Now that you’re in the mode of spring cleaning, let’s take that same desire to sort and organize and apply it to your way of running your business. I’m willing to bet that you’ve “grandfathered in” certain processes in your operations and simply haven’t bothered to consider that there might be more efficient ways to do things or that you may have broken business processes.
Let’s change that right now.
Spend a Day in Your Life
It’s not always possible to see what’s broken in your business processes, so we’re going to make a conscious effort to catalog how you’re doing things. For a day (or maybe even several), keep a notepad of all the activities you do, as well as your processes for each.
Here’s what that might look like:
- Update social media: Log into Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn and post updates several times throughout the day.
- Check email: Spend about five minutes every other hour checking and responding to email.
- Pay invoices: As invoices come in, I log into our accounting system to cut a check.
Taking a survey of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it can help you see where you’re wasting time.
Look at Alternatives
This is where all those marvelous apps and software programs come in handy. Just looking at the list above, I can already see that a tool like Hootsuite would help cut down on the time you spend logging in to each social site, and let you do all your social update scheduling at once, so that you’re not logging in over and over throughout the day.
There are other tools you can use to streamline your processes. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can simplify the sales process for you, as well as make it easier to manage your customer contacts. With email marketing software, you can send targeted messages to really segmented groups. And productivity apps can help you keep track of your notes, stay on top of deadlines, and manage your time more smartly.
Beyond those apps, consider smarter time management. Rather than doing something multiple times a day, like checking your email, or as soon as something comes up, like paying invoices, establish specific times you’ll handle those things. Maybe you check your email when you first get to the office, before lunch, and at the end of the day. And maybe you decide you’ll pay all invoices on the first of the month. You’re saving major time by better prioritizing it.
Implement One Change at a Time
If you try to change everything at once, you’ll get frustrated and fail. Instead, choose one new tool or process at a time, implement it, and adjust to it. Admire how much time you save, then move on to the next. Your goal here is to find savvier ways to get all your tasks done so that you’re not constantly reinventing the wheel by doing things the hard way. There are tools out there to help small business owners, so take advantage of them.
Broken Pieces Photo via Shutterstock
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I really like the idea of time-chunking where you block out a portion of time for a specific task instead of handling each instance on an ad hoc basis.