Small business owners are a busy group of people. While they often have the freedom and flexibility to do what they love, they are always “doing.” And when you add in family, friends, and household responsibilities, it can often feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
According to the Bank of America® Spring 2014 Small Business Owner Report, time is extremely precious for small business owners. One in four works more than 60 hours per week, and a whopping 72 percent say they have made significant sacrifices in their personal lives for their business. Family and vacation time are also affected; more than half (52 percent) of small business owners surveyed feel that they should be spending more time with their family, and 62 percent give up vacation and leisure time to run their business.
However, one of the great advantages of living in the digital era is that there are many ways to get that coveted time back. Here are a few examples of ways to improve efficiency in your small business:
- Outsource. From managing recruitment to laundering your employees’ uniforms, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Determine what tasks are always moving to the bottom of your to-do list, and figure out the best resources to help you remove the added stress in your life. Freelancers, interns, and virtual assistants are all good sources to start with. Additionally, websites like Task Rabbit can help you find individuals to do everything from web design to proofreading at a variety of price point.
- Master your schedule. Sometimes we unwittingly let technology slow our productivity. Set aside uninterrupted blocks of time to work on specific tasks, and do your best to limit phone calls, meetings and emails from disrupting your focus. Multi-tasking might feel like a must, but studies show that the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less.
- Learn the power of “no.” Before you opt into additional commitments or tasks, think carefully about how the experience will benefit you and/or your revenue. Are you tweeting every day to an audience that doesn’t engage back? Maybe it’s time to look at a different medium. Going to networking events that haven’t garnered new business in a year? Time to reevaluate. In the time gained, look at the tactics that are sure to make a positive impact on ROI and focus on those.
- Utilize online and mobile banking tools. Bank of America offers remote check deposit that saves you a time-consuming trip to a bank or ATM. You can take some of the hassle out of payroll with Intuit® Online Payroll—everything is done online, you have access to a service specialist, and you get the fast paydays and detailed reporting you and your employees need. Additionally, using a mobile banking app allows for secure transactions while saving you time.
While I’ve only touched on a handful of tips, there are a lot of free and affordable programs and apps that can help seamlessly integrate work and personal schedules. It’s possible for you to turn dead time into productive time, allowing you to use those extra hours for what’s really important to you.
This month, I’ll be part of a Google Hangout with MasterCard on this very topic, alongside leading small business experts from around the country. We would love to have you join us on Wednesday, June 25, at 8 pm ET.
* Intuit is a registered trademark of Intuit Inc., used under license. Bank of America is a registered trademark of the Bank of America Corporation. Member FDIC.