Does your business run itself?
A small business can carry an awful lot of overhead. Not that you have lots of employees or millions of transactions, but even a little bit of wasted time can mount up quickly. Especially if you’re the only person doing it.
A great answer to this problem is to automate repetitive things.
I get a number of sales leads every week, and I found out that I was spending too much time writing essentially the same messages to each person. After a while, I just used Outlook’s functionality to create a standard message that I can customize in a few seconds and send off.
Templates can be wonderful things.
I recently put together a great survey to help business owners who want to drive more success achieving their company’s mission. It’s a great tool based on the questions I most often ask my clients – the ones which create really valuable discussions.
And the report that I send each person is partially based on a template that I created just for this purpose. That way I can focus my time on the part which is most valuable for each person: the assessment of their strengths and challenges.
When you start looking around, you often find things in your business which are repetitive and boring. If you’ve done the same thing three times and expect to do it again, look for a way to completely or even partially automate it.
Another technique of “automation” is to take those tasks and give them to an assistant. Crunch the numbers, and you’ll probably find that someone else can do them more reliably and at a lower cost. They’re going to be less distracted by the other parts of the business that you’re constantly dealing with.
The best solution for overhead, of course, is to entirely remove activities from your list. Perhaps you’re spending too much time in phone calls which could have been prevented by setting expectations up front.
Or maybe you’re filling out paperwork which isn’t actually being read by anyone. If the government requires it, fine, but what about everything else?
Are you spending your time on the things which are really adding value to the business and your life?
Your attention is usually the most valuable resource in your business.