Running a business is never straightforward. Even when you’ve got it down to a fine art, new problems appear and eat into your day. Jobs queue up and inevitably spill over into your personal time.
Every minute saved is so precious. Anything that keeps you fresh, well-rested and efficient is worthy of inclusion in your daily routine.
The most common recurring nightmare is that we can’t get where we’re going. We’re stuck. Time is against us and we’re pinned to the spot while demands pile up. That, or maybe our teeth falling out.
The fact is, time waits for no business owner. Faced with mounting deadlines, the clock marches on with little regard for our anxiety levels.
Here are six serving suggestions for your working week. Give them a go if you haven’t already.
1. Be mobile
You will have heard a lot of people banging this drum, but flexibility really is vital for the modern workplace. When you’re a small team, especially, multitasking is unavoidable. Understand, too, that your employees have lives that need tending to beyond the office (you should too!).
The first thing is to be flexible with how and where you work. That goes for your team as well. Time in transit needn’t be wasted. Similarly, if there’s a client meeting that makes more logistical sense to bypass the office for, save the commute time, grab some bonus sleep and spend the morning working from home.
It’s also useful to set up cloud drives and forums for collaboration. This allows you to edit and offer feedback in real time among both colleagues and clients.
It’s such a time-saver to have team visibility across projects. It sure beats fussing over attachments and trying to keep track of which draft is the latest version. If employees are absent, it also makes it easier for someone else to pick up where they left off.
2. Keep a notebook
No one’s brain can possibly retain all the important information thrown at it throughout the day. As a business owner, you wear several different hats, often all at once. You need to be ‘on’ and be seen to know what you’re talking about most of the time.
Old fashioned note-taking is vastly underrated. Handwriting in general is something of a dying art. But writing lists can be a valuable refuge for an overworked mind.
The act of writing tasks out by hand helps retain more information for longer. Meanwhile, the therapeutic value of crossing items off with a big red pen is right up there with popping bubble wrap. If buying fancy new stationery is what it takes to get yourself in the habit, then go on and treat yourself.
3. Resist micro-managing
This starts with smart hiring. Sure, a lot of learning is done on the job, but basically, you hire people you trust to perform their assigned role.
As your business grows, it’s hard to relinquish that sense of total control, but you can’t be everywhere at once. Be thorough in hiring the right people, then communicate expectations clearly to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
If you need to constantly hover over someone’s shoulder, either they’re not the right person for the job, or you need to take a step back.
4. Use templates
Don’t get bogged down formatting documents or writing the same copy over and over. Set a standard for all collateral and keep the templates clearly labelled in a shared folder, accompanied by a style guide (if applicable).
This helps new employees, interns and freelancers to get up to speed without you having to run them through all the dry details. Having an efficient onboarding process and clearly labelled templates means less time tracking down that pesky letterhead for Aaron and more time focusing on where your business is headed.
5. Embrace online print management
We all know printing can be a stressful process. Costly as well. By setting up an online print management tool, you can generate brilliant marketing collateral and other branded assets without curling up in a ball and crying streaky CMYK tears.
Create, publish, manage and track your print orders all in one place. Kwik Kopy’s Zenith Hub allows businesses to store digital assets online, making it easy to order printed material whenever it’s needed. Items can be saved as customisable templates ‒ business cards, for example ‒ so you can go back and update details easily without having to recreate any artwork.
6. Get your app game up to speed
Most of us have our favourite apps that we cling to. But there’s always a better way to do things. Stay on the lookout for the latest tools to help you streamline your operations.
Start with things like Asana, or Basecamp for project management. For accounting, try Xero. Likewise, Harvest can help you track time and expenses. Download Headspace to help you decompress and switch off in your downtime. Find the apps that complement your approach to running a business. Choose your own adventure, really.
You put the time and effort into scouting talented staff. Make sure you arm yourself with the right equipment to maximise their output.