How to manage your time as a small business owner
Updated: Mar 17
Small business owners have to wear many hats: Managing Director, Accountant, Marketer, HR, and many more. It’s safe to say that it can all be a bit overwhelming at times and good time management turns into 16-hour days way too quickly. This is especially true for small business owners who are "on the tools" all day. What this means is that you're doing all the day-to-day tasks yourself instead of being able to focus on business tasks like marketing and expanding your business. Not everyone can afford to hire more hands to help them out so being able to manage your time effectively is needed when carrying out all the work yourself.
Luckily, I have a few time management tricks up my sleeve that will help you manage your time better so that your weekends can be spent enjoying yourself, spending time with family and friends, or doing anything but finishing a task that should’ve been done on Thursday!
What do I mean by this? Well, how many times can you think of when you were feeling unmotivated to start or continue with a project only to procrastinate from doing so until it came back to bite you? This is what I mean. The issue is not that you chose to procrastinate, it's that you didn't have the motivation to start on your own merit.
Motivation comes in a couple different ways for people; external motivation and internal motivation. External motivation can come in the form of deadlines, pressure by customers, or pressure by peers. This form of motivation is often a result of little internal motivation and can harm relationships with customers and your peers. If you're being pressured by a customer to start on something that you should've already started on, then it's unlikely that they will come back to you to give you more work. Likewise, if your peers are nagging at you to get on with something, it can result in worsening workplace relationships, something that is so precious to us small business owners.
Internal motivation is where it's at, and where I want to help you today. Internal motivation comes from you, only you. If your partner tells you do something, that's not internal, that's still someone else telling you to do something, no matter how close you are. Internal motivation comes when you feel like you're doing well and you're on top of things. This is when you're most productive because you take the first step before anyone else and without needing to be prompted to do so. From here, relationships with customers and peers can only get better and deadlines will feel like they're so much easier to meet.
One easy way to build up motivation is to write tasks out and tick them off once they're complete. This will allow you to keep track of tasks, give closure to the ones you've finished, and reward your brain for staying focused for so long. You'd be surprised how satisfying a list of ticked off tasks can really be!
Plan more time than you think you need
While we should all strive to do more and be better than we already are, especially for our customers, this technique has personally helped me get longer length projects over the line and even week to week tasks. It could even help you to start getting motivated if you see that you're getting tasks done on time for once!
The reason this works is because it allows for things to go wrong. Life doesn't always go to plan, anyone could tell you this but it's especially true for small businesses. Allowing for time to fix things that might go wrong throughout the week will allow you to keep on track with deadlines and plan for anything that could come up along the way. If nothing or very little comes up during the timeline for your project, you can overdeliver on your original expectations and promises to the customer. Not only will staying on track allow you to build a good relationship with the customer, finishing early could make it even better and save you money (depending on the project of course!). All of this because you simply planned ahead and took risks and threats into account.
Use a CRM to create tasks for engaging with leads
I'm honestly quite surprised at the size of some businesses which still refuse to work with a CRM system. Working with a CRM system will allow you to create follow up tasks with leads and sales opportunities, keep in touch with customers, and allow you to plan your day-to-day tasks for your entire team to see and stay aligned on. You can even keep notes on specific customers so you're not wasting time searching through documents or asking the customer a question you've already asked before.
Of course this is all forgetting about just how useful a tool like this is for scaling your business' communication, marketing, and sales processes. Using it to help manage your time effectively is just the beginning of what could become a platform you rely on for all sorts of tasks and processes.
Here at Autus, we're not just experts in getting you motivated and helping you to manage your time better. When it comes to marketing tech, we've got industry leading knowledge on a variety of different marketing and CRM platforms. When it comes to marketing strategy, we know exactly what it takes to grow a business from a startup to £multi-millions turnover. Whether you're serious about growth and are ready to take that leap, or just want to manage your business more effectively, let Autus help you take that next step. Click below to book your free discovery call and start to transform your business today!