One of the most common complaints that we hear from the business owners is that they simply don’t have enough time in a day to get everything done. Many feel they are in crisis management mode, constantly spending time putting out fires and not enough time on tasks that generate revenue. So we thought we would share some ideas to help you improve your productivity.
The efficiency of the business owner has a profound impact on the overall productivity of the company as well as we have learned over the years. Chances are good that if you are spending all your time putting out fires, your employees are too, and no one is focusing on revenue-generating tasks.
Plan Your Day
One of the simplest productivity improvement steps we have learned is to prioritize tomorrow’s activities before you leave the office tonight. By doing this you will have a much better chance of getting key projects done the next day because your day will have already been planned. Too often business owners rush out of the office late at night, exhausted, and return the next day to the same storm that they left. Taking a few minutes before you leave to plan the following day can really increase your productivity.
Show Me The Money!
Chances are good that your primary role as owner of your company is generating revenue. If it isn’t, it should be. This makes it vital that you delegate nonrevenue-generating tasks to your employees. Most likely, these tasks are not your strengths anyways, so delegating them will really enhance your productivity.
Bookkeeping, payroll and HR are three typical task areas business owners often try to handle themselves to save money. Usually most are not qualified for these roles and spend countless hours doing tasks that trained professionals could do in less time. Again, focus on what you need to do and delegate what others can do for you.
The Email Trap
Don’t let your email rule your time. Too often we hear entrepreneurs complain about the daily hours they spend on their emails. Although email has become a vital mode of communication, it can consume a significant portion of your day unless it is managed. Experts recommend that instead of compulsively checking your email every minute of the day, set aside specific times during the day to review your emails. Handle the urgent ones immediately and prioritize the others. Chances are good that not all of your email is life-threatening.
Technology is Your Friend
Use technology to make you more productive. If you use Outlook, Word, and Excel regularly, learn enough about them to maximize their usefulness. Productivity experts indicate that most users of these programs know how to complete tasks in them but don’t know enough to use them efficiently. Read a training manual or attend a class if you can so that you use these tools to help you free up time to focus on your core task: generating revenue.
Train and Empower the Team
Hire the right people and provide proper training. Too often entrepreneurs face constant and continual interruptions from employees asking questions, which is frequently caused by inadequate training and development. Although it may seem like it will require more of your time to properly train your key people, the time you will save by not being interrupted every five minutes will amaze you. Once you have them trained then, as we mentioned, delegate to them. Empower them to make decisions and give them the tasks you need to remove yourself from so you can focus on generating revenue.
Turn Admin Time into Revenue Time
As you can see we have a recurring theme in this article. If you currently are spending more time on administrative duties than you are on tasks that generate revenue, then you probably need to apply some of these ideas and improve your productivity. If you do the math, by giving yourself an extra hour each day to focus on what you really should be focusing on, you will be giving your company an extra five hours per week of income-generating time. That is quite a bit of time.
Keep in mind something we mentioned earlier: Productive business owners usually own productive companies. The tone you set regarding your productivity will permeate the entire organization. If you expect yourself to be productive with your time, then your employees will see the standard you set and follow it. This, in turn, will enhance the buyer readiness of your business.
Acquiring companies can tell the difference between an efficient, well-run organization and one that is not optimizing its productivity. Which do you think they will pay top dollar for? Realize that as you work on your productivity skills, you are enhancing your company’s value.
Art by Fletcher Prince and used with permission under the Creative Commons.
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