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Don't let your business run you

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Written by Kevin Plankey
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Working for a small business or startup company can be an extremely gratifying experience. Your interactions are more personal, you're more directly involved with important processes and you get to see the company grow from the bottom up.

 

But without the proper time management skills, work can consume you.

 

As far as I'm concerned, time management is the single most important business tool.

 

As a small business professional, you probably understand what I mean by work consuming you. Without the resources that are available to employees at larger firms, you have to take on a higher number and wider range of responsibilities, while performing better than your competitors for your company to survive.

 

It takes a lot of time, promotion, and scheduling. All this stuff that a larger company might do for you, you have to do yourself.

 

Time management tricks

There are some activities that will simply take time - responding to clients, handling accounts payables and receivables, and so on. In other instances, if you're spending long periods of your day handling certain processes, chances are you can improve upon them.

 

For example:

 

- Security: Don't get me wrong, this is a priority for companies in every industry. But if you're spending more time securing the information in your databases than adding to it, there's a problem.

 

- Website management: Once you've created your website, managing it should no longer be a time-consuming process. If it's still taking up hours of your day, then you might need a less complex website, or some outside help to handle those complexities.

 

- Marketing: This is a vital business function that will be one of the keys to growing your customer base. However, if you're spending all your time advertising, you likely won't be able to deliver on the promises you've made.

 

Is outsourcing the solution?

Remember back in high school and college, when you used to procrastinate until the last minute to do assignments you dreaded? Make no mistake, that habit carries over to the real world.

 

You're tempted to start with small easy tasks, or things you're in the mood to do. Often, however, they're things that won't drive your business forward.

 

I suggest prioritizing the 2- to 3-step activities will boost efficiency. If you do this, you should see your late nights shortened or (hopefully) eliminated altogether.

 

If you're still logging extra hours encrypting data or fixing integration issues with your website, then maybe it's time to consider a different route - such as outsourcing those functions to a web hosting service provider.

 

Yes, your website will be a vital facet of achieving business success - as is security, marketing and many other processes - and you want it to be customized to fit the needs of your company. However, if it's taking up 80 percent of your time, at the end of the day all you'll have is a wonderful website or security plan. That means you won't have enough time to focus on strategies that will help move your business forward. 

 

By outsourcing some of these responsibilities, you'll get the best of both worlds.