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Efficiency in business is everything. Managers and executives should be striving at all times to be more productive and cut down on wasted time. It’s easy to detect some habits and procedures that are problematic, but others may come as a surprise to you.
Those harder to detect problems are often disguised as opportunities, sure profits, and problem-solvers that end up wasting the precious time of many business owners.
Here are seven of them, along with some tips on how to solve them if they’re keeping you too busy.
#1 You’re Taking On Too Many Clients
It’s important to remember that having lots of new clients is not the only way you can measure success at your company. Having too many clients can actually be a problem that often leads to disastrous consequences.
Imagine a scenario where you get three new business opportunities but realistically, you only have enough manpower to cover just one. You decide to accept all of them because more clients means more money. Your employees suddenly experience an increased workload and although they work hard, they get nothing in return but questions about why some things are not finished yet. This leads to frustration, which becomes resentment towards work, and finally, you lose valuable employees because you overloaded them.
As a business owner, you need to practice a delicate balancing act between having enough clients to support your business, but not taking on so many that the workload becomes unmanageable. While you focus on client satisfaction, quality work, and retention, remember that your employees should be satisfied as well.
#2 Sticking With Complicated and Demanding Clients
When you first started your business, you likely took on any client you could get. As your business grows and your niche becomes more solidified, however, not every client will be beneficial to maintain a working relationship with.
Clients from hell, something every business owner has experienced at one point or another, are the first to go. They will always be demanding, never be satisfied, and take much more time and effort from your employees than they are worth to your business.
When onboarding new clients, always take the time to consider whether they are a good fit. If not, it is likely they will waste your time and resources as well as threaten your sanity.
#3 Blaming Instead Of Learning
Something will always go wrong sooner or later when you are running a business. The truly exceptional business owner understands that mistakes will happen and that they should be taken as learning experiences.
Business owners should never waste time blaming others, whether clients, employees, or other professionals when they can instead take the time to reflect on these errors and learn from them.
Learning the right lessons from a mistake is the only way for your business to come out the other end stronger than before.
#4 Not Segmenting Work
When first starting out, most small business owners end up doing almost everything out of necessity. However, as your company grows and you add employees, continuing to do everything yourself or double check everything is a massive waste of time.
It can be incredibly hard to stand back and delegate tasks to your employees, but it is something that must be done to avoid personal burnout and run efficient business operations.
Segmenting work and having a good overview of what’s going on is easier to do now than ever before thanks to cloud computing and being able to get access to any type of cloud services you can imagine.
When you move your work to the cloud, you will get access to powerful new tools that will help you segment it efficiently, automate all those mundane and mind-numbing tasks you had to do on your own and free up time to do meaningful work and focus on business growth.
#5 Not Delegating Tasks Properly
Okay, so delegation is necessary, but delegating tasks to employees isn’t as easy as it sounds. If done incorrectly, things can go horribly wrong.
First of all, never assign tasks at random. The best way to avoid wasting everyone’s time is to base your decisions on employee skill set and talents.
Next, take your time when delegating. Be very specific when assigning tasks to employees, including information such as exactly what you want them to do, when the task should be finished, and what else might be expected of them.
Finally, encourage employees to ask questions if they are unsure about an assignment so time will not be wasted rectifying mistakes. Let them know that asking questions is more than welcome, and will never be looked down upon.
#6 Being A Perfectionist
A lot of successful business leaders strive for perfection, and it’s this innate drive for everything to be spotless is what sets them apart from others. It’s good to take pride in the work you do and set high standards.
For your business’ sake, it’s also important for perfectionists to know when to step down and leave something be. While details are important, it is equally as important not to get bogged down in them until a project is “perfect.”
Nothing is ever truly perfect and you will waste a lot of time trying to reach perfection. Accept that sometimes work just needs to be good enough.
#7 Holding Too Many Meetings
Business meetings are important to keep everyone in sync and present compelling ideas that can move your company forward. But too many meetings can quickly turn into time wasters. Be smart about scheduling meetings and hold them with reasonable regularity.
Hold them for important projects and discussions, and only when useful or necessary. Try and combine two related topics into a single meeting. Stay on topic and don’t lose focus. This will keep your meetings on point and useful for everyone.
It can be easy to get lost in a task or do things that you think are helping but really end up wasting time. Always be looking for ways to streamline your business operations and prevent things from getting overly convoluted.
Consider the activities outlined above so you and your employees can make the best use of time to grow your business.
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Running a successful home business can be difficult. There are a ton of different variables to keep in mind and plenty of unforeseeable obstacles and challenges as well. Getting started can be daunting, too—there are so many resources and outlets claiming to have industry secrets and insider information that it can be immensely challenging to find accurate, actionable tips regarding operating a successful home-based business.
Every business is different, and not all tips will work for everyone. Knowing which tips apply to your business model is the first thing to learn. With this knowledge, you can enhance, optimize, and grow your startup into something special in no time. Most of us start small, so finding tips
Without further delay, let’s jump into it.
1. Work Environment Considerations
Traditional offices use time-tested and heavily iterated techniques to craft workspaces that are comfortable and conducive to productivity. Since you’re operating out of your home, you don’t have the same luxury. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to replicate the work-centric environment found in traditional office spaces.
Ergonomics are crucial when crafting your home office. You want to ensure that your space is comfortable and geared towards productivity. Poor ergonomics can result in back pain, clutter accumulation, long-term health problems, and more.
Conversely, stellar ergonomics can yield the opposite effects. You likely have a friend or two who complains about their back. Typically, discomfort like this is blamed on the sedentary lifestyle that office work necessitates. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to counteract the negative effects of sitting. And since you’re working from home, you don’t need to concern yourself with approval from a manager or higher-up.
Standing desks are a popular, health-friendly way to enhance ergonomics. By using either a keyboard riser or a motorized desk, these devices allow you to work while standing upright. While standing, your spine is in its most natural position. Keeping this posture while working allows you to preserve your backs strength and vitality.
If you’re not a fan of standing, there are other methods you can use to keep your back in working order. Yoga chairs and office chairs with ergonomic designs can yield similarly positive outcomes, too. When creating your office space, you will want to keep these options in mind.
2. Choosing the Right Tools
Next, you should equip yourself with the right tools for the job. Since you’re working from home, your primary concern will be setting yourself up with intuitive and productivity-focused software and programs. There is no shortage of software packages that offer bevies of actionable and effective tools.
You shouldfocus on the basics before anything else. Microsoft Office, while tame, is an absolute must. Its suite of business-inclined features and capabilities can’t be matched on Windows operating systems. With Microsoft Office Suite, you will be able to access Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and of course, Microsoft Word, at your leisure.
Stamps.com is another winner for self-employed individuals. It enables you to print postage and shipping labels straight from your PC. The time it saves you by skipping trips to the Post Office will add up in the long-term.
Time management is something that self-employed people struggle with—it’s not something you think about when getting your business off the ground. But proper time distribution is key for keeping a business running smoothly. WorkTime is an excellent application in this regard. It lets you keep an eye on how much time you’re spending in each of your PC’s different programs.
Data-backup software may be the most crucial investment you can make as the head of a home-based business. Data is at the center of every modern trade, and you need to be certain that yours is safe and accessible should the unexpected occur. The risks of leaving your data unprotected are well-documented.
Lastly, publishing software is a necessity if you want to market your business effectively. Adobe InDesign is the most popular software package for publishing, but Microsoft Publisher is worth considering as well. Both of these options allow you to craft copy material, newsletters, and memos that can assist enormously in networking and communication.
3. Optimizing Your Work-Life Balance
The death knell for many small businesses is burnout. Entrepreneurs are inherently passionate about their trade. And while that passion is useful, it can be detrimental with breaks and rest. Use planning apps, like Google Calendar, to ensure that you’re getting ample sleep and taking breaks when you need them.
4. Building the Best Team
Working from home isn’t the same as working alone. You need to build a team, and there are some things to keep in mind before you get started. First, you should create clear, concise job descriptions. This step will help you find individuals who are well-suited for your business.
Likewise, you should try and find people who are committed to your company’s brand, message, and long-term goals. Lastly, try to make effective interviews—asking the right questions can assist in sorting the diamonds from the rough.
5. Investing In Security
Security is important. Multi-billion dollar corporations are still struggling with keeping bad actors at bay. And it’s especially vital if your business is one that intends on collecting and storing your client’s personal information. Before you start looking for ways to scale your business, consider how you can protect yourself and your customers effectively first.
Home-based businesses are thriving right now. While the competition is tight, there is plenty of room for your startup to thrive and grow, regardless of your industry. Implement these tips into your business and enjoy a smooth and fruitful startup phase.
Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon
(Note: This is a guest post from KEYper Systems.)
Small businesses may believe that their size prevents them from becoming a target for hackers and other criminals. Yet the opposite too often is true. More than half of small businesses experience a security breach of some kind, whether it’s a break-in or a more sophisticated form of cybercrime. No matter what form those security breaches may take, the impact can be significant.
Without a sizable or experienced IT department keeping watch over their networks, these enterprises don’t find out how vulnerable they are until it’s too late. With this in mind, it’s extremely important for a business of any size to pay close attention to its network and shield it against intruders or vandals.
Small business owners can’t afford to ignore any type of threat in favor of another. Businesses may lock their doors at night, but if their WiFi router is left unsecured, they may as well be leaving out the welcome mat for criminals.
Because securing property in the real world and online is so important for small businesses, it’s a good idea to take a look at the security tips provided in the accompanying infographic. Just because smaller companies don’t have the resources larger companies do doesn’t mean they’re not targets for crime — but it doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to protect themselves, either.
Infographic created by KEYper Systems
Travis Ray is Director of Customer Care & Strategic Marketing for KEYper® Systems, a key management and storage systems provider. Ray is responsible for overseeing the customer care team that provides software and hardware support for new and current clients.