Time is a valuable resource for any business owner, but especially for small business owners who often have to deal with limited staff and stiff competition. Wasted time equates to time spent not earning money or tending to customer concerns. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, "approximately 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of the second year, 30 percent of businesses will have failed."
The number one reason cited for business failures is poor management, which means not only managing finances, employees, and customers, but also poor time management. Because if you're not managing your time effectively, these core business functions may not receive the attention they require to ensure business success.
As a small business owner, mastering time management skills can mean the difference between success and failure. Time management doesn't have to be a constant struggle, and it's not about micromanaging every detail down to the minute. There are ways to transform everyday business activities that result in time saved and can elevate your business and human resource efforts to new heights. In this post, we're sharing top time management tips for small business owners to maximize efficiency and productivity.
Effects of Poor Time Management on Small Businesses
Poor time management can cause a myriad of issues that extend beyond the mental health of individuals in the organization. Its impact permeates every aspect of a business, from employee morale to customer satisfaction, and ultimately the bottom line.
1. Decline in Productivity
Inefficient use of time leads to tasks taking longer than necessary, missed deadlines, and general disorganization. Employees who are unsure of their priorities or who are constantly reacting to urgent issues are less productive. They may find themselves constantly caught in a loop of catching up rather than effectively driving projects forward.
2. Poor Quality of Work
Rushed work often results in mistakes, which may affect the quality of your products or services. When employees are overworked or lack clear direction, the quality of their output may decline. This not only impacts customer satisfaction but can also tarnish your business's reputation.
3. Increased Costs
Poor time management can lead to inefficiencies that increase your business costs. For example, if your team regularly works overtime due to poor planning, this leads to unnecessary wage expenses. Similarly, last-minute rush orders or fixes due to lack of proper scheduling can increase your operational costs.
4. Low Employee Morale
A workplace that consistently experiences the negative impacts of poor time management can suffer from low employee morale. When employees are always stressed, overworked, or feel their time is not respected, their job satisfactiondecreases. This can lead to increased employee turnover, adding to your business costs and creating instability.
5. Lost Opportunities
Time wasted cannot be reclaimed. In a small business setting, time inefficiencies may result in lost opportunities. For example, time spent correcting mistakes or dealing with issues arising from poor time management is time taken away from strategic planning, innovation, and business growth.
6. Customer Dissatisfaction
Finally, poor time management can negatively impact customer satisfaction. If your business is known for missing deadlines or providing poor quality products or services due to rushed work, customers will likely look elsewhere. A reputation for unreliability can be devastating to a small business.
Time Saving Tips To Increase Profit And Reduce Waste
When you implement time saving tips for small business, the goal is to avoid wasting precious energy, time, money, human resources, and physical assets. All 5 of these important functions are what makes a business run at optimum levels. Discovering how to automate tasks, use employees effectively, and optimise your daily routines takes planning and intention.
But, the energy you spend upfront to integrate these time saving tips will pay off with huge rewards, including a business that runs more smoothly and with fewer hassles. When you save time wherever you can, owners and supervisors can better focus on strategic business decisions, consider growth opportunities, and actually enjoy running the business, instead of dreading each business day.
1. Prioritise business marketing using digital technology
One of the key time management strategies every small business owner should adopt is prioritizing tasks. Take the time to review your business goals and operations, then use the many digital business platforms available to optimize those that are most important. For example, if increasing in-store foot traffic is an essential task to meet daily sales goals, use digital technologies to make your business more visible in the community. This could include leveraging the power of social media, holding onsite classes or demos, or distributing sales or discount advertisements within the neighbourhood.
One important task for a small business owner is to utilize time management systems that can automate much of the daily business routines, including the automatic updating of social media presence and creating an engaging website. For instance, consider a promo that requires customers to use their email as a way to sign-up. This simple time management strategy allows you to gather hundreds of email addresses, an important task that can later be used to promote sales, events, or to simply send a "Thank You" message.
Here is a list of the top business marketing technologies that small business owners can use to stay competitive and grow their customer base:
Social media engagement
Content creation (blogs, videos)
In the past, managing these tasks for different customer personas, demographics, and geographical territories would have been time-consuming. But today, digital technologies make it much easier to get the word out about your business, saving valuable time. Though these technologies may have a learning curve and an initial time investment, once implemented, they typically require little maintenance while continuing to generate significant leads and customer engagement.
2 . Optimise your workforce with automated time tracking
Poor workforce management is one of the main reasons why businesses fail. But with the right time management skills and tools, this can be avoided. One such tool is an automated time tracking system. Automated workforce planning systems like Shiftbase can help small business owners effectively manage employees and save time.
Onboarding staff is the first part, but even more important to a company's bottom line is creating work schedules and tracking employee time. Time theft can be intentional or unintentional, meaning employers may simply not follow clock-in and clock-out procedures correctly. But, typically it involves employees who finish work early, start work late, take extended breaks, conduct personal business on company time, or use overtime that is unauthorised.
"The American Society of Employers estimates that 20 percent of every dollar earned by a U.S. company is lost to time theft. On the employee side, the American Payroll Association reports a whopping 75 percent of companies lose money from "buddy punching," the most common type of employee time theft.
Automation of your employee time tracking and scheduling is a big time saving tip for any size business. Consider the benefits of an automated workforce planning system like Shiftbase. It allows you to take into account all your employees skills and time availability using one centralised application to optimise the scheduling of each shift. Punch clock errors are eliminated because employees are registered to work a maximum number of hours, for example 8 hours for 5 days per week.
Supervisors are kept in the loop with employee leave-time or other absence requests, and you have a data trail of absenteeism or tardiness when it comes time for employee evaluations. Not only can you set your all your employees and teams, knowing where everyone is assigned to work, top management can easily see any scheduling conflicts, which can be a significant loss of money when too many employees are scheduled for the same work shift.
With a time employee time management system, you can clearly see gaps in employee skills or time, allowing you to beef up certain job positions or hours. Workers are also much happier with a time tracking and workforce planning system that allows them to always know exactly what time expectations are required from them.
Industries that benefit the most from employee scheduling and time tracking include production facilities, retail, hotels, restaurants, transportation, and recreation. But, even a private practise with 5 employees will find that automating their employee with a mobile app can be beneficial.
3. Streamline business administrative functions
One of the biggest drains on a business is admin, which includes overhead costs, time, and effort. Automating these processes with software can significantly improve time management, increase productivity, and reduce errors.
Here is a list of business functions that can be automated with free or proprietary software for business management:
Along with these major business functions, many daily documentation tasks can be automated. For example, using automated business forms that populate with most of your customer or employee information can save time and reduce errors. Similarly, customer service systems can be automated to automatically create customer support tickets and route them to the appropriate department. This kind of immediate response makes your small business look like a major player.
Even the customer experience can be automated with customer service systems that will automatically create customer support tickets then route them to the appropriate department for resolution. This type of immediate response makes your small business look like a major player.
Automated response sent to a customer enquiry or automatically directing support tickets to its relevant department, will ensure customers' needs are handled as efficiently and quickly as possible. And, at the same time you are curating a client or customer database of names and contact information that can be used for automated outbound marketing campaigns.
If you choose to use an automated system to receive sales leads, make sure you have a dedicated employee ready to follow up on these valuable leads. Business automation can bring in customers, but it is still up to the business to deliver service.
As a small business owner, you understand the importance of time management, but the question is - how do you streamline these processes? This is where Shiftbase can make a significant difference. Our comprehensive workforce management software provides you with the tools needed to optimize your business.
With employee scheduling features, Shiftbase allows you to create, manage, and adjust schedules with ease. The time tracking feature ensures you can monitor how time is spent, reducing time theft and increasing productivity. Moreover, absence management is simplified, giving you a clear view of leaves, ensuring your operations run smoothly.
Don't let time slip away - take the proactive step towards better time management. Let Shiftbase guide you towards higher efficiency, productivity, and, ultimately, profitability. Ready to see the difference Shiftbase can make in your business? Start your free 14-day trial now, and experience the transformation first-hand.