Industry Market Trends
Small Business Time Management Tips
September 18, 2012
"Time is money." It's an old cliché, but every small business owner knows how valuable it is to make the most efficient use of the hours in the day. In a survey of small business operators, business-management software firm Mavenlink found that 25 percent say that one extra hour in the working day would be worth more than $500 to them; 60 percent say that that an extra hour would be worth $200 or more. (See this infographic for more research from Mavenlink.) A small business owner has to wear many hats. In fact, Mavenlink found that 76 percent of owners are filling from three to six employee roles in their businesses themselves. No wonder, then, that owners are always looking for ways to manage their time better. What are some strategies that businesspeople are employing to help them get more out of their time - and stay sane in the process? Computer solutions, online tools and mobile applications can offer many benefits for business owners looking for ways to be more productive. But the basic time-management arsenal has remained the same since the long-ago days when everything was done on paper:
- The Calendar - Your grandfather might have carried a pocket calendar such as those manufactured by the venerable Day-Timer company. A paper calendar is as reliable a tool as ever, but one advantage of an electronic calendar is that you can program it to give you reminders about appointments, project due dates and regular tasks that must be done weekly, monthly and yearly.
- The To-Do List - Many effective businesspeople start their day by making a to-do list and prioritizing their tasks. The trick here is to give priority not to the tasks that seem most urgent or attractive, but those that will provide the most value to your business.
- The Idea-Collection System - Often neglected by businesspeople, one of the greatest productivity tools is simply a small pocket notebook where you can write down ideas immediately as they occur to you. Emphasis on "immediately" - if you wait until later to write down that innovative product idea, powerful sales pitch or brilliant new marketing tactic, chances are you will forget it. An electronic idea-collection tool can work as well. The important thing is to make it as easy as possible to capture new ideas and then institute a regular system for acting on them.