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27 June 2015

Making your Time Worth More

Running a business effectively comes down to ensuring that every hour of your effort makes a difference to what the business is trying to achieve. Your time needs to be applied efficiently and you need to maximize your engagement in activities that you know will have the greatest impact on the success of the business.

A regular workday is split between high-efficiency activities and low-efficiency activities. Good time management reduces the amount of hours you spend doing low efficiency activities so you can focus on more effective tasks. This means you get a greater financial return on the effort you put in. As a business owner, it’s often the case that nobody will do the work if you don’t. This leaves you to spend hours on tasks that are a waste of your knowledge and expertise.  It might seem impossible to overcome a problem like this without hiring a new employee and paying another wage, but there are methods that allow you to cost-effectively manage your time and put your effort into activities you know will generate return.

How do you change from a low-efficiency workday to a high efficiency work day?

  1. Identify the time wasters.

The first step towards efficient time management is identifying your inefficiencies. Take a comprehensive record of how your time is spent during a regular workday. Include any out-of-hours work that you end up doing; inefficient tasks often push into your personal time.

When you have an accurate record of your workday, analyse which activities are generating the least return for your business. These are the activities that take a lot of time but have little direct impact on your business income. These tasks can usually be broken into two main categories; administration and trouble shooting. Managing client information and overcoming work-related problems are important to the functionality of your business, but they aren’t the most effective tasks for optimising your time.

  1. Implement systems.

Setting up effective systems allows you to overcome the time wastage of low-efficiency tasks. Systems can be difficult and costly to implement alone, but operating your business under an existing franchise network can reduce the costs enormously. Franchise brands like Taskforce establish partnerships with systems suppliers that allow franchisees access to below market prices. Working with a network like this also ensures that the systems have already been tested and refined.

Software systems allow you to keep track of client data and billing information in a central place. Keeping track of payments and maintaining relationships with clients can be collapsed into a single system. Utilizing mobile phone technology also allows you to maintain these systems at the time you interact with the client. This means you won’t need to set aside hours to get through paperwork that has accumulated over the previous week or month.

Trouble-shooting is a problem that can also be solved by establishing proper systems. Many business owners spend a lot of time working things out for themselves and solving problems. Building a business from the ground up means every part of your business needs to be discovered for yourself, and this can result in a lot of item wasted finding the best option and solving problems that arise. For example, buying a vehicle for your business could take months before you find a competitive deal. Obtaining finance for your vehicle purchase might also take months to arrange.  Taskforce establishes systems that make this process more efficient, whilst also ensuring that its franchisees buy at prices that are much more competitive than those available to regular customers.

  1. Simplify and focus.   

After you’ve removed low-efficiency tasks from your schedule, you can focus on optimising your high-efficiency tasks. High efficiency tasks can be broken into three main categories: ideas, interaction and action. Each of these tasks have their own characteristics. How you choose to schedule them throughout your workday should reflect how you work best, but below are some suggestions for how you could arrange your high-efficiency tasks.

Ideas.

It’s always important to consider the big picture when running a business. Strategy and innovation are important for ensuring that your company grows and remains competitive. It’s useful to set aside time before and after your workday to explore ideas. This allows you to approach the day with a clear mind in the morning, and allows you to analyse how the day went in the afternoon. When working on business strategy, ensure you consider both your day-to-day approach and your long-term business strategy.   

Interaction.

Take the time to interact with your clients and employees in a manner that is friendly and clear. Communications that come directly from the business owner are more valuable and have a greater effect on keeping your clients loyal. Clear communications also ensure that everybody you interact with understands their role in relation to your business. This reduces the likelihood of problems arising and allows your business to function as effectively and smoothly as possible. Set aside time throughout your day when you can focus solely on interacting with your clients so that you can be certain that your work together will be high quality.

Action.

This is the stuff that your business runs on. The hard work of your trade or service is what you know best. If you have taken care of your ideas and interactions, the rest of your workday can be left to uninterrupted action. Being able to focus allows you to do the best work you can, which will satisfy existing customers and bring in new clients. 

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