Be effective with small business time management

There are never enough hours in the day. This is a common problem for many entrepreneurs and executives, and when it comes to managing your small business you must plan accordingly.

Great time management involves being prepared before the day even gets going, as well as taking advantage of all the resources available. Social media can be a phenomenal tool for you, but it is also important to remember not to get overwhelmed, or try to do too much over the course of a day. Effective time management starts at the top of an organization and trickles its way down, so quality strategy throughout the entire company falls on the shoulders of the leaders.

Capitalize on social media
It may be tempting for you to constantly be on social media when managing your small business. While these Internet tools are great for promoting a company, interacting with customers and generating leads, not using them effectively can distract you from other areas within the business. Use social media correctly, and the benefits will become immediately apparent.

For starters, plan well. Forbes magazine states that figuring out what you want to do with social media ahead of time is critical for time management. Therefore, learn what your customers want to see out of your posts and tweets, and create content that appeals to that sentiment. If you don’t know what elements of social media are valuable to your company, your time might be wasted.

Managing your small business isn’t about perfection, especially when it comes to sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest. Listen to what other social media users have to say, and take notes from the people who do it effectively. Always remember to come across as a real person, not a corporate public relations machine. While there is always a time and place for professionalism, many small businesses could benefit from connecting to customers on a more personal level.

Additionally, don’t try to be mediocre at every social media site there is. It is much better time management to focus on one or two, assuming you can get really good at those. It is better to be great at Twitter and concentrate on that rather than putting out poor content somewhere else. The same goes for frequency, and it helps to schedule set times to use these sites. Keep it consistent, even if the amount of time spent isn’t too great. One or two hours a week looks better than three hours one day followed by no activity for another month.

Don’t forget about all of the extra features many social media sites provide. When managing your small business, it helps to schedule posts ahead of time, then embargo them until a later date. This way, you can create content when you are ready, and post when it makes the most sense. While having your phone light up every couple of minutes might make you feel popular, it is a big distraction. Forbes magazine recommends turning off the notifications, so you can focus on business for the time being instead of social media. Figure out what you want from social media, so if those expectations aren’t being met strategies can change, before hours are wasted.

Let proper time management affect the entire business
Tips for effectively using social media can be used for many aspects of your company. Optimizing efficiency is key for managing your small business, and getting the most out of your workforce will help the entire enterprise make more money.

It may feel counter-intuitive, but multi-tasking can actually be a drain on time management, according to Entrepreneur magazine. It can sometimes take longer to finish one simple task while working on others concurrently, so it might be advisable to skip trying to do everything at once and do one thing well.

In addition, over-working can reduce productivity. If possible, encourage co-workers and employees to take short breaks when they can, to re-charge and work a efficiently as possible. The Energy Project, a New York based consultancy, believes that energy levels reduce nearly every 90 minutes. It recommends listening to music, deep breathing, or taking a short walk at that time to re-fuel for more effective work.

When managing your small business it may be tempting to make a to-do list in order to maximize time. While this seems like a sound plan, the list itself might force employees to spend time on tasks that aren’t as important, Inc. magazine stated.

Make the most effective list
Sometimes, the most production comes out of the smaller amount of work, leaving the rest as just a time-waster. The Pareto Principle, a mathematical law that states in most cases 80 percent of the effects are derived from only 20 percent of the causes, can be applied to time management as well. Inc. magazine added that 20 percent of the tasks on a to-do list can be relevant, while the rest aren’t. Thinking in this fashion when managing your small business can be helpful, and it may narrow down the number of items that need to be addressed in a day.

Creating the best to-do list involves re-prioritizing what is important. Compile a new ranking of your business’s daily tasks, and think about how much effort needs to be exerted compared to the tangible results that could be gained. This trade-off will help determine just how useful a particular job is, and whether or not it needs to be done now or later.

The items that have the fastest return on your investment, like calling a customer, should be done ahead of more tedious tasks with less benefit, such as a write-up on a meeting or preparing for a presentation, according to Inc. magazine. You might be surprised at how much time is devoted to tasks that aren’t important. Taking a good look at day-to-day operations can really help with managing your business, and it could also improve time management. What strategies would you like to use to make your company run more efficiently?

Be effective with small business time management
Be effective with small business time management
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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.