Have you ever heard someone say “There goes a busy fool”?  Well, if you’re a business owner take a good look at yourself because it’s possible that you are that busy fool.  Always dashing about, flying from meeting to meeting, trying to keep the accounts, handle enquiries, do the sales calls attend networking events, blog and tweet. Wow, there’s hardly time for all the coffee you need to drink to keep going!

Far too often business owners can so busy they feel unable to accept new clients, new opportunities and new projects.  They are too busy to find better ways of doing things and too busy to enjoy the business success they are having.

The truth is we can all make ourselves busy, but busy doing what is the big question. Many of the things you do as a business owner are out of habit or a belief you should be doing it rather than actually knowing it adds value to your business. Here are five simple time savers which can make a real difference to your work if you are feeling overstretched.

  1. Keep it all together.  If you feel yourself spending precious time looking for a piece of paper or that stray sticky note with a telephone number on or an idea you had, then now’s the time to start keeping it all together . Use a day book.  Each day start a new page, put the date at the top of the book and use it to keep your to do list, ideas, notes from calls, questions and information. You can easily find things then in date order.
  2. Files and folders.  Use either physical folders or computer based files (or a combination of the two) to keep things together by project, client or product.  Then you can easily get your hands on all the information when going to a meeting, answering a phone call or dealing with a problem.
  3. Automate more things. Technology means more and more things can be automated.  Be careful you don’t lose the personal touch, but things like paying bills and sending out general information can be automated to save you time and stop you worrying about getting things done on time.
  4. Delegate to others who know how to do things better than you do.  It’s easy to think you can’t afford to pay for someone else to do things or that you can do the job quicker than or as well as they could, but unless you’re an expert in everything I doubt that’s the case. Use freelancers for one off projects, buy in help when you need it for things like PR, pay roll, accounts and website set up.  Pay them to do what they know best, leaving you to get on with what you know.
  5. Set up templates.  Whether you are a sole proprietor or a large corporation, design a standard email response to answer those questions, set up a database of standard replies to cut and paste in.  Of course, you are free to tweak those emails as necessary, but a template gives the basics and you can personalise it.  That way you are more likely to give a well thought out response, presented in a professional way, which eliminates the potential errors as well as saving you time.

Got any other handy time savers?

Author: Rebecca Jones
Image: doctor_bob/

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