Time Management for Small Biz


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Time Management for Small Biz: Experts Weigh in

Multi-tasking, wearing too many hats, juggling a number of balls up in the air…whatever your analogy, there’s no denying that time management and productivity are two of the biggest challenges that small business owners face on a daily basis. Our emails follow us everywhere we go, and our social media networks are constantly in need of a check-in or tweet. So how can you manage all these demands on your time and still focus on getting the important things done for your business?

To help you sort through it all, we’ve reached out to a panel of small business experts and asked them all a single question: “What are some tips that can help small business owners better manage time and improve productivity? ”

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Time Management for Small Biz

  2. 2. Chris Brogan To me, a small business has to break its priorities into three buckets: Chris Brogan consults and speaks professionally, is a New York well on 2 and 3 , but don’t spend enough time on the first one. With the Times bestselling co-author of “Trust Agents“ and is a featured monthly columnist at Entrepreneur Magazine. Chris blogs at chrisbrogan.com prospecting, executing, and service. I think that most small businesses do latest online tools to help them, I would love to see more small businesses spend time learning how to take advantage of the leverage that a good listing in Google Places can bring, to take advantage of a great website that helps serve a customer, and to take advantage of the various social web platforms, so that they can be the ultimate shopkeeper online as they might be offline. 2
  3. 3. Kelly e Crane First and foremost, you need to occasionally block out some “personal Solo PR Pro community founder and blogger Kellye Crane actually helps you get more done in the long run, and let’s face it: we get (twitter.com/KellyeCrane) has been a successful independent PR consultant for more than 15 years. time” so you can regroup and recharge. Research shows that time away pulled in so many directions, it will only get done if it’s on the calendar.It’s also important that small business owners take the time to define and document their operations processes, so you aren’t constantly reinventing the wheel. It’s easy when we’re strapped for time to neglect this step, but it’s key to staying efficient long-term. 3
  4. 4. Jason Falls There are so many great tools out there. From using Tripit.com to Jason Falls is one of the most in-demand speakers in the social reservations, hotel confirmation numbers and the like, to using something media, public relations and marketing fields. Jason co-author’s and edits Social Media Explorer and recently completed his first book, “No Bullshit Social Media“. consolidate travel plans and use the mobile app to stay on top of flight like Evernote to dictate notes to yourself, pound out some emails or letters while you’re in the back of a cab and so on … if you have a technology need, there’s probably an app for that.The best advice I can give small businesses is to think about what pain points they have, then go to Google and search for a solution. With a little bit of browsing, and perhaps some smart keyword searches, you’re probably going to find something. 4
  5. 5. Jonathan Fields 1 – Do. Not. Multitask. Sounds easy, but the more you’re in charge of, the Jonathan Fields is the author of “Uncertainty: Turning Fear and into 10-15 minute windows of intense focus.2 – Turn off all push Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance.” He blogs at JonathanFields.com more challenging it is. Do one thing at a time, even if it means batching notifications on everything mobile, then schedule times to check and respond during the day and be religious about honoring those limitations.3 – Step away. Work in pulses of no more than 45-90 minutes, then give your brain a break or watch your creativity and productivity plummet. 5
  6. 6. Chris Garrett For my coaching clients, there have been two pieces of advice that Chris Garrett is an internet marketing and online business distractions, but do you know WHY you areallowing yourself to be consultant, blogging and social media coach, new media industry commentator, writer, speaker, trainer and all-round web geek. Chris blogs at Chrisg.com. havehelped the most right away: 1) Everyone knows to remove distracted? What is it you are avoiding? Whydid you not turn off your phone, email, social media, etc? 2) Make incremental progress rather than seek perfection. Too manypeople slow down, stop or don’t attempt things because they fear theirefforts not being good enough, when in most cases your efforts aremore than good enough when you focus on the right things. 6
  7. 7. Shama Kabani Focus is the most underrated skill that you MUST master. 90% of the Shama Kabani is web and TV personality, author of “The Zen of Learn to focus on what truly matters in your business. Then, do it Social Marketing” and award winning CEO of the global digital marketing firm The Marketing Zen Group. 7 time, what is on your computer screen is not resulting in a positive ROI. consistently.
  8. 8. Douglas Karr Stick with what you’re great at and [outsource | partner | hire | stop doing] Doug Karr is the CEO of DK New Media, founder of the Marketing work on the issues that leverage your talent to the fullest. Technology Blog, and the co-author of “Corporate Blogging for Dummies“. 8 the rest. You reach your potential only when you’re using your time to
  9. 9. Jim Kukral First off, you have to put down the social media! It’s killing your Jim Kukral is an author, speaker and web business consultant. His there to “engage” people. You know what the real definition of latest book is “Internet Marketing for Business Answers“. productivity, and you know it, but you’ve been convinced you need to be engagement is in social media? It’s “death of getting real work done.” To manage your time better, work on deadlines. Everyone works better when they know something needs to be done. Build lists of what needs done and set times/days on them and watch as your productivity increases. 9
  10. 10. Dave Logan 1. Spend time on building the core identity of the business—something Dave Logan is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, is an expert everything in the business either expresses that core identity, or gets in cultural transformation in the workplace, serving as senior partner at CultureSync and on the faculty of the Marshall School of Business. going deeper than a brand position or a strategic plan.2. Make sure cut.3. Run 3-5 small experiments with new markets, products, or services, to say tightly in line with the changing desires of customers.4. For every new thing you decide to do, find something you were doing and delegate it, or simply stop doing it. 10
  11. 11. Mike Michalow icz Mike Michalowicz is the author of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur“. It is time to modify that old task list! Writing down all the things you need to do, and then assigning a due date just piles on the work. By simply prioritizing your task list for revenue and clients, you will get all the important stuff done and your bottom line will grow. Here’s how you do it. Maintain your task list as normal, but add a new column. For each task ask yourself 1. Will this bring in revenue in the next 60 days? 2. Will this serve an existing customer? If you say yes to the revenue put a dollar sign in the new column. If you say yes to serving a customer, put a smiley face in the column. If you say yes to both, then put both symbols in the column. Now go do only the task with both smiley’s and dollars signs. Then do smiley’s. Then do dollar signs. These items are always priority. Only once these are off the list do you continue with the other tasks. With this simple change to the list you will be instantly taking care of what matters… And will see a bottom line benefit in 60 days or so! 11
  12. 12. Amber Naslund This question comes up a lot, and the problem is that we always try to Amber Naslund is the VP of Social Strategy at Radian6 and the co- always “know your priorities”. If you know what has to get done most tack at the blog Brass Tack Thinking. solve it with tools rather than changing the behaviors. My answer is urgently, your time management takes care of itself (though procrastination isn’t something any tool can help!). Spend time every morning reviewing your notes, your inbox, whatever. Pick the 3-5 things that MUST get done or make progress that day, either in terms of deadlines or in terms of things that will actually move your business forward. Ignore the rest until they’re done. Rinse, repeat. Simple, but definitely not easy! 12
  13. 13. Dan Schaw bel Small business owners can manager productivity better when they Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding LLC you delegate, the more you can focus on where the company is going, and is a world renowned personal branding expert. He is the international bestselling author of Me 2.0, and the publisher of the Personal Branding Blog. 13 delegate tasks that don’t involve strategic brand development. The more not where it is currently. That is the best way to move your company forward, while remaining sane and organized.
  14. 14. Robert Scoble Only allow important stuff to get to your email inbox. I’ve written hundreds Robert Scoble is the Chief Learning Officer at Rackspace, blogs at newsletters, mailing lists, notifications, and emails from people who just Scobleizer, and his twitter feed, @Scobleizer was named one of TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds. of Gmail filters which automatically remove commercial emails, send jokes and don’t bring value. Everyday these filters remove 200 to 300 emails from my view. This alone is the most productive thing I’ve done in the past year. 14
  15. 15. David Meerman Scott David Meerman Scott is a marketing expert and the author of the Wall Street Journal’s bestseller “Real-Time Marketing & PR”. 15 Stop watching television completely. It is a huge time suck. Instead use that time to do productive things that will help grow your business, like creating some great content for your web site.
  16. 16. Ray Silverstein Managing time is really creating discipline and working only on those Ray Silverstein is a recognized small business expert and the rather than in your business.Small business owners have a tendency to founder and president of PRO: President’s Resource Organization a network of advisory boards for small-business owners. Ray is the author of “The Best Secrets of Great Small Businesses” and “The Small Business Survival Guide“. items that will make a difference. In short, working on your business want to be busy and DO. The basic question is do you DO what really is important and needs to be done. Almost everyone has a to do list. The key to being effective is to identify those items on your to do list and only work on three or four, that are the most important, until they are accomplished and then moving to the next most important. The items on your list to accomplish should be toward accomplishing the goals you have created. I facilitate and run peer advisory boards for business owners. One owner stated he dates items when he puts them on his to do and if he doesn’t get them done in thirty days he delegates them to someone else to accomplish. The concept, even if someone isn’t able to do it as well as you they will do it better, because it gets done. 16
  17. 17. Karen Sw im All of the organizational tips and tools in the world will not help you if you Karen Swim is the owner of Words for Hire. best way to be more efficient is to ensure that skills are properly deployed are not first very clear on you and your team’s core competencies. The and that your time is allocated to the things that really matter. With a clear foundation of what needs to be done and can or must be done internally, and ensuring that you are maximizing your internal talents and skill sets you have a solid base for eliminating waste and improving productivity. 17
  18. 18. Susan Ward To better manage their time and improve their productivity, small business Susan Ward and her partner run Cypress Technologies, an IT them do. As a group, we tend to want to not only run the show but Consulting business. Susan is an accomplished business writer for Guide to About Small Business: Canada. owners need to do a lot more delegating and outsourcing than most of personally be involved in every aspect of it, so we waste time doing things we shouldn’t be doing and things we’re not good at. A good tip is to pretend you’re a lawyer. You don’t see lawyers wasting billable time doing things like doing their own taxes, designing and printing off their own business cards or cleaning their offices. 18