time-managementAs a business owner and leader you have one non-renewable resource:

TIME

Anything you put your attention towards eats away at your time, so it’s critical that you focus on activities for which you’ll get a high return on that investment. Conversely, you need to also make sure that you DON’T focus your time on the wrong stuff. What you’re going to focus on will understandably vary based on your business and your priorities, but to protect your time here are a few ideas about things business owners should probably NOT be doing with their time:

  1. Prepare your own taxes. For the business or yourself. Let your CPA or accountant do their job(s). Stepping out of the way will allow them to get it done right and get it done on schedule. This will not only save you time, but also stress, hassle, headaches, legal battles, audits, errors – and all the money that’s associated with those mistakes.
  2. Fight office computer problems. Technology is the second largest investment most companies make, second only to employees. Make technology work for you and your staff. Make sure everyone has the right tools in their hands to get the job done. Hire someone to maintain your technology for you. You and your staff have a much better things to do than fight computer problems. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Give you and your staff the opportunity to work efficiently, securely and with back up.
  3. Invoicing. You love your business and you want everything to be perfect – but this is an area of diminishing returns. This is an important programmable process that can be automated to get the invoices out on time, and accurately, to every client, without you having to ‘touch’ them.
  4. Designing the marketing strategy. Unless you run a marketing firm, you don’t know what you don’t know. Hire a third-party to at least give you a high-level overview of a feasible marketing strategy that is specific to your products and services. Pay them to draft a plan, schedule and estimated budget.  Ask them for a referral if you need to hire someone to create the content, and hire them to execute that plan on schedule and within budget.
  5. Stocking office consumables. There is a positive return to having soda, water and yummy snacks for your staff, clients and guests. The return is greater if you empower a trustworthy staffer to be proactive in routinely stocking these items. Better still, challenge that staffer with an incentive to stay within or even beat the monthly consumables expense budget.
  6. Business travel. If your business travels routinely include the airport or long-distance commutes, consider a driving service. This step will save you gas, time, maintenance and parking efforts. You can use that time to make business calls, prep for a meeting or grab a nap as you look forward to a more productive meeting. This will also help you avoid unplanned delays, and encourage you to be punctual to business appointments.
  7. Tracking income & expenses. Being part of an open-book management company, I’m not in any way telling you not to keep track of every penny earned and spent. In fact, it’s critical. Bring in a good bookkeeper on a part-time basis to keep track of every penny and to give you the kind of reporting you need to continue to make sound earning and spending decisions. A good bookkeeper can focus and bring new ideas to the table about your financial situation that you may have missed doing it alone.
  8. Administrative task management. Running an office includes daily tasks: opening the mail, depositing checks at the bank, sending mail, scanning documents, printing, copying, collating, stapling, etc.  These are critical tasks that need to be done consistently, and they need to be done well.  A good administrative assistant will save you more time than you can imagine.

The underlying theme here is that your time as a leader of a business is the most precious resource you have. Once it’s spent, it can’t be returned. Finding ways to use your time more wisely is the key to achieving your business goals.

Brightsource IT is an Information Technology provider located in St. Louis, Missouri. We have been providing complete IT management and tech support for small and medium businesses since 2004. As members of the Apple Consultants Network, we also provide Mac and iOS management training to corporate IT departments.

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