As a small business owner, you want your company to be successful. Maybe you work day in and day out, but never feel you’re getting anywhere. Maybe you aren’t even sure where to begin.
A successful business is one that runs efficiently. Whether you’re working too much or doing too little, using these tips can help you gain focus and operate your company more efficiently, in turn gaining customers and profit.
Create a Strong Online Presence
The less time you spend answering basic questions, the more time you can spend on more important aspects of your business. This means creating a strong online presence that makes it easier for current and potential clients to find answers to their questions. Begin with a website. Your website should be well-branded and include information bout your business, your products or services, your pricing, and your company’s address and phone number. A contact form or online order or scheduling form is also helpful.
Don’t forget about your social media presence either. At a minimum, Facebook and your Google listing should provide complete information, including a link to your website, your hours, and your contact information. Depending on the type of business you own, it is also helpful to create a presence on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok. If you find yourself being asked the same questions routinely, create a FAQ on your website to address them and save time.
Use an Answering Service
Sometimes, even a well-written website and FAQ won’t stop people from having questions or calling about basic things. While you want to provide the best service possible to your customers, answering the phone all day takes a lot of time from your work. Consider an answering service.
While many answering services require hiring live people and become quite expensive, there are ways to ensure you’re getting the most for your money. One small business app uses a conversational system and artificial intelligence to help you make the most of your time on the phone. Use it to send and receive texts, read voicemail transcriptions, and more. The app also tells you when you’re getting calls most frequently, what percentage you sent to voicemail, and how long your calls usually last. This information and more can help you determine when you’re spending the most time on the phone and whether hiring a human assistant would be financially beneficial in the future.
Focus on One Task at a Time
Studies show that focusing on too many things at once actually lowers your productivity. Have you noticed you break from big tasks often to check voicemail or email, only to end up spending more time than expected on the little things? This is hindering your productivity. Instead, create a to-do list each morning. Use the first part of the morning to do the “little things,” like to respond to emails and phone calls. From late morning until mid-afternoon, focus on a bigger task or two, allotting a specific amount of time for each one. You can then return more emails or respond to the day’s phone calls before heading out for the evening. But creating a schedule and not switching between tasks as often, you are more likely to see a boost in your personal productivity.
Treat Your Employees Well
Employee morale is important for your productivity. Whether you have one employee or 100 employees, it’s important to treat them well. Of course, that begins with paying a living wage and providing benefits like insurance options and paid time off. Valuing your employees goes beyond an excellent benefits package, though. Do you allow work-at-home options for those who may need it sometimes? Is there a clean, comfortable spot for your employees to take their breaks? Do you speak to them and get to know them? When your employees feel valued not only as hard workers but as individual people, it boosts morale and often leads to a more efficiently run business.
Take Time for Yourself
Just as you treat your employees well, you need to treat yourself well. Knowing when to stop means knowing when to stop working for efficiency and better business and start giving yourself a little bit of breathing room. It can be tempting to live and breathe your business, especially when it is a startup. But if you don’t take time for your hobbies, your family and friends, or even just to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll quickly burn out and be less productive than before. Take at least one day off per week to relax and recharge.
Remember, no two businesses run exactly alike and what works for other entrepreneurs may not work for you. Especially when you’re just starting out, trial and error are the keys to success. If one method doesn’t work for you, try another one. As you learn more about your business, your employees, and what helps you to be more efficient, you’ll see the benefits to your ROI.
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