Small businesses today are spoiled in terms of just how many tools they have to choose from.
But is it really, though?
Because small business owners still have a ton on their plate despite the wealth of tools out there.
In fact, the average business owner wastes up to 20 hours per week on “low-value” tasks.
The takeaway here? Just because there are more solutions than ever to help us streamline our businesses, we’re still tasked with figuring out how to best spend our time.
And making it happen means knocking out the time-consuming tasks that keep you from your real “work” day after day.
If you’re looking to shave some serious time off of your schedule, consider the following five steps to keep your admin chores from eating up the clock.
Perhaps one of the best ways to reduce your workload is allowing your customers and clients to pick up the slack.
This isn’t a matter of skirting responsibility, though. Instead, it’s about empowering your customers to self-manage their communication with you, directly from their smartphones, on their own time and terms.
For example, setting up an online scheduling tool gives your customers the freedom to book services around the clock, regardless of your office hours or your staff’s availability.
The ability to book and pay for appointments online cuts out the noise and back and forth, allowing you and your customers to focus on what really matters – getting a great job done.
If you want to get the best bang for your buck, make sure to get an online scheduling tool that can handle as many as your time-consuming, non-billable tasks as possible.
For example, a good online scheduling tool can…
As you can see, an online scheduling tool doesn’t only save you time – it gives you a greater return on your investment by turning mundane office tasks into dollars and cents.
Listen: there are only so many hours in the day.
And the majority of small business owners work between 50 and 60 hours weekly.
It only makes sense to spend as many of those hours on tasks that are going to result in dollars and cents, right?
When you look at your schedule, ask yourself: what are your most important tasks? Which ones are the most time-consuming?
Most of us think that we know, but assumptions are dangerous for small businesses.
To slash your time-consuming chores, you need to figure out what your “chores” are in the first place.
With tools such as RescueTime, you can monitor each and every action you do on a daily basis to figure out your priorities. From calls and meetings to everything in-between, the app can help clue you in on when you’re being productive and what tasks you might need to kick to the curb.
This approach to work not only helps you stay focused, but also clues you in on where your time is best spent. If you want to guarantee that your schedule makes sense, don’t be afraid to put it under the microscope.
Unfortunately, some of our most time-consuming tasks can’t just be dropped altogether.
For example, anything related to marketing and research such as writing blog posts or scheduling social content. Manual follow-up emails and calls also come to mind.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to outsource tasks thanks to the gig economy. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr are full of skilled remote workers and freelancers, not to mention virtual assistants to help take care of the stuff you just don’t have time for.
The upside of hiring from these platforms is that the workers are vetted and you can see their track records, giving you some much-needed peace of mind. Since the gig economy is so competitive, you can typically find freelancers at a bargain.
Remember: time is money. Think about how much a few hours here and there are worth to you and how quickly that adds up. In these cases, outsourcing flat out makes sense.
Of course, the concept of outsourcing might make you a bit nervous.
Totally understandable! However, consider that small businesses in the United States ramped up their outsourcing by nearly 60% according to Micro Sourcing. Meanwhile, over half of businesses outsource for the sake of saving time.
Think of outsourcing as a long-term investment. Once you find trustworthy folks to take care of your tedious tasks, you’ll wonder why you haven’t thought of outsourcing sooner.
Small business owners are go-getters that want to do things their way.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel.
Using templates for your business helps with both organization and saving some serious time.
As highlighted by HubSpot, small businesses can effectively use templates for any combination of the following:
Consider the potential hours you pour into whipping up new documents, the worst culprit being emails. By having a variety of templates already on deck, you can clear out your inbox in no time flat.
Savvy small business owners know that they should never stop prospecting.
And if you’re doing so day after day, your head is in the right place.
Of course, personalized outreach isn’t something you can rush, right?
Consider how you can automate your prospecting, whether through qualifying your leads (see tip #1) and having tested templates to reach out to them (see tip #4). While you can’t treat your prospects as one-size-fits-all, these strategies can certainly speed up the process.
Another way to make sure you’re making the most of your outreach is by going after people who know you already. This might mean asking for referrals from customers you already have or looking at Facebook followers or email opt-ins first.
The takeaway here is that you can’t just treat prospecting like a numbers game. With an explicit strategy and qualified prospects, you can make your approach to outreach infinitely more efficient. Prospecting then becomes more of a sure-thing and less of a chore.
Small business owners are undoubtedly busy, which is all the more reason you can’t let chores take away from your already precious time.
And the tools are already at your fingertips to do exactly that.
From figuring out your most important tasks to encouraging customers to come to you, anything you can do to eliminate those chores is a major point in your favor.
Because the sooner you eliminate “busy work,” the sooner you can focus on your customers and bottom line.
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