Ever walk into your business in the morning and feel overwhelmed by your to-do list? The pile of bills, endless emails, meetings upon meetings keeping you from producing?
With the advent of the “instant society,” small business owners are increasingly resource-constrained, especially in terms of money, time, and sanity. Fortunately, many low- or no-cost solutions are available, and you can put them into play before you finish your first cup of coffee.
In particular, disruptive technologies can help you more effectively manage these pain points, with a few tweaks to your normal routine. You can easily find ways to break the cycle and get ahead in business without losing your focus. Here are five keys to help you break the cycle and put more focus on your business
1. Cut out the middle man
“Taxes” is a word that incites fear in most small business owners. Many owners find themselves underwater in paperwork and keeping up with all the day-to-day expenses, which often leads to expensive quarterly and end-of-year taxes situations. Hiring an accountant is usually the go-to for most businesses, but you can also use software such as FreshBooks to keep up with your expenses or payroll software such as QuickBooks. While you typically think of these packages for spreadsheets, invoicing, A/R, and related functions, they also have built-in tax platforms and additional services, along with mobile apps for handling expenses on the go.
2. Outsource more expensive roles
Having a great executive team is key for shaping and maintaining day-to-day and long-term processes and management. But roles, like having a full-time CFO, can be very costly. How about having a CFO on call? Services like Sparehire, CFOEdge, and NowCFO.com allow you to “rent” a CFO for a monthly or hourly charge, based on part-time employment or a consulting fee. Spending a few thousand dollars on a CFO for a month to help you set up these systems and plan for the next step can possibly save you much more in the long run.
3. Make meetings work for you
Falling into the “too many meetings” trap can happen very quickly when making deals happen and keeping the team on the same page becomes a priority. If you end up spending most of your time in meetings, your employees become distracted by shifts in focus and lack of time to complete previous tasks. You end up working “in” your business and not “on” it. Take the hassle out of meeting set up with scheduling services, like X.Ai, which uses AI technology to help schedule meetings. You can also cut down on the need for some meetings by putting company news and feedback in a weekly email newsletter or with a team-based chat application, such as Slack. Virtual reality (VR) applications, such as Rumii, an app from Doghead Simulations, will soon allow you to have standup meetings in a VR environment, allowing your company to save money in costly overhead.
4. Put the ‘do’ in ‘to do’
A simple to-do list can change your life. There are many helpful apps and products, such as 2Do, that can keep you focused on what really matters. But don’t overwhelm yourself. Keeping your three, top daily business goals in mind and getting these done is a good start. Don’t look at all of your tasks and try to tackle them in one fell swoop. Sometimes, it may be tricky to even know where to start, and having a helping hand to organize some of the smaller everyday challenges your business faces can definitely give you peace of mind and guidance.
Ever imagine having a temporary personal assistant without the cost or training of hiring for a full-time position? Arranging It All is a service that can come into your business or home office and help you get organized, tackle that ever-growing pile of mail, or help sort through and file all of those expense receipts. They can even help you focus your business goals and create to-do lists.
5. Update your technology
One of the best ways to help you streamline your company is to make sure you are properly updated with the latest hardware and software. Many companies fail to see the benefits of spending money on new versions; however, when a presentation fails; a computer crashes during a deadline; that email didn’t get sent in time to seal that big deal; or you can’t collaborate internally with colleagues, customers, and vendors; you may find yourself at a major loss due to a lack of the right tools.
At the end of the day, any technology—disruptive or not—that can make your business more efficient is a sound one. Streamlining any process means you get back more of the one scarce resource every business owner can ill afford to waste: time.