June 21 marked the first official day of summer and we couldn’t be more excited! The summer season brings warm weather, longer days, and well-deserved time off. For micro and small businesses, though, summer vacations can feel impossible. Small business owners feel conflicted about being away as it has real implications on the business. Yet on flip side, they’re working around the clock and need a vacation. On top of that, social never sleeps so allowing your social presence to dwindle while away isn’t an option.
Being a small business owner is an incredible feat. You’ve pursued your passion and made it into a reality. It is certainly exciting to be at the helm of a business, but it can also be overwhelming. You’re responsible for everything, and properly attending to every factor of your business takes time. You may have noticed that your day can easily be derailed by sales call or troubleshooting an unexpected and urgent issue. These kinds of interruptions are part of being a small business owner, but in order to maximize your time and not work 24/7, try setting a schedule. We have five recommendations for setting a schedule that works for you and helps you stay on track for reaching your business goals.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up social media accounts for your business and are gaining followers and increasing engagement daily. Your hard work is paying off, but do you feel like social media management is becoming a full-time job, on top of running your small business? With the numerous platforms available, all which have different functionalities and requirements – cue Twitter’s 140 character limit for tweets – it can be a cumbersome undertaking. You may find that you spend a shocking amount of time on this one piece of your business. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then keep reading!
As small business owners, you know that networking is of utmost importance to building your business and credibility. Word of mouth endorsements are invaluable and you never know the connections you will make at an event or during an online networking hour. Yet, as a small business owner, attending hours-long events to establish relationships and potential partners is just not part of your daily routine because they’re a major drain on your most precious resource: time. Luckily in this fast-paced digital age, there are a number of professional networking apps that help you to network effectively on your own time.
We’re all guilty of it: toggling between screens and applications; answering emails while talking to someone on speakerphone. These are normal daily activities that eat away at our productivity. The ability to focus on a singular task has become a novel idea; we have forgotten the importance of paying attention to one thing at a time and having complete focus. With increasing responsibilities and deliverables, the average person has resorted to ‘multitasking’ all the time. It is so common that it doesn’t even seem like multitasking anymore.
Running a small business can be a difficult job. The responsibilities can be daunting, and the tasks can quickly pile up. Running a micro-business can be even tougher. Similar tasks are placed on fewer people, and your to-do list can get crowded in a hurry. Compounding the challenge is the fact that many people simply procrastinate their duties. After all, why do something now when there will be time for it later? There’s no clear reason why some people tend to procrastinate. Research suggests that procrastination might actually be a factor of genetics, something that’s been passed down through the generations. Maybe you even fall into that category. But just because you might be a natural procrastinator doesn’t mean you have to give in to your instinctual behaviors. A variety of productivity tools are out there, ready to help you overcome the urge to delay what should be done right away.
In the life of a busy entrepreneur, there are many moments where we wish we didn’t have to waste so much time doing the small stuff. Whether it be checking insignificant emails, or waiting the few extra seconds for a large file to upload.
Yesterday, I stumbled across an interesting app called Rescue Time. More or less, this application is a behind-the-scenes time ninja that reports back in how effectively you are using your time on your computer AND mobile device. It simply runs in the background and tracks how much time you spend on different applications to give you a picture of your daily tasks – and provides advice on how to better spend the time you may be wasting.
The Inbox Diaries is a series designed to help busy entrepreneurs keep up with all the latest news in small business, marketing, and social media. I’m scouring my inbox every day for interesting tidbits – so you don’t have to.
This Week’s Stories:
The Atlantic Wants You To Go #Tabless
In a tongue-in-cheek video that serves as a public service announcement about multi-tasking, The Atlantic’s senior editor James Hamblin, MD, implores you to join the #TablessThursday movement. Saying that “single-taking is the new multi-tasking,” Hamblin takes a look at how our tendency to leave dozens of browser tabs open while we work is ruining our ability to actually DO work. Interspersed throughout the comical interview are a few hard facts about focus and productivity:
Friday afternoon just feels like an appropriate time to publish a post about productivity, doesn’t it? Today’s article features tips and advice from Chris Bailey, writer of A Year of Productivity. This fantastically helpful blog offers all kinds of things the author learned during the yearlong experiment he conducted after graduating from business school. The blog is definitely worth perusing, but today we’re going to look productivity tips from the article 100 time, energy, and attention hacks to be more productive.
While every small business takes its own unique route, there are some standard exits along the road to success that eventually cause entrepreneurs to ask themselves “am I in this for the long haul?”
Most ventures start as a side project squeezed into the off-work hours of evenings and weekends. But if business is good, the owner will soon have to decide whether they are going to make a full time commitment – or take the next exit. This is when a project usually becomes a sole proprietorship, with one dedicated employee working out of a home office. If the business continues to grow in scale and complexity, the owner will soon find themselves asking, “how much longer can I do this on my own?”