You’ve taken the plunge and started working on transforming your business from an idea to reality. Things are going well, customers are taking interest, new ideas for expansion but growth comes with its own pains. How do you keep up the pace? How do you grow your business and manage the responsibilities that growth entails? In today’s article, Adeyinka Ojo, a business consultant, shares some ideas to enable you deal with time pressures on your journey to success.
Entrepreneurs are a special breed. You have a 24/7 job. If you are like me, your mind rarely shifts from your business. In the first few weeks of starting my business, I discovered that there never seemed to be enough time in a day to get everything done! Surprisingly, I also realised, from talking to other entrepreneurs that I was not alone. I recently spoke with an entrepreneur in another country and marveled at the commonalities in how we work – which is pretty much non-stop.
Knowing that your job as a small business owner requires you to wear many hats and work long hours – some of my best ideas come into my head between 2:00 – 4:00 am! – you may ask yourself ‘How can I keep up with this pace and avoid burnout?’
Here are four tips that you can use to keep yourself on track.
Every well laid plan is usually interrupted with unforeseen issues. Not every issue requires you to drop everything and focus on at that point in time. Gauge if it is a “911 emergency” or a less important task that you address later. Do you really have to reply to all the emails in your inbox first thing in the morning or can you scan through them and deal with the high priority ones. If you can, delegate low priority issues to others who can get the job done. If you can’t delegate, then add it to your calendar to work on at a different time.
Take a look at your planned activities for each day and rank them in order of importance. Things that are a must do should be taken care of first. Use task lists to keep you on track. Schedule structured time to work on similar tasks. For example block out time for sales activities, networking, client service, strategy and planning or email follow-up. Put it on your calendar so you don’t double book yourself.
Entrepreneurs juggle many – if not all – aspects of the business. There are a lot of planned and unplanned events that can affect your day so being organised is important to enable you stay focused. Use tools like an online calendar/diary/day planner as well as customer relationship management (CRM) software and any other business management systems to keep things organised. Time invested in learning to use time saving tools is never time wasted.
Ask for Help.
There really are no silly questions so don’t be afraid to ask. Reach out to fellow entrepreneurs in your network. Chances are they have faced the challenge that you are dealing with or know someone who has. Organize a dinner or lunch club with a few of your closet fellow entrepreneurs and use the hour as a time for collaboration. Discuss relevant topics and share your challenges with the group and use feedback gained to help resolve the issue. Not only is this a good way to strengthen relationships, it also is a great tool for getting advice from people who have firsthand knowledge of what you are going through.
Incorporate ‘Me’ time into your schedule.
Don’t forget to carve out time for yourself. One way to cut the risk of burnout is to take time to step away and ‘unplug.’ It may seem like a daunting task to step away from social media, phone calls and emails. However, taking time for yourself to spend alone or with family and friends is a great way to rejuvenate and rest the mind so you are ready to dive right back in when you return.
In a world of smart phones, emails, social media, client demands and employee management you must keep it all very carefully orchestrated to cut the feeling of being overwhelmed. There is no one sure-fire way to manage the demands of being an entrepreneur but I believe these steps will go some way in helping you focus on what is important and taking your business from strength to strength.
About our writer – After completing his undergraduate degree at Bowen University, Nigeria, Adeyinka obtained a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Ladoke Akintola University, Nigeria. Adeyinka is an experienced Business Consultant with more than 5 years experience in developing and implementing Business Strategies and Change Initiatives for small, medium and large corporations.
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