01 Sep Top Ways To Save Your Time And Focus On What Is Important
Time is money. The amount of time you have in a day is capped… but your potential shouldn’t be.
As a small business or entrepreneur, you get overwhelmed with the number of things you have to manage. However, you cannot let the cap on the time in a day prevent you from getting the job done. Although, this can quickly turn into a feedback loop of working harder to do more, which results in doing more to work harder, so you work harder to do more, and so on. After all, 90% of the businesses fail due to poor management.
Therefore, business owners should constantly be learning ways to save time to focus on the core business. This article is not about time hacks or tricks that will give you back minutes in a day–although I do recommend brushing your teeth in the shower it saves time and you don’t get toothpaste flecks around your sink and mirror. Time hacks are great tactical tools to boost productivity for individuals. However, they are addressing mainly symptoms of the problem of prioritization and capacity. In other words, if you could use all the time hacks invented to clear away every obstacle you have to spend time on the essentials you will still only have so many hours in the day.
We need to think beyond our own individual capacity and look at a strategic frame of mind to comfortably get things done that matter and generate lasting value.
Core Competency And Its Importance
The core business or core competency of a business is defined as the unique services, products, customers, supply chain, suppliers, etc. Most small businesses and entrepreneurs choose a business niche they’re specialized in. For instance, a marketer will be interested in starting his marketing firm. A tax accountant will probably start his tax firm. You know your core competency. It is what you started your business to do.
Core competencies are very critical to business success – they drive your business operations. Many entrepreneurs who kick start business as a one-person army have their skill and expertise as their working capital. The available resources and capabilities collectively build the core competencies for a business.
A business’s core competencies unlock organizational success and help define a company’s value proposition. Most firms and businesses define the value proposition apart from the core business or core competency. For example, PeachBPO’s core competency is managing business processes and our value proposition is providing high-quality business process services to medium and small businesses in the most cost-effective way.
Why do we bring up core competency and value proposition? Because this is where you should be spending the majority of your time. Opening email, filing sales tax, generating invoices, creating social media are all important tasks, but they do not allow you to focus on delivering the thing that makes your business a success. Working on the core competency of the business is the goal when it comes to time management.
How Businesses Stumble Due To Poor Time Management
Time is certainly one of the most important resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The success of your newly started startup greatly depends on the time put into it. However, when you fail to manage your time and balance the business operations, your business suffers.
Here are few outcomes of poor time management in a small business:
When you are trying to manage everything in your business, your commitments suffer. This is perhaps the most serious of outcomes. When you cannot function predictably, confidence deteriorates. Knowing that when you say something will happen will go a long way to planning for the future of your business. If you are slipping you should address the time and energy challenges you are facing.
Compromised Work-Life Balance
Small business owners and entrepreneurs have a compromised work-life balance as a result of business responsibilities. You are spending late hours at the office cleaning up your financials and accounting books, answering customer queries and, setting up a meeting with a new team member. All this leaves you with no time for your leisure or family.
Imagine that everyone on your team, including you, had burnt the midnight oil to win a project. Fortunately, you won it. Your team worked hard on it besides managing other side operations of the business. Due to time management problems, the project was completed after promised time. The customer didn’t acknowledge the effort but criticized over timeliness. What will be the outcome?
The financial implications of your poor time management are beyond explanation. The ultimate impact of everything mentioned above will show up in your financial figures. Decreased profitability and revenues, increased fixed costs, due bills, payable salaries, etc.
The outcomes of poor time management are indeed unpleasant. However, you can take timely action to ensure you are in command of your time and not the other way around. Let’s look at some ways that you can dig in and become the master of your time and hone in on the things that bring you the most value for the time spent.
Top 5 Ways To Shift Your Focus On Managing Your Core Competency
Time management doesn’t necessarily mean every minute is booked in your day. It does mean you strategize with the resources at your disposal to put yourself in the most productive position possible that is sustainable in the long term.
Set Measurable Goals With Defined Deadlines And Follow Up
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Setting measurable goals is the best way to order your days with an understanding of what you are spending your time budget on.
Be sure to not set vague goals. Otherwise everyone will be working in their own dimension as they will perceive a generalized goal being fulfilled in their own different ways. Therefore, defining SMART goals with defined deadlines is the first step you can take to manage your time at a business.
Additionally, the regular follow-up on set goals will also increase your team’s accountability, timeliness, and productivity. Don’t be afraid to have weekly, monthly, quarterly meetings with team members to talk about how things are going.
Keep Your Core Competency on the Inside
It is an important strategic decision that you must take as a business owner. Your core competency describes why you are doing a certain business. Therefore, if you focus on your core in-house, it will improve your business management and time management as well. Since you are an expert at your core business, you will achieve higher efficiency by focusing on it.
Does this mean you shouldn’t contract out parts of your delivery process? Goodness no. The point is to focus on the internal activity of your business that creates the most value and continually improve upon it. Our economy is highly specialized and the more you can build your niche the more value your clients will get from you.
Outsourcing Your Non-Core Businesses
As mentioned earlier, outsourcing and offshoring are very popular and extremely cost effective concepts for new businesses and entrepreneurs. Since focusing on your core businesses is indispensable, other business operations might get neglected and consequently have financial implications.
Therefore, when you are working on your core, outsource the non-core business. Let the experts do the job for you. Outsourcing will not only help you save time to focus on the core. Instead, it is an excellent cost optimization strategy. 59% of American businesses rely on outsourcing to cut their expenses.
If you do such jobs in-house, maintaining, monitoring, and driving results will be more expensive. On the other hand, if you collaborate with outsourcing firms, they have the expertise, efficiency, and time. As a result, you will get high-quality services with time and cost-effectiveness.
Expand Your Talent Pool
Remote working has increased over the last decade. However, COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption to the point that many workers are demanding this be the new normal. And who could blame them? The time and cost savings involved in a remote set up is highly appealing. And for employers, the cost savings of hiring remote workers are unquestionable. But besides that, it is an excellent time-saving technique for your business that ensures you are searching in a wider pool of talent than you would if looking only locally.
Automation is a blessing for businesses nowadays. High productivity and efficiency are the most acclaimed advantages of automation. But automation of repetitive tasks can be a big leap for your time management as an entrepreneur.
Do you spend a lot of time doing data entry from one system to the next? Look into automation tools like Zapier that can easily help you set triggers and actions that automate those little details that seem to add up when done manually. An alternative to Zapier is Automate.io. These companies are dedicated to helping businesses get the little things taken care of.
What Can You Outsource?
Outsourcing your non-core business functions can be a great cost and time-saving technique. But the question is, what business functions can you outsource to achieve high profitability and timeliness. Some popular areas you can go to outsource for your small business are as follows:
Bookkeeping and Accounting
Hiring a qualified accountant as a full-time employee will cost you over $60,000 annually. Outsourcing to a BPO will cost you a fraction of that. If you are not looking for a full-time accountant you can still find a fractional time accountant. Industries with complex accounting such as inventorying especially benefit from having a professional take care of this meticulous and demanding part of the business. Though any company can benefit from not having to count the beans themselves.
Most small businesses understand the struggle of replying to all the queries. The piles of unanswered questions increase the dissatisfaction of customers and prospects.
Besides, most small businesses do not possess the necessary resources to manage customer service and retention. You can keep customer acquisition in-house; however, outsourcing customer services is a cost-effective solution.
The professional call representatives will handle your customer queries and will give prompt responses as instructed by you.
Payroll And Staffing
Compliance with always changing payroll laws and the hectic work of staffing & recruiting requires a lot of time and effort. When you are building up your startup, the only thing you lack is time. Therefore, you can outsource your payroll and HR functions to a specialized firm that will manage everything on time. HR staffing and payroll firms will save your HR function from compliance to any new payroll law to finding competitive candidates.
There are many other types of roles you can outsource. You can outsource other business functions such as IT, marketing, advertising, software development, etc. The only limit is the need for the role to be local.
How Can PeachBPO Help You Focus On Your Core Business?
At PeachBPO, we envision becoming partners with our clients. We have proudly served notable brands and entrepreneurs to manage their cash flow, bookkeeping, customer services, and payroll management.
If you see yourself in the crowd of entrepreneurs struggling in time and task management areas, you can set up a call with PeachBPO. Our specialized teams provide cost-effective solutions tailored for the custom needs of our valuable clients.
Contact us to get started on setting up your team with PeachBPO!
About Michael Howard
Prior to founding PeachBPO, Michael (or Mike) worked as a business leader in finance and analytics for 14 years. Michael started his career as an economist for the North American cement industry and has since worked as a marketing, strategy, and pricing consultant, FP&A director and most recently the CFO of an international tech start up closely partnered with Google. Michael, attended Loyola University Chicago for his Bachelor of Business Administration and Northwestern as a graduate student in Predictive Analytics.