8 Mistakes that Could Be Costing You Time
Stop Wasting Time in Your Business
In today’s episode: We discuss 8 mistakes that you might be making in your local small business costing you time. We all could use more time in our lives. Not only to work “on” our business but also to find more time to spend with our family. Are you making any of these?
Here are the Show Notes from the Episode:
**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**
Episode 50 – 8 Mistakes that Could Be Costing You Time
The Local Small Business Coach Podcast
We All Could Use More Time
I have a question for you. Do you ever wish you had more time in your life? Do you find that the harder you work the less time you have? Maybe you would use this time to work “on” your business vs “in” your business. Maybe you would spend more time with your family, go to more of your kid’s special events like plays or sports?
Do you ever get jealous of others that seem to have the time you crave? I know I’m amazed when I see highly successful people seem to have way more time than I do. How on earth do they do it. Here is the rub, we all have the same 1440 minutes in any given day. No more no less. Time plays no favorites. It doesn’t matter if you are poor or rich, white or black, old or young, CEO or janitor, or an experienced business owner or a new one. We all get the same time. So where they heck does time go each day? And why do some folks seem to have more than others?
It is what we do with this time that separates us all.
Most of us are in search of finding more “time”. Many small business owners suffer from a lack of time and it is costing them sales and profit. In today’s episode, I want to take a look at 8 Mistakes Small Business Owners make that are “stealing” their time. How can you gain back some of this precious time in your small business so that you can accomplish more or have more quality family time? So, in no particular order, let’s dive in!
Mistake #1 – Not Having Systems in Place
This is probably the #1 mistake small business owners make. Most small business owners are used to hitting the grounding running and just “doing”. Their personality type is one of action and getting it done. The problem with this is, you must dedicate a chunk of your time to paying bills, invoicing, calling back clients (both current, past and leads). You need time to place orders and get supplies.
The only way to carve out that time is to set the time aside to not only do it, but more importantly, you must put the processes needed to do them quickly and efficiently. For example, do your jobs have a flow to them? Do you have a smooth transition from taking on the job, to doing the job to invoicing, etc? Or does it change with each job and it really shouldn’t? Big businesses spend tons of money finding additional profit and they come up with that profit through tweaking the business processes they have in place.
I’ve been talking about this one a lot the past few weeks. This should tell you why I find this so important. And the best place to start is looking at the things that you currently run around doing that should take 15 min but ends up taking hour instead. I guarantee you it is due to you not having a solid best practice or process in place.
Mistake #2 – Not Having a Good Calendar System in Place
Tied to having good processes, is having a good calendar in place. If your day has no structure and you run from project to project and you miss deadlines and forget appointments, then this mistake is a big one for you. I even know small business owners that commit to say a Thursday at 1pm yet never write it down! Then on Thursday they are scrambling as they try to now work in this missed commitment that had they scheduled in the first place. Think of the impact not only on their time, but on their brand with their clients or customers?
Look, if you are a detailed type of person, I bet this isn’t time killer for you. You probably already have a great process in place, but for many of you, you need some type of system. You do not need anything to crazy. The average business owner will notice tons of improvement by just using the calendar system in their phone or computer. Both Google and the iPhone have great calendar options built in that sync between the computer and the phone. They update immediately on both. My Google calendar is my life. I commit to nothing without it being added here immediately so I don’t forget. I have so much going on, that I know I would miss appointments. Am I perfect? Heck no. I need time just like you. But I will say, I don’t miss my commitments.
Don’t like technology? Or uncomfortable with it? Then go old school. Head over to Walgreens or Walmart and get an old fashion calendar book and a pencil with an eraser. No excuses. Today you have many options!
By the way, don’t forget to block time in your calendar in advance for key family functions or needed family time. If Little Jimmie has a soccer game…key it in! If Little Suzie has a play, key it in. There I no excuse to miss another major family event if you schedule around it.
Mistake #3 – Time Loss Traveling Between Jobs
Sure you love all jobs. Especially if they involve making money. But are the jobs far away from your base operations? If so, they could be costing you time and money. Are you budgeting in the time for these longer than normal roundtrips? Some of you get killed by unplanned trips where you have to head back out. If that job is an hour away there goes 2-3 hours you didn’t plan on.
Same thing happens on jobs that are far from the tools or resources you need. I know a few handymen that lose so much time making 2-3 trips to Ace or Home Depot and it gets compounded when the job is ½ hour from the closest one.
Look for ways to trim this travel time. How much can you impact your time? Do you need to change your trade area? Ask this, would narrowing your service area give you more time for more jobs? Sometimes you can double your business by just focusing on a small trade area.
Mistake #4 – Procrastination
I know, you hit the ground running and work from dawn to dusk. Some of the hardest working people I know are small business owners. I know there was a stretch of time in my brick and mortar that I worked from 9am to 11pm 7 days a week for a year. However, it is important to realize that even hard working people procrastinate. It is part of our human nature.
Maybe you are putting off calls or projects you know you need to do. For example, most of us put off sitting down to put those processes in place we know we need to do. Or maybe you have to keep taking phone calls on a project you need to finish. Fixing the issue might take ½ hour but you will spend an additional ½ blowing it off vs just doing it. We all have the best of intentions, but procrastination keeps us from doing it.
For some of you, maybe you have a slow start to each day. Most people do not start their day with a plan they kind of roll into it. How many nights after getting home do you think of the many things left undone or still needing done? Many times, this comes from having a lack of focus to starting your day. The remedy? Take time nightly to write up the next day’s gameplan. Make sure include some of those little things you keep pushing it off.
Brian Tracy has a book call Eat that Frog where he talks about tackling your toughest thing first so you don’t procrastinate doing it.
Mistake #5 – Multitasking Just Doesn’t Work
In the past I would have pushed back on this one. I was and am the Queen of multitasking. However, studies are showing we can only give our attention to one thing technically so we are just switching back and forth in our brain. By not giving the full 100% to something we are losing all the time we spend doing things half assed and the time lost getting focus back on the new item.
How many times have you been talking to someone while working on something else, then you stop to fully hear what someone was saying because you realize you missed something? This is a great example of where we have split attention. Once you stop to actually listen, you are losing time for not paying attention to begin with.
Look at the type of things that you are finding yourself multitasking. Stop and ask yourself. Can some of these tasks that you try and do simultaneously, can you delegate anything to say your spouse or kids any employees? This is a great way to help with the need to multi task. Not to mention how great processes and have a good calendar would also help with this.
Mistake #6 – Time Killers that are Oh So Fun
So what is your guilty pleasure? Candy Crush? Facebook? Words for Friends? Online Poker? Video Games? Surfing the internet. Or maybe you love YouTube or Netflix. These are the things we take 5 – 10 minutes out of our day to do when trying to escape for a few minutes. Or so we think. In reality we get lost in them and next thing we know a half hour to 2 hours are gone.
Even worse, it has an impact on our energy and focus. Instead of running and gunning at 100 mph we are chugging along trying to kick start that flow we had before we stopped to play. There is a piece of us that wants to keep “playing”. We slid into down time when we really needed over drive!
I’m not saying to stop these things. I love all three Candy Crush games. I’ll admit it. It is my escape when I need to stop the world swirling around me. But I also know that I need moderation. I need to pick the times that I can do this vs letting it impact key productive times.
Mistake #7 – Not learning from the past
How many times do you do something and think, “That should have only taken a half hour not 2 hours.” So many people waste time continuing to make the same mistake over and over or never putting a better process in place. While this one goes hand in hand with processes, it can tie into many things. It actually ties into almost all of the other things we are talking about.
Albert Einstein said, Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
An old mentor of mine use to ask if someone had 10 years of experience or 10 years of the same 1 year of experience?
Smart business owners learn from their mistakes and find ways to not only do them better the next time but they find ways to shave wasted time off tasks.
Mistake #8 – Saying “Yes” too often
A lot of us have a bad habit of saying “yes” more than we say “no”. We do this to make those in our lives, both family, friends and customers happy. We say it because in the moment we believe it really is no big deal and we can do it. The problem with this theory is most of these “yeses” take that precious commodity we are trying to find more of…time.
How often do you fall into this trap? How often do you over commit your time? Do you protect your time and treat it as precious? Some do, but most of us don’t. We over commit ourselves and unfortunately it comes at a price…time.
We must be more protective of our most precious resource….Time!
So, how many of these mistakes are you guilty of during the course of your day?
I know what you are thinking. You don’t really waste large chunks of time in any one of these areas. Please keep in mind, time adds up! Every 5 – 10 minutes helps. Let’s say you find two to three 15 minute blocks a day. That is 45 minutes a day and that can add up to 4-5 hours a week for you.
Your first step is to identify those bigger chunks you gain right away, your next step is to find those 10 – 15 minutes here and there. Your goal, can you find about 8 – 10 hours a week in lost time by reviewing these 8 area.
Word of caution. I know you do not have time to sit back and think about each of these areas…but please know that you can’t afford NOT to find the time either.
And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.
By the way, If you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
And don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me to possibly answer on the podcast in the future. You can leave it via the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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Podcast Website: LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com
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Our Training Materials for Local Small Business Owners: TrainingforLocalSmallBusinessOwners.com
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My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
Why? Helps you invoice quicker and more importantly, get paid quicker. Let’s you know when your clients have opened the email and they even help send reminders. Clients / customers can pay right from their phone or computer. Give it a Try: Freshbooks
**Freshbooks is an affiliate link. This costs you nothing. I only recommend due to how much folks have loved it. I am paid a small commission but trust me. Even I use it. Try it for free for 30 days and see if you don’t love it too!
Today's episode, as well as all of our episodes, is brought to you by trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com. Where we provide free tips, tools and resources for your local small business. So whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for a while and want to learn more ways to increase your profit, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams then head on over once again to trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com..
And if you are Thinking of Starting a Local Small business, over at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com we have lots of free tools and resources to help you get your local small business started. Plus, we now have a more in-depth course to Help Get you going. It has 12 modules, 50 mini videos and 13 downloadable tools a person can use to start their local small business. You can find the link once again at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com. I also have set up a special discount code for listeners of the podcast. At checkout, just add the code PODCAST to save 25%.
See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.
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