Time-Saving Tips For Small Business Owners

Most of us wish we had more than 24 hours in a day. It could be that you have way too much on your plate. Yet, more often than not, it’s a matter of ‘unconscious planning’.

When I first started freelancing as a designer, making appointments for work was new to me. If a client or prospect wanted to meet, I looked at my calendar, offered up an available slot, and that was that.

I learnt pretty fast that this ‘musical chairs’ method wasn’t going to cut it.

I lacked large blocks of time in the day to get my design work done. I ended up having to work almost every night and having no life.

Not a happy girl.

Fortunately that was years ago; I’ve since adopted a method that is more effective. Here are some tweaks you can make to have an immediate impact on your time management:

  1. Don’t be too quick to commit

Meeting requests may come at inconvenient timings. If you are distracted or unable to get clarity on your availability, simply ask to get back to the person after you’ve checked your schedule. Avoid agreeing to a day and time impulsively.

2. Location-based planning

Herd appointments that share location vicinity. Get them together on a single day, then schedule them back-to-back whenever possible. For bonus points, fit in any errands that are based in the area too. You’ll save a significant of time and money commuting.

3. Be in control

Offer a few available timeslots for selection. Avoid leaving it up to the other party to set the day and time. Be conscious of the timeslots you offer up — they must help to keep your schedule tidy.

4. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’

If someone wants to meet at a time/day/location that greatly inconveniences you, e.g. traveling from one end of the island to the other, it’s okay to decline and offer up a day/time that would work better. Sometimes asking if both parties could meet at a halfway point, works well too.

5. Make full use of your office

If you have a physical office that’s located in a centrally accessible area, invite the other party to come visit your workplace. It gives them a chance to get to know your company better, especially if they get to meet your team members. This eliminates the need to travel, giving you more time to get things done.

The above tips are just a guideline and to highlight awareness when planning your schedule. Do try to implement them whenever you can, but don’t force it. Each customer has his or her own working style, preferences and availability, so be ready to compromise and provide a pleasant customer experience.

What other ways are you losing time? A weekly review could help identify more time sinks, so you can either outsource your business tasks, or cut it out entirely if it’s unimportant.

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