How Many Hats Are You Wearing?
It’s inevitable. As a small business owner, you will wear many, many hats.
Technical support staff.
But while this type of task juggling is to be expected, you have to be aware that not all of your hats are created equal. Marketing outweighs bookkeeping, for example, because without marketing, there will be no cash to manage.
Not only that, but you have to consider how much time you’re spending in each area as well. If you spend all day tweaking the design on your website and put off sending an email to your list, what have you gained?
Sure, you might have a prettier website, but you lost an opportunity to drive traffic to your offer.
In an ideal world, you’d simply put on your CEO hat and delegate the rest, but here in the real world, we don’t always have that option. Instead, we have to work smarter and take care of how we’re spending our time.
Prioritize Your Daily Tasks
We all have different skills and sweet spots when it comes to the tasks we want and need to do. You might love customer support and hate bookkeeping, while someone else enjoys the numbers game and doesn’t like dealing with the help desk. But regardless of your personal preferences, one thing is certain: money-making tasks should be at the very top of your to-do list.
That might mean product creation, email marketing, client outreach, webinar development, or something entirely different. Identify those money-making tasks in your business and be sure to prioritize them every single day.
Know the Difference Between Important and Urgent
In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey recommends prioritizing tasks based on a time-management grid. Every task is assigned to a quadrant of the grid, based on whether it is urgent, important, both, or neither.
Once you know where a task falls on the grid, you’ll immediately know what you should be working on. For example, marketing and planning are important but not urgent. A ringing phone is urgent, but not important. The sales page for your new program, which is launching tomorrow, is both urgent AND important.
So before you prioritize your daily to-do list, think about where each of your tasks falls in the quadrant, and schedule them accordingly.
Learn to Delegate
It’s the biggest challenge small business owners have, especially in the early phases when cash flow is tight, but learning to delegate can be an enormous growth tool. Focusing your attention on what you are good at in the area of money-making tasks should be where you spend your time, so if that is taking client appointments at $100+ per hour, it makes sense to hire a Graphic designer at $60 an hour to work on your branding assets (plus they will likely look much better). Always think about how much your time is actually worth when you are taking on tasks that you are not adept at and learn to delegate as much as possible.
Automate, automate, automate
The goal is not to get more done, but to have less to do! With system automation, many of the tasks that are taking up your valuable time can be automated. For instance, both Hubdoc and Receipt Bank will automatically capture statements and receipts from your vendors. Instead of having to log in to all your accounts to get your supporting documents, both Hubdoc and Receipt Bank will “fetch” them for you and if you are using Quickbooks Online, they will actually post the transaction for you!
Learn to say no!
Running a small business means learning to say no, both to clients and work that is either not in your wheelhouse, or is not in line with your mission and vision. Well-wishers will often invite you to events, and learning sessions that take up valuable time and are not 100% connected to the direction you are taking your business in. Clients may ask you to complete tasks that are not quite what you do, but you feel obligated to take them on. This can backfire when the tasks take you much longer because you are not as skilled, lowering your bottom line and taking up precious time.
Will you always be working on the best task for right now? Probably not. Nor will you always use your time as wisely as you could. But by making a conscious effort to organize and prioritize your days, you’ll find it’s a lot less stressful and overwhelming to manage your small business.