8 New Year Business Time-Saving Tips

Happy New Year! Well 2008 is finally here – and there’s no better time to take stock of what’s working and what’s not in your business. A New Year is the ideal time to put in place the necessary changes to get the most out of your business and ultimately increase productivity.

Here are 8 fool-proof tips to help you save yourself time and increase the output of your business.

1. When are you at your best? During the daytime? Towards the latter part of the evening, or at the crack of dawn? Decide at whichever point throughout the day, or night you’re at your most productive and preserve that time of the day for when your powers of concentration are at their highest and tackle the jobs which demand your greatest creativeness, imagination and unbroken concentration. You’ll save yourself time, because you won’t be trying to deal with things that you’re not really mentally alert enough to undertake.

2. If you’re anything like I used to be, you’ll be checking your messages throughout the working day or responding to email alerts constantly. STOP! If possible reserve ½ an hour to an hour at the beginning or the end of each day to answer emails and phone messages (unless the messages are urgent). Develop a more cost-effective attitude with regard to your time and how you spend it. Time is money after all.

3. Type up some typical answers to email or phone enquiries, so that you’re not wasting time trying to think of responses to various phone callers who tend to ask the same types of questions. Likewise for emails, don’t waste time typing out a new one each time; have a couple of stock emails that you send out to potential clients.

4. Know when to say no. We would all like to help out where we can, however try not to extend yourself too far. By taking on too many things, you’re in danger of completing none of them satisfactorily and performing fewer tasks successfully is preferable to producing a large number to a second-rate standard. If you are able to assign some of your tasks to someone else – do so, in order to avoid over-working.

5. If you have a website create an online payment facility, so you lessen the need for handling cash and cheques.

6. Be aware of when you’re wasting time. That report you needed to type up and send to a regular client could have been completed and dispatched by a virtual assistant in a ⅓ of the time. The email you responded to from someone who was not a client on a busy Monday morning has generated more correspondence than you would have preferred – but ultimately with no purchasing of your goods, or take up of your service. Stopping to have a quick 5 minute chat with a colleague during a busy part of the day turns into a 40 minute gossip session. That brief call you had to take became a 30 minute interruption. Invest in a timer of some sort and get into the habit of expecting each phone caller to come to the point of the call within 2 – 3 minutes.

7. Aim to handle mail (NO MORE THAN TWICE). Theoretically, deal with mail as soon as you’ve read it. If you don’t have to keep it, put it in the bin straight away. If it can be left to a later date – file it at once with a date to clear the matter. If action is necessary do so as soon as possible. Keep your work space as free from clutter and unresolved issues as you can.

8. Stop trying to be a one man/woman band. Even if you’re currently a small business of just one person (such as a home business, life coach, publisher or lettings agent etc…), it’s just not possible to do everything yourself. Enlist the help of someone to off load at least a few of those time-consuming secretarial/administrative tasks to. Such as producing your documentation, answering phone calls, responding to routine emails, telemarketing. Work out which parts of your business can be handled competently by another professional and either employ someone, or outsource it.