Finances are tight at the launch of most new businesses, especially if you factor in the costs associated with employing staff and renting premises. There are ways of cutting costs and one way is to outsource a lot of the essential tasks to freelancers. Outsourcing will lower the number of staff you will need to employ on a permanent basis. Freelancers only get paid for the work they complete and won’t require holiday and sick pay. You can tap into the expertise of freelancers on a global scale. Excellent time management is then required for the remaining tasks.
Time management is a skill in itself! If you don’t want to spend the whole day running around like a “headless chicken” achieving nothing, time management is a skill you need to develop fairly quickly! It is essential to prioritise your workload and ordering your “to do” list should become part of your daily routine.
Did you know that it is possible to hire the expertise of an online receptionist? This will remove a lot of the call answering tasks which can cause interruptions to your day. It is also possible to choose a new phone number with differing area codes relating to different parts of the country or a different country altogether! Take a look to see how much it costs to manage an australia 1800 number.
At the beginning of everyday, write a list of the tasks which need completing. Your next step is to then prioritise this list according to level of importance. If you can delegate any tasks or purchase software to make life easier – do it!
Here are some tips to make time management easier.
Deal with Urgent Tasks First
Sometimes tasks need to be urgently dealt with first. Staffing issues, customer requests and complaints and delivery issues will all need to take priority. Ensure IT systems are working effectively, especially cyber security software as you don’t want to be vulnerable to a data breach.
Your next tasks to take priority will be those related to deadlines. It is essential to meet certain deadlines in order to maintain customer and supplier satisfaction. Your deadlines may relate to accounting issues and if you don’t meet them you may incur hefty fines.
Phone Calls and Emails
If you answer the phone or open an email every time it rings or pings into your inbox you won’t get a great deal of work completed. Switch on the answer phone and turn off email notifications. Of course they do need to be dealt with eventually, but to make the best use of your time it would be a good idea to allocate a window in your schedule simply for responding to answerphone messages and emails.
Speaking by telephone is an essential form of communication. Many customers will prefer to speak to a real person as it gives the personal touch. To lower the amount of calls received ensure there is plenty of information on your website, which covers some of the more common queries. Perhaps consider having a “frequently asked questions” tab on your website.
To reduce the number of queries you receive by telephone ensure that you have sufficient information on your website and other promotional media to answer most common questions.
Even the best time managers in the world would struggle to complete all the necessary tasks needed to run a successful business alone. Being frugal may be a priority but you should put aside some funds which will enable you to outsource certain tasks. You will need to avoid trying to do everything yourself as you will quickly burn out. Any investment you make is likely to be returned tenfold, especially as it will allow you more time to concentrate on generating sales, without sales your business won’t be viable!
Research has shown that 80% of a business owners time should be spent on generating leads and making sales.The internet has opened up the opportunity to connect with freelancers on a global scale.
There are some tasks which naturally lend themselves to being outsourced.
Keeping an accurate set of accounts is essential, it is also tedious and time consuming! Some people love the accounting side of running a business but if keeping your books straight is not your “thing” it would be worth outsourcing this task to an experienced bookkeeper on a freelance basis. An accountant would also be useful at tax return deadlines.
Social Media Management
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, but it has very quickly escalated into becoming a major marketing tool. Social media platforms literally allow you to promote your business to thousands if not millions of potential customers. The downside to social media marketing is that it is very time consuming. To stay engaged on platforms you need to interact and post regularly. You also need to be available to respond to queries 24/7. It would make sense to employ a social media manager, who could concentrate on building up your followers as well as a rapport with future and existing customers.
It is now possible to employ a virtual PA, who can undertake all the tasks normally associated with a secretary in the traditional sense. A good PA will ensure records are up to date, complete paperwork, write up minutes and store data safely. All these tasks take time and if you have delegated them elsewhere you will free up lots of time.
For outsourcing to be successful you need to adopt excellent forms of communication. You will not see the freelancer in person so any instructions need to be clearly communicated in the written word as well as spoken. This will ensure that information isn’t misinterpreted and everyone will be working to the same goal.
When choosing a freelancer to outsource tasks to, be wary. Ensure that you can view examples of previous work and follow up references. There are so many people to choose from it’s important to realise that the cheapest isn’t likely to be the best, it’s also fair to say that the most expensive isn’t always the best either! Go for middle ground.