4 min read

How to Half the Time it Takes to Run Your Small Business

Small business owners work hard. Is it possible to reduce the amount of hours worked and still get the same result? Sure is!
How to Half the Time it Takes to Run Your Small Business

The average small business owner works 45 hours a week. Imagine if you could half the time it takes you to run your small business, to free you up to focus on high-value activities like growth or to give you more leisure time.

It does take some work to set up, but it’s not impossible. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas on how you can free up extra time.

Let’s start with 45 hours, and see if we can find 22.5 hours.

Stop

The starting point is to record all the activities that you complete for your small business. You can split it into hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly if it helps. But the objective should be to make a comprehensive list of all the time you spend working in or on your business.

Here’s the point: There are activities and tasks you currently do all the time that don’t contribute to your business's success. The next step is to go through every item on your list and honestly assess whether that activity contributes to serving customers, improving your products and services or your business.

Methodically cut out any activity that doesn’t contribute.

Potential time saving: 5 hours per week

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Delegate

Hold onto your list. You’ll need it to determine what activities you can delegate to your existing employees. If someone else does it, you don’t have to and it will free up time.

Run through your list of activities again and highlight the items that could be delegated to an employee. Basically, these are actions that don’t need an owner or someone with your unique skills to complete. These might include:

  • Opening or closing procedures
  • Managing staff during a shift
  • Staff rostering
  • Ordering and stock replenishment
  • Inventory management

If it can be delegated, spend some time to arm your assigned employee with everything they need to know and understand to complete the activity or task and then step back and watch them thrive.

Potential time saving: 2.5 hours per week

Hire

If capacity is an issue and all your employees and managers are currently busy, you can hire a new employee to take over some of your responsibilities. You can even hire a full-time manager who is trained to run a business and entrust them with the running of your business.

Here is where you might start to meet trade-offs. You can save time by hiring a new employee or manager, but it will cost more in additional wages and salaries. Where stopping or delegating activities and tasks are costless to you, hiring will result in a new outlay. You’ll need to decide whether it’s worth your extra time.

Potential time saving: 10 hours per week

Outsource

Hiring a new full time or casual employee is a fairly permanent decision you shouldn’t take lightly. There is another option to save time on these activities. Many specialist companies have popped up that you could engage to complete the work. For example, many companies provide outsourced finance, human resources and recruitment. For the chunky activities you want to take off your plate, outsourcing to a specialist could be a real win.

You could even hire a Virtual Assistant to take certain simple and repeatable tasks off your plate.

Potential time saving: 2.5 hours per week

Automate

I’ve kept what might be the hardest for a small business to last. That’s because not all small businesses will have the size or scale to justify automation. But for completeness it must be included.

The trick here is not to overestimate automation. Automation can include simple measures like automatic email responders, email drip sequences, customer service bots and simple finance and human resources automations.

My simple way of looking at it is as follows: If a simple activity is repeated often, and involves one of your systems (point-of-sale, customer engagement, HR or finance systems), then consider whether there is an automation. Otherwise, default to the stop, delegate, hire and outsource framework.

Potential time saving: 2.5 hours per week

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Final thoughts

There you have it, 22.5 hours.

By carefully considering how you stop, delegate, hire, outsource and automate your tasks, you can potentially reduce the time you spend working on your small business by half.

Of course, I would challenge you to stretch your target beyond half. My potential time saving estimates were intentionally quite conservative.

Small businesses can be run under management so a 100% reduction in your working hours is a viable goal. Don’t limit yourself and make sure that you seek to apply all of the approaches listed about to best suit you and your ambitions.

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