How Efficient Is Your Small Business?

Updated: September 08, 2010

Being inefficient does not mean that you are idle or lazy; more that you are yet to find the best way to make the most effective use of your time. As well as the potential for this to create a financial problem, it can also cause stress and a lack of time available to spend with you family and friends - when we start a business we often do so to improve our work/life balance, but an inefficient method of time management can be detrimental to this.

It is often said that there are "not enough hours in the day" or people have excessive workloads, and being snowed under in this manner creates stress and an inability to work to the best of you capabilities.

I am aware of the pressures of running a business, with this week being a particularly busy week I have been slogging along with the best of them, and that is to be expected. However, never lose sight of why you started your business and what your ultimate goal is. Here are a few tips to help keep your eye on that dream:

- Set yourself tasks and stick to them. It is easy to be distracted by other areas within your business but keep your eye on what you were hoping to achieve that day. If you continually add to your daily tasks you will never achieve them all, leading to potential stress and anxiety.

- Delegate! As a small business owner it is absolutely necessary that you are aware of everything that happens within your business, and ultimately you are responsible, it is your business after all! This does not, though, mean that you should have to do everything yourself. You should be able to rely on your staff to pick up the slack in busy periods.

- Outsource. The needs of a small business often peak and flow throughout the year. There will be times when you and your staff are able to cope with the workload placed on you, but there will be times that you will all feel the strain. During these busy periods don't overlook the benefits of outsourcing work to skilled professionals on an ad-hoc basis.

- Keep meetings and conversations focused. When working in a team, the need to communicate is vital. But make sure you have a clear aim for the conversation and that you remain focused on the issue at hand, particularly during busy times.

- Make lists. Despite the stigma that seems to be attached to making lists, it really is the only way to ensure that everything that needs to get done is completed. I find it most beneficial to write a list at the end of my working day of everything that needs to be done the following day; not only does this ensure I don't forget anything, but it also allows me to switch off and relax with my loved ones.

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