As a small business owner, you know you need to be as productive as possible. You may not have a big team of people helping you, so you may need to fulfil many different roles in the business.
And in any business, there is always lots to do: you need to get the sales in, you need to deliver the products or services, invoices need to be raised, accounts need to be up to date, customers need to be kept happy and if you have staff, you need to motivate them to work at their very best.
All this can be quite overwhelming, and many a small business owner ends up working very long hours to get it all done. They don’t see their families as much as they’d like and they constantly feel tired and overwhelmed.
And that’s where productivity hacks come in. Little tips to make life just that much easier and to help you get everything done, and go home in time to see the kids. Here are my top tips to increase your productivity:
1. Automate social media
Social media is a great way to stay in touch with your prospects and customers and generate interest in new products or services, but it can also take up a lot of time. By using scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite, you can spend one hour a month scheduling all your posts and still have a daily presence. See my “Social Media Guide” for more tips on this.
2. Automate your sales process
You need to automate your sales process as much as possible, so that you have leads coming in (almost) automatically, and they get responses immediately and automatically. For this you would need to use autoresponders (I use Infusionsoft myself, but there are many others) that can send out emails any time of the day (or night). You’ll still need to call them at some point, but you want the initial stages done as automatically as possible.
3. Get a call answering service
If you’re currently answering your own calls, you’re basically a receptionist. These calls interrupt your ‘flow’, they invariably create more work, and more often than not they’re not even new business. By getting a call answering service to answer your calls and then send you a message with details of the call, you can decide when it’s a good time to call them back. I use a very good pay-as-you-go service called Answer.co.uk, and there are many others out there offering a whole variety of services. This has the added benefit of your calls being answered 24/7, so you’re giving an even better service to your customers.
4. Have a virtual assistant
Once you have a call answering service, the next step is to get a virtual assistant who can help you with all sorts of jobs. The idea is that you should be focusing your attention on the money-making activities in your business and that everything else can be done by other people. This can be anything from organising travel, responding to standard emails, diary management, booking appointments, copy writing, transcribing and much more.
5. Use cloud software
By using cloud software, you give yourself (and your staff) the opportunity to work from wherever you are. You become ‘location-independent’ and you can more easily outsource work to people who aren’t physically present in your business. For accounting you could use QuickBooks, for email marketing you could use MailChimp and for your sales process you could use PipeDrive. Or there is the fully integrated Neetrix software which combines everything together. These are just a few examples to give you an idea of what you could do, but as with everything, there are many options available to you.
You don’t have to hire people to work for you – nowadays it is just as easy to outsource as it is to do it yourself. In fact, I would say most of the time it’s easier to outsource something that you’re not naturally good at, as others will be able to do it much quicker and to a higher standard. A few examples of outsourcing websites are Fiverr, People per Hour, Upwork, Rev.com and Onlinejobs.ph.
7. Get good at time management
Super successful people are really good at managing your time, and if you’re currently feeling that you’re not doing very well, you should aim to improve this. Read my tips on time management and implement as many of them as you can; you’ll soon notice a difference.
Running your own business should be fun. It should give you the time, money and lifestyle that you want. And if it doesn’t, you need to make some changes. If you need any help with any of this, remember that I’m always happy to offer a free initial session so you can tell me what your challenges are and we can see how I might be able to help you with that.