A recent survey by OfficeMax shows that small business owners want to spend three hours more each week on activities that will help grow their companies – but they just don't have the time. So what are they spending those three hours doing instead?
Workers in small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) spend half the work day on necessary, yetunproductive tasks, including routine communications and filtering incoming information and correspondence, according to a report from Fonality and Webtorials. These unproductive tasks aren't helping entrepreneurs move their companies forward, and what's worse is that 41% of small business owners say administrative tasks drain their passion and energy for running their companies. This wasted time is unnecessary.
To combat entrepreneurial brain drain, check out these productivity hacks for small business owners:
Simplify back-end processes and streamline communication
Consider using websites such as Torpio or Zapier to automate tedious dual data entry. Using application programming interface (API) technology, employees and business owners can automate data retrieval and modification, freeing up valuable time for more important activities, such as brainstorming the next product upgrade or business expansion plan.
It's clear that email is at the core of small businesses' customer interactions, and many people have multiple inboxes, making it even more of a challenge to keep all those messages straight. Since we're constantly using infinite combinations of phone, fax, text messages and video conferencing to stay in touch, bringing all of these methods into one streamlined communication plan will ensure clear messages are received by all and turned directly into workflows.
By combining all of their communications into one central location, teams can better communicate and share information, allowing for faster access to important details across the company.
Improve collaboration methods
The majority (two-thirds) of respondents to an Aberdeen survey identified improving collaborationacross the business as the top goal for their organizations' communications plans.There is a plethora of collaborative software available to support teams' goals.
Especially for off-site employees, for example, try using Google Hangouts for face-to-face meetings andYammer, a social network for businesses, for employee collaboration when videoconferencing isn't necessary. Additionally, have a place where employees can openly discuss and brainstorm what's working and what's not; this is what makes the business stronger.
Redirect saved time to rebuilding entrepreneurial spirit
All of this improved collaboration, and streamlined communication and processes undoubtedly make for more successful and efficient employees, and ultimately a happier work environment. Business owners who cut down on the time they spend on unnecessary processes can direct those new-found hours to collaborating and brainstorming with their employees. A happier team can re-infuse passion and spirit back into the business, boosting the founder's spirit and efficacy, as well.
Administrative tasks and processes may seem small, but they can add up to larger issues. By addressing and simplifying each task, entrepreneurs can actually solve more abstract issues, such as losing passion for their business. Back-end processes will always be a part of running a business, but they should not be the reason why business owners feel they can't move their companies in the direction they envision.
- Anthony Smith is the CEO and Founder of Insightly