Small Business Focus

6 tips to create more time in 2015

Interested in all things "small business/entrepreneurship"? Also sample these three articles:

1. How to master the art of networking (whether you like doing it or not)

2. How to turn R1000 into a thriving business

3. How to start a business with R20 and no experience

“Time is the most expensive commodity you own,” said Pavlo Phitidis, small business expert and Director and CEO of the Aurik Business Incubator.

Tip One: Differentiate between what is important and what is urgent

Pavlo cites the work of American educator, author and businessperson Stephen Covey. “Important things are what you need to do to work on your business,” he said.

Therefore, you as the entrepreneur should not involve yourself in the day-to-day activities of the business. Rather, set aside time to work on what’s important, including building systems in your business, striking up relationships with your customers and training your staff to increase productivity.

“Urgent things are what need to be dealt with such as deadlines,” said Pavlo.

You sort out what is urgent by asking whether something is time-based, but always attend to important matters before that because that is what your role as entrepreneur dictates.

Tip Two: Batch-processing

Look at the things you need to do on a batch basis.

“When someone says to me, ‘hey, can you quickly make a payment to this supplier or to this person’, and I am in the middle of my day, it means I have to stop everything I am doing,” he said.

Rather than breaking the rhythm of your day, plan these activities for once a week or once a month so that you can deal with all your payments in one focused period.

Thus, look for tasks that require similar tools and actions, batch them, and deal with them all at once. This way you'll make most effictive use of your available time.

Tip Three: Work smart

This is all about making use of technology.

“Technology, correctly selected and properly used, is in many instances free and can be extremely efficient,” he said.

As obvious as this may seem, the first matter to sort out as an entrepreneur is your email – suppliers and customers need to get hold of you.

Another tip to working smartly using technology is to have Customer Relations Management (CRM) software, much of it available for free.

CRM software will allow you to store and record all contact points with customers and make it available to anybody who may come into contact with them, cutting out the unnecessary time needed to discuss activities between customers and colleagues.

Tip Four: Touch once

When you multitask – this is according to research done by a Harvard professor after a fight with his wife – your intellectual capacity on both tasks decreases by 38 percent.

“Touch once” means: do not multitask!

“Do things once. Start them and complete them,” Pavlo advised.

Allocate your emails to “Now”, “Tomorrow”, “Soon”, and, perhaps, “Never”.

Also, whatever filing needs to be done, or applications, such as for tenders, do it once, make multiple copies, file it, and then you’ll be able to speed up the process the next time you have to do it.

Tip Five: Innovate

Entrepreneurs are in the business of innovating so this should be the easiest one.

Pavlo gave an example of an entrepreneur who travelled a lot and, whilst on the road, he was losing time that could have been used to deal with running the business.

The entrepreneur bought a car, hired a driver – creating yet another job – and while being driven from one meeting to another, he was able to deal with emails on his laptop.

So, think of innovative ways to work smartly.

Tip Six: Organise your calendar

This, according to Pavlo, is the most important thing you can ever do as an entrepreneur.

“I am a firm believer that every business owner should sit down on a Sunday night and think about the week ahead. Imagine what you think would be important during the week, identify what those two or three things are and systematically make sure that on Monday morning, when the chaos starts, you start doing those things that are important,” he said.

Interested in all things "small business/entrepreneurship"? Also sample these three articles:

1. How to master the art of networking (whether you like doing it or not)

2. How to turn R1000 into a thriving business

3. How to start a business with R20 and no experience

Listen to the Soundcloud clip for more detail.

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