Business timeAn OfficeMax survey of small businesses showed that 4 billion hours are spent each year on routine operations that could be done more efficiently. Almost half of the business owners stated these efforts drained them of their motivation for growing the business. Look for those tasks in your office and automate them, outsource them, or get them done more efficiently. Don’t let them rob you of your desire to build a successful business.

Your Investment of Time. The time you’ve put into starting and growing your business is an investment. As your business becomes more successful, you’ll get the satisfaction of having accomplished something. Hopefully, you’ll get a decent income, too. One way to protect that investment is to make sure your time is not wasted. Garda World says that any time you spend on things that don’t focus on customers should be given to someone else to do or eliminated entirely.

Hire or Outsource? If you don’t already have employees, then hiring someone is a big decision that comes with more responsibilities. Outsourcing work to contractors can make sense once you’ve identified those discreet tasks that can be turned over to someone else. Bookkeeping, documentation, marketing and PR are some areas where hiring a contractor makes sense. To be clear, it makes sense if the contractor is experienced in that area. Friends and family that want to pitch in and help may not be the best option, unless they are experts in the field.

There are also a number of things you can contract out to a virtual assistant and they don’t need to be on site. Entrepreneur says these could include:

  • bookkeeping
  • online research
  • presentation creation
  • email management
  • travel and scheduling

Tech Time. How much time do you spend with your technology? How much of that time has a direct ROI? Many technology tasks can be outsourced, but some can also be made more efficient. If you’re using cloud-computing for applications and backups, how reliable are they? Do you have to spend time checking on backups? Are they difficult to schedule and run? Research dependable cloud storage rankings to see if there are better service provider options for your business.

Manage Your Time and Create Routines. You work hard as a small business owner, but that doesn’t mean you have to work all of the time. Even if you’re working out of an office in the basement, establish your business hours. You may work a 10 to 12 hour day, but keep it to that. When the work day is over, quit and do something that revitalizes you. Small Business Trends says to keep focused on work during the business hours, but focus on the other parts of your life when the work day is over.

Get Rid of the Time Wasters. There are numerous things that can distract you throughout the day, especially if you work out of your home. People call or stop by to chat. You have personal appointments and errands and emails that don’t need to be read right now. There are dozens of things can happen every day to take your focus away from work, says Score. For the next week, jot down every time you are interrupted by something that’s not very important. Then decide how to move or eliminate those distractions. You’ll gain back time to spend on those important customer-focused activities.

Time is your most important business asset. Invest it wisely on customer service and maximize your sales in return!

Who Are We.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.

Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at www.thebrandauthority.net. To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact info@thebarefootspirit.com.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders