Most people assume that the pesky issue of time management is ironed-out at school, and thereafter in our adult lives managing our time is a small if not completely obsolete problem.
In reality of course we know that time is something we're all chasing, whether we're running a business or running a home, but the question is just how pressing is this issue for businesses, especially SMEs?
A recent study by Instantprint which looked at the time management behaviour of 500 SME business owners revealed that poor time management was the fundamental cause of stunted business growth.
Which is a shocking and no doubt somewhat surprising find.
Today we're going to look at the insidious ways bad time management can affect our business and how you can avoid it impacting your growth.
Clients Hogging Everything
There's no question at all that your customers are the most important aspect of your business and their needs are a priority. However, it's easy to forget that if all you're ever accounting for is client needs, then your own business isn't progressing any further.
Time should be put aside to meet your own business needs, whether that's developing your own brand material or seeking out new business. All too often time that should be spent on your own company gets pushed aside as a luxury, and instead accommodates the overspill for client-related work. Sporadically done, this is no real problem, but when it becomes a habit then your business can't help but suffer for it.
If your business is struggling to make time for its own needs then considering outsourcing some elements may help alleviate the pressure. Diary management services or additional call answering services can all help you have more time to focus on your own business and its growth.
Sometimes your team can fall into patterns that are detrimental to your aim and it can be easy to overlook or feel as there is no time to deal with it. Whether it's letting projects drag on too long or a constant battle of wills between certain team members, these seemingly small issues all end up adding up in time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere and much more productively.
The key thing is to not ignore it. Whilst it seems like you don't have time today and it can wait until 'tomorrow', the hard truth is tomorrow rarely seems to come for those things we don't deem a 'priority'. Ironing out issues in how your team works and how much they adhere to allocated times will have a huge impact on your business as a whole and make the whole system run much more smoothly.
It's easy done but detrimental to all involved. The problem is if you're spending your time over-seeing every little detail then you're not focusing on your own workload and the people you're hovering beside don't feel like they can make a move without your say so. This all creates a real stand-still when it comes to time, and makes every task take at least twice as long to complete. This then has a knock on effect and, as we mentioned above, time that should be spent on your own business needs becomes an overspill area for client work.
The point is you need to trust your staff, and if you don't you need to ask yourself why that is and tackle the problem head on.
The Growth Issue
The growth of your business must always be considered a priority and worth making time for. With this in mind it's pivotal to keep a balance between your client needs and that of your own company. Outsourcing tasks and finding ways to free up your time should all be considered, especially if your company growth has noticeably plateaued.