Are you a fellow small business owner or entrepreneur? If so, you likely know that there are lots of things to balance. From client work, to invoicing and bookkeeping, to social media and blogging, to marketing and selling your products or services. It can sometimes feel like too much. You might remember that earlier this month I talked about tracking your time. This can be one first step to assessing what to prioritize. But there are also other ways to determine what really is important in your business, what you might be able to outsource, and what you might just need to let go of all together.
Determine what you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
The first step to an internal business audit, is to determine what you are actually spending your time on. This is where the time tracking piece comes in. Start by creating a document that has a column for daily tasks, weekly tasks, and monthly tasks. Then in each column, write down what has to get done. For example, on a daily basis you might write down that you check your emails, respond as appropriate, and try to leave work with 0 emails in your inbox. On a weekly basis you might schedule out your social media and blog posts. On a monthly basis, you might send invoices and send out a newsletter. Write down as many things as you can think of!
Categorize those tasks.
Once you have all your tasks written down, figure out a categorization system. Example: social media, emails, client work, and invoicing/bookkeeping. Of course these will depend on your particular business and what you’re handling on a regular basis.
Now that you have that all organized, assign an importance to each task.
Certain tasks, such as client work, are of course the most important. After all, that’s what’s bringing in the income. In general, anything that is directly bringing in income is going to be the most important, then things fall into place after that. Are there certain tasks that you wrote down that are taking up a good chunk of your time but really aren’t helping you make money? This step might take a little bit longer than the other, because you might have to pull up different analytics. You might look into seeing how your social media is functioning and which channels are bringing you the most business. How’s the email newsletter going? If you find that certain things that aren’t working well you have two main options: 1) bring in an expert or 2) drop it all together. By bringing in an expert (like someone who specializes in marketing, or copywriting, or bookkeeping), they may be able to help you in these area and help you grow farther. You might also decide that a certain task just really isn’t worth the effort or investment into hiring an expert. That’s ok too! It’s also important to recognize that some things may have worked for a season, but are no longer working for you. It’s ok to let those things go!
How are you spending your days?
Finally, after you have decided what tasks are most important, decide how you are going to lay out your month so that they all get accomplished. Schedule in the most important tasks first, then the next most important, etc. Sometimes when you get to this step, you’ll realize you don’t have time to do it all. Especially if you still want to see your family, eat meals, and maybe even go out for a movie sometimes! You might decide at this point that outsourcing some of your tasks may be your best bet. It’ll help you take a few of those tasks off your plate so that everything that you think is important can get done with the attention it deserves.
Do you have thoughts about prioritization in your small business? How have you decided what is important for you?