Making the Best Use of Your Time in 2020

With the new year just starting, small business owners are looking to the future. The old adage that ‘time means money’ holds true in 2020 as it did in past years. How can small business owners make the best use of their time?This article will offer a few tips.

1. Time Management Software

There are many advantages to using time management software. The benefits of a schedule management tool for small business owners involve knowing just how to spend your time. You begin by adding in the duties that need to be completed per day, week, and month. You could even put yearly duties if you so wish.

The software will then schedule it accordingly. You could even take it a step further and have it schedule just how much time you should be spending on your duties. This helps ensure that you never spend too much time on a single project.

Instead, everything is progressing by some margin every day. Time management software helps you stay on track. This means that you can be sure you’re spending time efficiently. Efficiency leads to productivity which leads to profitability.

2. Invest in Analytics

Many schedule management tools also offer analytics. In the event that it doesn’t, you’ll want to invest in analytics. Whether it’s about your customer base or how you spend your time, analytics can give you a wide and localized view of the data surrounding the topic you’re investigating.

In regards to managing your time, analytics can help you see where all of your time is going. Perhaps you spend too much on one project over others. If that’s the case, you can make an effective plan that will reduce the time spent on that project. This then allows you to focus on other projects so that they can be done, and you can further increase your productivity.

Software that runs analytics is a more efficient tool than attempting to analyze where your time is spent yourself. It’s also more accurate.

3. Understand Your Strengths

Every small business owner is particularly good at something. If it happens to be marketing, then take on more marketing duties. Yet by taking those duties onto yourself, you also need to give up some duties. In understanding your strengths, you also uncover your weaknesses.

Those weaknesses should be delegated to those who understand or perform at it better than yourself. This saves you time because you can rely on those experts to get the job done a lot faster and more accurately than yourself. With everyone working on the projects and duties that they’re the best at, your productivity will soar.

4. Make Chain of Command Clear

One big time waster is meetings. They’re often unnecessary. Everything can be communicated through email. However, if someone is unsure about how to proceed with a certain duty, then they need someone to ask. It doesn’t always have to be you. Interruptions due to mundane queries should be avoided.

A method to handle this is with a clear chain of command. You should establish project managers. They should understand the project from beginning to end as well as every aspect of the project. If someone has a question, the leader should be asked instead of yourself.

Make Your Time Efficient

In 2020, your overall goal should be making your productivity increase. By managing your time, you will likely see that increase. Try these few methods to improve your time management.

4 Smart Ways to Scale Your Small Business

How do you improve your small business, transforming it into a medium-sized business in the next ten years? By planning to make this happen. Without a vision, it will be business as usual until the day you sell your business.

Here are 4 suggestions to help you think bigger, much bigger:

  1. Expand Your Market

If your small business manufactures parts for passenger vehicles or is an agribusiness, think of taking advantage of the reduced government barriers to export. Instead of simply selling to a regional or national market, think international because imminent NAFTA changes may protect your exports to Mexico or Canada from tariffs, making them duty-free.

  1. Upgrade Your Technology

Technology is a force multiplier. It allows you to increase your effort to produce more work. Investing in technology means you’ll get more work done with the same effort.

Your small business must have the following technology tools: security software to protect your business against online fraud; mobile technology to empower you and your employees to communicate from anywhere; a Wi-Fi router to improve document sharing and printing, a local area network for Internet-based work; laptops to allow you to continue to work when you leave the office; and closed-circuit television cameras to deter theft.

  1. Train Your Employees

According to Employee Training is Worth the Investment, an article in Go2HR, about 40 percent of employees who don’t get job training leave within the first year, citing lack of training for moving on to other jobs.

Such a large employee turnover is expensive. Losing almost half of your employees every year is a high cost to pay. It negatively impacts productivity, sales, and morale. You may also have to pay staff overtime and spend precious time and money screening, interviewing, and hiring applicants.

If your business requires knowledge workers but you hope that they will figure everything out on their own, then your business probably has a high turnover rate.

It’s hard to build a thriving business if a large percentage of your workers disappear every year. Business is hard enough without adding artificial problems. The best way to avoid paying the high cost of employee turnover is to provide in-house training.

On-the-job-training fits your business needs, creates happier and more loyal staff, builds a pool of talented people, attracts new candidates when you need to hire, and cross-trains your workforce.

  1. Monitor Industry Trends

Your business functions as part of a larger ecosystem of consumer needs and industry changes. By monitoring industry trends, unsettling changes won’t take you by surprise. For instance, many jobs that have changed little after the industrial revolution may transform once Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes predominant

On the bright side, trends also signal opportunity. As Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold pointed out in Clicking, their landmark book on social and consumer trends, “Trends are the long-lived forces that are shaping our society and will shape our future.”

Popcorn and Marigold consider trends such an essential element in business success that they have created a company called BrainReserve to inform forward-thinking entrepreneurs about the latest cultural trends.

Using trends as a barometer to get a reading on current events can help your small business gauge the trajectory of the future. Trends trickle into every aspect of society, affecting even small businesses in ancillary industries. Use your awareness of emerging trends to manufacture or retail high demand products.

All things considered, it’s wise to regard your successful business as an acorn. If you nurture it with visionary thinking based on improving market reach, technological upgrades, ongoing employee training, and trend monitoring, it has the potential to grow into an oak tree.

How Small Businesses Can Save Big

Small businesses have to ensure they run a tight ship because profits don’t always come in regularly. This reality makes it impossible to overlook any expense you can reduce, and the following guide should help you save now that you need it the most.

Consider Used

One thing some business owners tend to overlook is the ability to purchase used or refurbished items. There are many quality, used items out there that have a lot of life to give, and you can take advantage of that. For example, you can buy a refurbished Xerox Docucolor 700 for sale instead of buying brand new, which could end up costing you an arm and a leg. You can also consider purchasing used office furniture that gives you an opportunity to redecorate more often.

Go Green

Try to take small steps towards being a more eco-friendly business. This is a good idea even if you don’t care about climate change because it’s going to end up saving you money. For example, installing solar tubes can greatly reduce your need to turn on regular lights since you’ll be illuminated just fine using the sun’s light. It may also be a good idea to avoid using paper as much as possible and switch to digital paperwork instead. If you can, you should also consider installing eco-friendly appliances that will reduce your energy costs as well.

Try Outsourcing

It would be nice to be able to afford a lot of employees, but the reality is that a small business owner probably cannot afford to keep a large staff. If this is you, then keep your staff low or cut it more if you can save money. What you are going to need to rely on for now is outsourcing. There are a lot of people out there who can help you on a case by case basis, which means you’ll be saving money most of the time until you need their help. You can outsource some of your work locally or remotely depending on the type of job that needs to get done.

Switch Vendors

A business can get used to vendors because they have developed a relationship, and it would feel weird to change now. You can’t fall for this trap because you could end up getting stuck with a deal that isn’t as good as it could be. Go ahead and start considering other vendors to see if you are still getting a good deal. This doesn’t mean you have to drop the vendor as soon as you find a better deal. What you are going to do is simply present all the offers to your current vendor to see if there is any way they can match those prices. You might save some money, or you might get additional perks to stay put.

Embrace Online

Some business owners don’t always embrace everything technology has to offer. For example, you don’t have to keep employees in your office. You could use cloud services to have them work remotely. This reduces the resources you’ll need to ensure that your employee has everything he or she needs. You are also going to have to make sure you try using telecommunications as well to have your employees work remotely a few more times. You won’t have to worry about providing water, snacks, and coffee since your employees will probably take care of that on their own.

These are just some things you can do to try to save money as small business owners. Analyze your expenses, and see if there are other ways you can cut expenses not mentioned here.