like a juggling act of many entrepreneurs. Learn to take a moment to breathe and take time out for yourself. This will allow you to look at the bigger picture and take care of the things that need to be done.

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