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How to balance the demands of running a business

Firstly apologies my friends, it seems my duties as a business owner required me to undertake the dreaded task of End of Month bookkeeping!!  This got me thinking as a business owner we are inevitably required to take on tasks that sometimes hold us back from doing what it is we love in our business.  I find this feeling overwhelming, boring, even somewhat dictated!  Over the years I have even mastered the art of procrastinating just to avoid these certain tasks, but that generally backfires in my face and I find myself missing out on much needed sleep when I employ this tactic.  So I have learnt a few things over the years to keep me from falling behind, so when I need to stop and complete the necessary task at hand it is not so overwhelming.

Invest in good business software systems

Having decent business software right from the word go is a must.  I know it can be hard when you are first starting out everything seems to cost the earth, so investing in decent software to organise your business might seem excessive from day one, but trust me it is worth it.  Nowadays, we are so lucky that software companies like Adobe, Microsoft and MYOB offer affordable monthly subscriptions to their business software tools. Here are a few of my reasons why you should invest in the right software from day one in business:

Professionalism

Looking professional to your customers and employees will give you the upper hand when being compared to your competitors.  Whilst you might not know it, all your day-to-day processes have the ability to impress and make your business stand out.  I have dealt with many suppliers over the years and I get frustrated when one calls me to work out when I paid this bill and which invoices they align to….”argh, I am too busy to do your job people!” This type of archaic business system is inefficient, unreliable and unprofessional, it is no way to run a business in this competitive business world. As a business owner if you’ve identified with this story it might be time for a software update!

Record Important Business Data

When you are first starting out in business you might not think recording detailed data about customers and products is necessary.  It is not until a year or two later when your business actually feels like a business and not a hobby that you wish you had previous data to evaluate and analyze with.  I highly recommend investing in software that can track detailed product or service information, customer information from email to demographic profiles, and any other information that might be valuable to enhancing your business down the track.

Improve your Efficiency

Once we get into a routine with our business processes we feel efficient, over the years we become comfortable with how we do things and don’t consider breaking from tradition.  This sense of complacency might actually be holding you back and slowing you down.  I recently moved my business over to a new accounting system; whilst it took a bit to learn and change over I have halved my time to do payroll and weekly bookkeeping.  More importantly my record keeping seems more reliable, accessible and error free.

Learn the art of Time Management

Managing time, yes I know we hear it all the time! If you are a solo businessperson this can be even harder whilst you are juggling your day-to-day business operations.  Over the years I have worked out a few tactics that help me achieve my to do list on time.

Write a STRATEGIC to do list

Anyone can write a list, e.g. Create a Christmas Marketing Campaign.  Rather than being so generalised like the above mentioned task of mine, start writing your lists into bite sized chunks of achievable tasks.  I know designing a Christmas Campaign for my business involves many smaller tasks, so I need to delve a little deeper when I put this on my to-do list.  I also plan my list over a week rather than a day, I find this a little less overwhelming on the brain.  Remember; don’t overdo yourself with too many jobs in one day, especially if you are physically working in your business. Always allow yourself spare time in case you don’t complete a task from the day before.

Use the right tools

Having the right tools on hand can assist you to be more efficient.  If something is preventing you from getting things done it might be a good time to change this.  It can be as simple as moving your computer to your front counter, buying a laptop or device that allows you to work anywhere, or having files saved in cloud-based storage so data is at your fingertips.

Communicate with your employees

Inform your staff that you need all hands on deck so you can complete your tasks. Ask for minimal disturbance, i.e. take phone messages and tell them to inform people that you are in a meeting or currently unavailable. Ensure your staff have a rundown on what tasks are to be done, so they are not waiting for direction from you (or doing nothing whilst your working hard).

Put yourself first

You are the forefront of your business, so working yourself into the ground is not wise for any business owner.  Overworking yourself can be serious to your health and well being, I myself have been guilty of this in my younger years, which has caused me some grief later in life.  Even if you are under the pump with work, the stress of having to get it all done can actually wind you up making you more inefficient.  Learn to take some time out and recharge, here are a few of my favourite ways to overcome the overwhelm!

30-60 minutes of physical activity

I’ve always loved sport when I was younger, but somewhere along the way to adulthood I forgot that.  Getting back into sport or exercise after a long break can seem all too much, because with it comes the sore legs, injuries and dedication, right?  Well, change it up a bit, join a social sport like volleyball or netball, learn to surf or join a group of like-wise people in a bootcamp session.  The enjoyment of meeting new people or learning something new might overcome those feelings of boring old exercise.

Try Meditation or Yoga

When I am feeling completely overwhelmed with stress and anxiety I find a more relaxing form of yoga, pilates or meditation a perfect remedy.  When I am so highly strung I just want to work, so I find a 15-30 minute de-stress session in my office is all I need to get some clarity. Here are some of my favourite people on You Tube that provide guided yoga and meditation suitable for busy people like us.

Have a coffee and read the Newspaper

Start your day with a bit more of a traditional method.  Turn off the mobile phone and remove yourself from all the noise.  Go to a local coffee shop, grab a copy of the Newspaper and read it.  You might be surprised to learn something or be inspired by an article, or even have a laugh at the drab comics!  These 15-30 minutes will refresh the brain and centre you for the rest of the day…trust me I did it today.

Running your business requires a balance of flexibility and focus, so if you feel you have too much of one of these going on than I would address what is causing the imbalance.  For example if you are constantly be flexible in your business and changing your plans, than stop now.  You need to apply some focus to develop better systems before you are confronted with an overwhelming amount of last minute tasks.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Daily Dose, it is a big one, but it is important to stay on track in business.  I would love to hear your thoughts on staying efficient and sane in your business so please feel free to comment below.

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