Entrepreneurs and small business owners alike often times find themselves overworked and overwhelmed. All the work associated with running a business while providing quality products and services can be time consuming; especially when you go it alone. And what happens when you land that huge client you’ve been after for months only to realize that huge clients equal bigger workloads? Do you really have a handle on your business or are you stuck right in the middle of things?
Entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t set out to become overworked individuals who are struggling and stressed. Their goal is always the same, to perform work they truly enjoy while making a decent living along the way. But without proper management of their workload, they often times find themselves in a state of total chaos!
Before you ever head down that road, or maybe you’re already there, here are 6 tips to ease your workload and help take some of the pressure off.
1. Evaluate Your Current Workload To See Just Where You Stand In Your Business
How are you really spending your time in your business?
What obstacles are standing in your way?
Where are your time and energy busters?
Is your business progressing according to your business plan?
2. Effectively Manage Your Time – And That Means All Of It!
Effective time management will keep you working on your business, not in your business. Client work, running a business, and marketing a business all take time and must happen on a regular basis in order to experience growth. Taking a closer look at these areas and putting systems and processes in place for each will keep you from becoming bogged down with all the work there is to be done.
Client Work: Decide how many hours you’ll spend each week actually performing client work. These are billable hours for which you expect to be paid. Schedule this time on your master calendar, planner, or appointment book for the next 3 months. When scheduling client work, you may choose to work with clients on specific days. For example, you may choose to work with clients on Tuesdays and Thursdays and have Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays available for business-related operational tasks and/or marketing activities. Block scheduling also makes for effective use of your time because it allows you to work on a particular client’s work during a specific timeframe. It also provides the added benefit of allowing you stay focused on the task at hand giving your client’s work your full, undivided attention.
Project Management: Project management is nothing more than organizing and managing resources to complete work/projects within defined scope, quality, time, and cost constraints. Project management skills are essential for organizing and managing client work and holding others accountable for their responsibilities. When you improve your project management skills, you learn how to get things done quickly while documenting the results. Great project management skills are the key to meeting goals for both you and your clients.
*Note: Project results are best documented by using a set of project management forms that take into account defined scope, quality, time, and cost constraints. You can develop your own set of project management forms or Google the Internet to locate templates using the search term “project management template”.
Business Related Operational Tasks: Operational and administrative functions must go on to keep your business alive. Unless you want to use up every weekend and all your free time handling these functions, you’ll need to see aside one day a week to take care of these matters. Commonly known as an Admin Day, entrepreneurs and small business owners typically choose Monday as the day to handle operational tasks and functions. Monday is the start of a new work week, is generally slow, and gets you in the groove for the rest of the week.
Business Development & Training: Growing your business takes planning, time, and lots of marketing. It also means maintaining your current skill-set and obtaining any necessary training to continue to meet the ever-changing needs of your clients. For these reasons, you should set aside at lease one day a week to work on business development and training. You’ll be surprised at the results!
3. Learn to Delegate Authority To Get The Help You Need
Poor delegation keeps a small business from growing. It is the direct result of trying to do everything yourself and wearing too many hats. Plain and simple – it’s a trust issue on your part.
Learn to delegate authority by collaborating with others or contracting out the appropriate responsibilities. Look for opportunities within your business, workload, and activities to delegate your authority, then just do it! It’s not as scary as you might think. When people you collaborate and contract with understand their responsibilities, what’s expected of them, and how you will monitor their results, your level of trust will increase and you’ll begin to delegate more easily and whenever necessary.
Because time is money, the ability to delegate authority will put more money in your pocket.
4. Find More Efficient Ways To Get Things Done
Taking time to review current systems and processes can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend each hour, day, and week on your business, workload and activities. Think about your current systems and processes. Can they be simplified or automated in any way? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to get to work revamping them.
5. Create Your Own Safety Net By Building A Strong Support Team
A support team is a group of trusted individuals whom you can count on to lead, guide, and advise you. They are a safety net of skilled individuals that, when utilized properly, is there to catch you before you fall.
At the minimum, a strong support team consists of a banker, a lawyer, an insurance agent, an accountant, and a business mentor. Is your support team in place? If not, your business is only operating on one cylinder. Put your business on full throttle and increase your efficiency by talking out ideas, trouble points, and opportunities with your support team. Good sound expert advice is always worth its weight in gold!
6. Realize Your Dream – Self-Discipline vs. Passion
Working more effectively takes tremendous self-discipline in order to get a handle on your business, workload, and activities. Because it’s never enough to just be passionate about it, self-discipline is the most important element to eliminating stress and realizing your dream.
Increase your success rate by getting a handle on your business, workload and activities today. Although it requires serious forethought and planning, taking the time to ensure that your workload is reasonable will allow you to focus on profit generating activities, bill out more of your time, and increase your revenue.
Remember, your business is your baby but it doesn’t have to keep you up at night!
About the Author:
Katrina Chesney is Founder & President of Portable Hands , a Virtual Assistance firm that provides leverage for small businesses.