The daily list of marketing tasks, managing employees and tracking the numbers can be infinite and so it is essential for small business owners to really maximize their time --- every single day.
It is possible to spend an infinite amount of time on marketing tasks and so it is important that we make sure we are focusing our energy in the right areas. Here are 5 strategies that will help you check those essential list items off and make the most of each day.
1.) Begin Each Day with a Plan
Not only should you begin each day with a plan but you should begin each phone call and meeting with a quick strategy. Simply ask yourself, at the end of today (or at the end of this phone call), what do I hope to accomplish? If nailing down a holiday marketing strategy has been pushed off for weeks but would allow for more productivity by providing an outline for the next few months, this is a task that should take priority. If a client tends to go off on tangents about their vacation on a scheduled 30 minute call, quickly get them back to the next bullet point on your phone call outline. Your time is valuable; treat it as such!
2.) Create a Time Log
Sit down this week and commit to finding out where you are wasting most of your time. Are you spending infinite time checking e-mails but neglecting other tasks that provide you with a greater return on your effort? In order to have a complete picture of where your “time wasters” are versus where you think they are, you need to meticulously log every task you work on each and every day. Yes, this will be exasperating but after one day you will have a detailed picture of what needs to change to make you more efficient. This is incredibly important when it comes to marketing. There are an immeasurable amount of hours you could spend on social media content creation and outreach or SEO tasks, so it is imperative that you don’t allow one to overshadow all of your other efforts. You can simply jot down this time log on a piece of paper throughout the day or create a comprehensive spreadsheet --- what’s important is to have the information! Your “time wasters” need to be reduced, delegated effectively (see below) or cut out entirely (if possible).
3.) Delegate Effectively
You’ve most likely heard this a hundred times as a small business owner but let’s say it one more time; you need to delegate! You cannot do it all! However, to simply say “delegate” is pointless really since you need to make sure the tasks you are having someone take over, can be completed autonomously. If you give someone the task of managing your Facebook when they have no background as to how to accomplish any results, you are only creating more work for yourself and allowing even more time to be wasted. You need to make sure that the person in charge of the task is either qualified or that you will lay the foundation of training. In either of those two cases, you then need to back away and allow them to allow you to work on other aspects of the business.
4.) Use Effective Online Management Tools
You will simply maximize your time ten-fold with the right online tools. Why manually schedule out 1 tweet every couple hours when you can schedule them out in Monday morning and go back to work? Better yet, why not use an autoschedule feature that predicts the best days and times to schedule based on your content and when your audience is most active? There are many online time management tools that you can use across multiple devices such as Dropbox for file sharing, Hootsuite for Social Media scheduling, Google or Outlook Calendar, MailPrism for sending faxes or even letters from your email, Mint for financial management or TweetDeck to monitor a Twitter party. These types of tools are invaluable to your time management effectiveness.
5 Effective Time Management Strategies for Small Business Owners #smallbiz
5.) Leave White Space
Leave time that doesn’t have any “to do items” for those inevitable items that pop up but also for your sanity. You need time that accounts for interruptions. This is often difficult for small business owners as we have so many things we want to accomplish and so it seems counterintuitive to leave unscheduled time. However, if you don’t give yourself some breathing room, you are both setting yourself up to burn out and to constantly be running behind. You also don’t allow for those creative moments when you simply have an idea that you want to think through that could help grow your business further. Back-to-back phone calls do not allow for much inspiration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc Orenberg, founder of MailPrism to launch on October 19th. MailPrism is a unified messaging solution that streamlines your communications to a single source, allowing you to use your existing e-mail account to send and receive messages via FAX, SMS, voice, postcards and letters. Be sure to hook up via our Facebook page to learn more about MailPrism.
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