Warning! This blog contains tough love.
When you tell me “I don’t have time,” I get a little nuts.
I don’t have time to implement new ideas.
I don’t have time to study my POS reports.
I don’t have time to map out a social media strategy.
I don’t have time to run my business correctly!
I’m not completely insensitive. I get that you’re busy. And overwhelmed. And perhaps confused about which step to take first. So here are my best pieces of advice to help you dig out of the time spiral.
1. Put on your CEO hat.
Remember, you are the only one with the power – and the responsibility – to turn your business into everything you want it to be.
If you’re inundated with details and non-revenue producing tasks, it’s time to recalibrate. Your job is to steer the high level thinking that produce maximum sales results. This is a non-negotiable.
Now, take a hot minute and figure out how you are spending your time. Keep a running daily calendar of tasks for about a week. How much time are you on the sales floor? Doing administrative work? Ordering? Paying bills? Scheduling? Training? What is eating up your time? (BTW, serving your customers shouldn’t be considered a time suck. That’s kind of why you’re in business, isn’t it?)
3. Figure out what you like doing.
What made you want to get into business in the first place? You are, after all the CEO of your company and running it shouldn’t be torture. You should be able to do the things you like and enjoy — and are good at!
4. Get creative about finding help.
How can you offload operational tasks and the duties you hate or aren’t great at when you can’t afford extra help?
Utilize current employees.
Most stores and restaurants have slow times and you can schedule certain tasks during those hours. Get your employees on board with a list of operational duties. Just 30 minutes per employee can make a huge difference! They can do everything from prepare weekly schedules to taking photos for social media posts to merchandising and reviewing POS reports for trends and opportunities.
If you need more help and can’t afford it, start small.
For example, maybe you can’t afford a social media consultant or visual designer, but you can afford to give one of your employees an extra two hours on the schedule each week to free up your time to do this. Use the time to attend a networking breakfast plan your marketing for the next quarter or create your social media posts. That’s certain worth an extra $20 or $30!
Hire a virtual assistant
For about $25 and hour, you can have a remote assistant a couple of hours per week to handle routine and recurring tasks.
Even if money is tight, don’t let a $50 or $100 investment get in the way of y moving your business forward. You have to shake the tree a bit to create change.
Small expenditures can have a domino effect – to help increase sales and then, in turn, afford additional help.
5. Calendar essential tasks
Now that you’re paying for some help, take full advantage of that extra time. Paying an employee an extra two hours? Be sure to calendar those hours for yourself. Use them to work on the CEO tasks you’ve identified. Make that commitment so you don’t get sucked into the menial again, defeating the purpose.
6. Commit to making the short term sacrifices.
If your business is failing or flailing, you have to work right now, this minute, to improve it. There is no time to waste or complain about not having time! Doing the same thing over and over again isn’t going to affect change!
Make that full court press to improve business…and make it quickly. It may take a few sleepless nights or some really busy weeks but the results will be worth it. Not prepared to make the sacrifice? Well, then you should probably reevaluate being a business owner because there will always be cycles of ups and downs that will make extraordinary demands on you. It’s the nature of the beast.
7. Ask yourself every day, “ What did I do today to move my business forward?”
When you look at your daily ”to do” list, start with the items that have the potential to improve your business. It’s that simple. At the end of the day, as long as you’ve done something that builds on your business potential, you’re good!
Owning a business is hard work. So now you have two choices. The first is to make the time to dig in and get it done. The second choice is far less appealing.
Until next time, remember…
You can do this!