The 5 Biggest Time Wasters for Small Business Owners

small business owner time management tips
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As a small business owner, you have a ton of tasks to accomplish daily. But how often do you get to the end of the day and question if you actually accomplished much of anything?

Sometimes, our days running a business are hectic by no fault of our own. But many other times, poor time management is often to blame.

Besides freeing up more time in your day, effective time management plays a big part in the amount of stress, anxiety and potential burnout that a small business owner faces. It can also greatly impact the success of the business itself.

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4 Business Tips to Help You Work Smarter In 2020

Day in and day out, we strive to make our businesses bigger, better and more profitable. With the hopes that each new year will be more successful than the last, we treat each January as a fresh start.

With a new year just around the corner, you’re likely busy setting business goals. And if you’re like me, those plans need to incorporate some techniques on how to work smarter – not harder – in the new year.

Check out the following four business tips that I plan to implement into my own business during 2020. Maybe you will find them useful for your own strategizing, too!

Focus On Your Strengths (and Outsource the Rest)

Like you, I always look for ways that I can cut business expenses.

But I also know where to draw the line.

Over the years, I’ve tried to complete tasks that are outside of my wheelhouse – tasks such as accounting, painting and landscaping. Usually, this would result in frustration and regret. Many times, I would end up having to outsource the task to a professional anyway (after I’ve already attempted it on my own and wasted my own time).  

It only took me doing it that way a few times before I finally learned that the saying “do what you can do best and outsource the rest” is actually true.

Luckily for me, I’ve been able to build an entire business off of a task that many other business owners dislike doing or lack the proper skill set to do well: copywriting. Time and again, I hear from our clients how time magically appears once they outsource their copywriting to us!

What tasks do you despise doing for your business? What project could be completed better if an expert was consulted?

Embrace Networking

Once you start viewing networking as a relationship-building opportunity instead of a sales pitch, it’s no longer a dreaded task.

I recently attended a low-key networking event with 20 other business professionals. The session started with short introductions and then moved into a discussion surrounding creativity in business. In no time at all, a variety of interesting opinions were offered about the subject. Along the way, we learned a little bit about everyone’s businesses. For example, I learned that the photographer present was having a difficult time hiring an assistant.

Networking is not always about trading services. Sometimes, it’s just nice to bounce ideas off of fellow entrepreneurs – people who can relate to what you’re going through.

From my experience, the best business contacts come from those that happen naturally. Although this was a super low-key marketing event (with no business card exchange), two of the attendees freely came up to me to ask for information about my Toronto copywriting services.

(And that haphazard comment from the photographer about needing an assistant? After the meeting, I provided her contact to a friend of mine – who ended up getting hired by her.)

The point is – as large as the small business world is, it’s also quite small. You never know when an opportunity may present itself to help another entrepreneur out or to develop a business relationship.

Get (and Stay) Organized

If you’re like me, I don’t function well in chaos.

If my desk is a mess or my inbox is out of hand, I’m not at my best. And if I’m not at my best, I’m not giving my clients my best.

And that’s a definite no-no.

If you’re not organized, it’s easy to forget to do certain tasks. That’s why you need to come up with a way to stay on top of things needing to be done.

Over the years, I’ve tried different project management software. In the end, I prefer staying organized using the old-fashioned way: handwritten to-do lists.

At the start of each week, I compile a list of “must complete” tasks and “nice to complete” tasks in a special notebook. I check in with my list on Wednesday and see if I’m on my way to achieving my goals. If I’m not (or if another more pressing project has arrived in the meanwhile), I make adjustments to my tasks.

For me, the satisfaction of crossing tasks off upon completion is enough incentive to continue working through my to-do list!

Don’t Burn Out – Take Care of Yourself

There are a ton of benefits to running your own business including personal fulfillment, independence and flexibility.

But there is one major disadvantage of being your own boss: the non-existent sick days.

Especially if you’re a solopreneur, you only make money if you’re working. So when you get sick, you have one of two options: shut down for the day and lose money (and risk disappointing customers and clients) or remain open for operation and act like nothing is wrong.

As a small business owner, neither option is favourable.

The best way to avoid having to make that decision in the first place? Do everything you can to not get sick. Eat healthy foods, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and unplug at least once per week.

Sure, getting sick is sometimes out of your control. But oftentimes, it’s not.

Taking care of yourself should always be your number one priority. When you sacrifice your physical and mental health for your business, you will soon be on your way to burnout.

And that will definitely impact your New Year’s goals!

I’m curious – what do you plan on doing to set yourself up for success in 2020? Comment below!