If there is one thing that is holding back small business owners and sole traders from taking their business to the next level, it is the lack of time and resources. You need to understand that it is crucial to improve your processes every day and make the most out of your productivity and skills before you can scale up your operations. From automating your bookkeeping to getting help from professionals and people who are good with numbers or customers, you can free up some valuable time to focus on creating a growth plan for your business, Below you will find a few tips on how to get started.
If you have learned administration and marketing in the traditional way, you might have been told not to touch the same piece of paper twice. This applies to working on the computer. If you are switching from one job to the next all the time, chances are that you will lose valuable time. Your brain takes about 25-30 minutes to switch from one task to another, so the more often you change what you are dealing with, the less productive you will be. Block scheduling might be the answer; work on the creative tasks for a couple of hours, then move on to admin and following up with customers.
Work Out the Profit Per Job
In case you are not good with numbers, chances are that you will end up losing money on some of the jobs you are doing. An easy way to fix this can be to work out how much you would like to earn each week, or on each project, or per hour. This will help you get your pricing right, so you can produce the profits that will allow you to reinvest in your business and scale up your operation.
Use an Intern
If you simply cannot be bothered with the small jobs in your company, such as creating a memes post, or doing a market research, the good news is that you will be able to get help from an intern. No matter if you are a graphic designer or a freelance writer, you will need to spend the majority of your time doing productive work. This means that you might end up neglecting your marketing or your administration. An intern can help you out with small jobs, even create a market report that will help you make informed strategic decisions.
Get Jobs Done on Freelancing Sites
If you would like to increase your earning potential, you might need to drop some jobs that are taking up most of your time. No matter if it is content creation, competition research, or fixing your website, adding SEO titles to your posts, or ordering supplies; you can get these jobs done through freelancing sites. You are going to be able to review the rating and reputation of each person offering the services, and you can make the most out of your opportunities to put new systems in place.
Automate Content Distribution
One of the most time consuming tasks in your business will be updating your website and social media. The good news is that there are plenty of full service marketing agencies offering social media management packages in the UK, including market research and advanced scheduling and reporting. If your social media posts are ad hoc and inconsistent, you might end up confusing your market and making it harder for your audience to understand what you stand for. This is why scheduling your blog posts and social media might be a good idea.
Create a Sales Funnel
If you haven’t got a marketing funnel in place yet, it might be time to get one developed. You will need to automate your follow ups and marketing, so you don’t need to deal with every query manually and get yourself confused. You might create a mailing list, or simply send out targeted ads or retargeting campaigns to your followers and subscribers, earning their trust, engaging with them automatically, and turning them into buyers.
Invest In an Advanced CRM
If you don’t have a customer relationship management system in place yet, it might be time to invest in one. There are so many great software out there that will link to your online calendar and your email, even your autoresponder, so you will know where you stand with every client and prospect. Following up leads and keeping customers happy is necessary, but they take a lot of time if you don’t have a system in place. That is why you will need to have a software that will give you a snapshot of what is going on in your business.
Measure Your Productivity
If you don’t know how much you are earning each hour of your day, you will need to track your productivity. The good news is that you don’t have to invest in an expensive software; there are several Pomodoro and similar apps you can use on your phone and on your computer. Once you find out how much money you are earning doing a certain job, you will be able to measure your productivity and make the most out of your time as a small business owner, find the development areas, and optimise your performance.
Improve Your Working Environment
Where we live and work has a huge impact on our productivity. It is crucial that you are able to make your workplace or home office as inspiring and motivating as possible. If you haven’t created an idea board or a dream board yet, this should be your first step to customise your space and make it work for you. Stay organised and make the most out of your technology in the office. You should always feel positive and motivated when you step into the office.
If you are not making use of the latest apps and technology, chances are that you are spending too much time on administration. You can get a bookkeeping and financial recording app designed for freelancers or invest in a cloud accounting software that will give you a real time snapshot of your finances on your phone or computer. You can also use a CRM app that works with your calendar and sends notifications to your phone, so you never forget about a meeting or a deadline again. Working on multiple projects can be challenging, and you will have to ensure that you are keeping your existing customers happy before you try to secure new ones.
Share Information through the Cloud
If you are a sole trader, you might spend a lot of time meeting clients and catching up with them about their latest projects. The good news is that you can cut your small business costs and communicate with them remotely. If you invest in cloud technology, even a basic GSuite platform, you will be able to work on the same files from different locations. You can also opt for video conferencing, instead of personal meetings. You can save money on fuel and time on commuting. Not to mention that you could end up making your business greener, even paperless.
Work On the Go
If you are looking to make the most out of your time, you will need to work whenever you can. You might want to record your ideas on your phone while driving to meetings, or catch up on your tasks when waiting for a doctor or a client. You have to eliminate time waste in your business, so you can make your operations more effective, free up time, and find space to grow. After all, you will want to expand your operations one day, and making the most out of your unproductive minutes or hours when you could easily catch up with work is the first step.
Learn to Multitask
Multitasking is not for everyone, but it can be learned. If you are doing something manual that doesn’t involve your full focus or concentration, such as copying and pasting things, you will be able to listen to podcasts or learn a new skill. When you are holding meetings in person or online, you can take notes or record the discussion, so it will be easier for you to type up the notes later and send them to the client.
Brainstorm When You Can
In case you are looking for new ideas to grow your business, you will need to get involved in brainstorming. You might do it while you are in the shower, having a trip away, jogging, or even in the gym, Find out when your brain is the most active, and when you are the most creative, so you can focus on the ideas that pop in your head. Use your time the most effective way by doing things you are good at in the morning, mid-afternoon, and evening.
Many small business owners struggle with time management and this prevents them from growing their venture. Make the most out of your skills and time by keeping your goals in mind all the time.