Written by Jessica Moser, Senior Vice President of Small Business Solutions at MetLife.
Are you too busy? If you’re a small business owner, you probably are. According to recent research from MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, you likely work far longer hours than the average American and sleep far less than the recommended eight hours per night.
During those long working hours, you spend 5.6 hours working with clients or customers, another 3.7 managing staff, and about four hours on administrative tasks.
Wait! Four hours a day is an awful lot of time for the average small business owner to spend on administrative tasks. If you can cut that down, you’ll be able to invest time where you choose to – growing your business, spending more time with your family or friends, or even getting a little more sleep.
One proven differentiator between the most successful and less successful small businesses is their use of technology. Better use of tech can help you manage time, increase efficiencies throughout your business, and feel better about your overall business health.
Here are some ways that you can use tech to your advantage. It can seem overwhelming to start, but you can learn to use most technology through video and training sites such as YouTube or Lynda.com.
Payments. You can eliminate paperwork and trips to the bank, as well as take payments anywhere at any time, by using mobile payment technology, such as Square or Paydiant. For a small fee per payment, you can also make transactions from anywhere.
Digital marketing. Nearly everyone researches online before they make a call or visit a brick-and-mortar location, so having a presence online is a business necessity, especially a website and social media accounts. But over a quarter of small businesses have no social media presence at all, so this is an opportunity to differentiate your business without spending a ton of time:
- Websites: There are low cost plug-and-play website platforms you can subscribe to, such as Wordpress or Squarespace. They’re simple to get up and running and easy to maintain.
- Social Media: You don’t have to spend all day writing tweets and posting updates on Facebook. If you use a scheduling app like Buffer, you can plan and write your social media posts ahead of time and schedule them to go out.
Delegating tasks. Take a look at all the tasks you do; can you separate them into what is important for you - as the business owner - to do, and what someone else can do – and maybe even do better, since they’re experts? If you don’t have staff you can delegate to, you can use sites such as UpWork.com or Guru.com to find freelance talent at a low cost to help you delegate tasks that will help your business, without you having to be in the middle of it all.
Take advantage of some of this advice and you’ll start to take back some of those 4 hours! Then, you can redirect your efforts from routine tasks to doing what you want to do, whether that’s growing your business, or enjoying more free time.