Running a small business is extremely challenging. Unlike a large company, you, as the owner, have to do almost all things. You take care of the daily operations, marketing and promotion, staff management, lead generation, and so much more. You certainly have a lot on your plate.
How do you manage all these things? Is it even possible to do so? If you’re like most small business owners, you probably also struggle with time management. You most likely haven’t slept for eight hours straight for months, or maybe years, since you launched your business. You’ve probably thought about outsourcing some of your work but you’re also worried about your finances. It is just not practical these days.
Well, the thing is managing your time despite having a lot on your plate is absolutely possible. There are smart methods that make management for small business effective.
It all starts with setting goals, making smart objectives, and streamlining the way you work in order to achieve more in less time.
But what is a smart goal?
On this guide, learn about measurable goals definition, time management goal setting, and how you can plan time management in a way that will help you drive sales and grow your business.
Why should your business management be SMART?
Do you ever feel like you’ve been working so hard but you’re not getting anywhere? Has running your small business becoming more like a stressor than a sense of fulfillment? Do you struggle to balance your business and personal life? Have you missed on so many opportunities because you were busy working on things that you, later on, regretted doing?
You’ve probably heard the acronym SMART which stands for Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Setting SMART goals allow you to focus your time, energy, and resources in a much more productive way. The result? You accomplish a lot of things without getting burnt out.
There are so many reasons why business management should be done through the SMART method. Here are some of them:
It gives you clarity, focus, and motivation.
Specific goals lead to specific actions
The biggest advantage of using the SMART method in business and management is that it allows you to make measurable goals. Before you put your hands on any work, the first and most important thing you will do is to define your goals.
But why is it important? Why can’t you just dive into the work?
You engage in tasks that are manageable
Basically, your goals are the end result that you want to achieve. But with SMART, your goals have to be specific. It is not enough that you want to grow your business or increase your sales. You should know your definition of business growth or what an increase in sale corresponds to.
Whatever your goals are, when they are specific, it becomes easier for you to align your actions to them. Without a clear set of goals, it is easy to get lost with so many important and unimportant things to do.
You can measure your results
And because you have specific goals, you also have specific actions. From proper goal-setting, you can jump into planning what steps to take in order to achieve your goals. These steps have to be measurable, attainable and done in a timely manner. With such a clear structure of how you can deal with things, you can start working on a smooth surface.
Lastly, you can employ a smart analysis of the course of actions you took, which serves as a significant reference to which your future actions will be based.
Smart Time Management Building Tips for Small Business
Managing your time as a small business owner is a skill that you can master. It can be difficult at first. Don’t worry, even CEOs and executives of the largest companies in the world struggle with time management too.
If you are struggling how to meet your management goals, there are smart techniques, along with effective time management tools that can help you run your small business effectively. Here are the tips for busy entrepreneurs like you who are struggling with how to manage time:
Start by planning your work
Just as you take time determining your goals, you should also allocate time to plan how you are going to accomplish such goals. With so many tasks that you have to do, alongside new projects and your business goals, it can be easy to lose track of things, miss deadlines, and make poor decisions. When planning your work, here are some techniques to stop wasting time:
- Prioritize tasks that are both urgent and important.
- Create a schedule. Make use of your phone or email calendar so you constantly get reminders.
- Keep a record of ideas, appointments, and deadlines.
- Create a timeline for each task.
Master the skill of prioritizing
There are many methods that can help you prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. One of the most proven is the ABC Method. In this system, you assign a letter to each of your tasks to signify its importance or urgency, with “A” as the most important. Within each category, you rank the tasks in order of importance as well (e.g. A1, A2, A3…).
Learn how to eliminate distractions
No matter how you try to be focused, you live in the modern world that is full of distractions. You know that. There are social media, among many others. Every individual has their own set of “time wasters”. List down all those that distract you from work and address them.
Use time management systems
Make use of the technology to your advantage. There are many tools that make time management easy, from free time tracking software that helps you manage the productivity of your staff, to project management platforms that let you assign tasks, communicate with your staff, and share or manage files.
Regardless of having a concrete plan, some things can get in the way, causing you delays and problems. That is absolutely normal. The key is to be flexible. Be quick to adapt to change. And don’t be afraid to change your route once you realize that your original plan is not working.
Multitasking may seem like the easiest approach to accomplishing your goals. But it actually does the opposite thing. Instead of doing multiple tasks at the same time, focus on one task at a time. When you do, you are likely to complete it successfully, in less time.
Take care of yourself
Yes, you own a business. Yes, your employees depend on you. Yes, you have customers to serve. But no, you are not a robot. You are human too. It’s only when you are physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy do you perform at your best. So take that much-needed vacation. You deserve it!
As a small business owner, you may not have enough budget to invest in powerful tools that help you manage your business effectively. The good news is there are budget-friendly methods to avoid time waste, from specific goal-setting to smart prioritization, eliminating distractions, being flexible, and observing work-life balance. Hopefully, with the tips mentioned in this article, you can tackle tasks and projects in a smart way.