Whether it is a location dependent or location independent business, being a business owner is much different than working for somebody. When you work for somebody, your time is structured. Whether the place you work at has a schedule or deadlines that must be met, time is usually structured for you.
This is not the case if you own your own business, and it is especially not the case if you own a location independent business. If you do not hire anybody, this also means you need to literally create your own schedule.
Faulty time management is one of many reasons why most businesses fail within a year. This is usually the result of poor organisation. Because most new business owners spent so much of their lives having their day “organised” for them, they are left clueless when they become their own boss or the boss of others. There are two traits that lend themselves to quality time management, especially if you own a business: Discipline and organisation. This guide will utilise both.
1. Determine the times of day where you are most productive
One mistake that business owners make is that they have no idea of when they are the most productive. Even worse, they look to to their employees and other people involved in their business to determine when to be productive. Worse than that, the people involved in their business might have different concepts of their own times of the day where they are the most productive.
The very first thing you need to do when managing time is to determine an 8 to 12 hour time slot where you are the most productive. If your business relies on staff, you should be looking for the same people who are just as productive in that time slot as you are. This will ensure that everything is organized.
This is similar to having a job in that you have a block of time to do whatever work you need to do. The only difference is that you can set your own hours. Despite what many who write about entrepreneurship say about “abandoning the 9 to 5,” this is still necessary.
One trap that most new business owners fall into is the “illusion” of freedom. While it is true that owning your own business does grant a bit more freedom than having a traditional job, work still needs to be done and an 8 to 12 hour period per day needs to be committed to. The only difference is that this period can take place any time of the day and if your business is online, it can take place virtually anywhere in the world.
2. Separate different operations during different time slots
After creating this 8 to 12 hour period, the next thing to do is assign different things that need to be done within the business in different time slots. Whether it is reviewing the accounts of the business, meeting with staff, marketing, research and development, or any other given business operation, make sure you are dedicating different time slots for each one.
One thing you can do that can be useful is to copy what is done at traditional jobs. For example, most traditional jobs have their staff follow the pattern of working for two hours, taking a break, working for two more hours, then getting a lunch period, and so on. This model is very simple and can easily be applied to your own business.
This does not mean that every operation in the business should last exactly two hours, but it should be close. Another useful thing to do is to make a list of everything you need to do for the business on any given day, determine how long each one will take, and determine who can do them.
3. Commit to the schedule, but be open to change it if necessary
After designating an 8 to 12 hour period to working on the business, and assigning time slots to different operations, you must commit to it. While doing this, make sure that you pay careful and specific attention to anything that you think can be improved upon.
One thing to be mindful of are things that are interrupting the business. This is especially true if your business is location dependent, as certain things can take you away from your business location and impede things that happen during your 8 to 12 hour work day. This is one thing to keep track of.
After about a month, review how many times something like this has happened and specifically what time of day they happen. This is how you can determine a different and more effective 8 to 12 hour period.
For example, let’s say that you have set a 12 hour period from 11 in the morning until 11 at night to work on everything involving your business. If something keeps happening at 9 at night that impedes your business, you may want to adjust this period from 9 in the morning until 9 at night, or just have 9 at night be the end of the work day.
4. What can be done to save time?
Time is literally the most important, and most universal resource that anyone has. The way that businesses market and sell their services, information, or products can take a lot of time. Fortunately, the advent of e-commerce and catalogs that can connect to other catalogs can save a lot of time and money in the realm of sales and marketing.
Any business should consider these as they will save a lot of time (and money) on marketing and other operations that waste a lot of time for businesses.