10 Quick Admin Tips That Can Help you Run Your Small Business Effectively.
A Great Business can be Ruined by Poor Organisation. Lack of organisation causes waste in time, money, and goodwill if inefficiency affects the service that you give your customers.
You know how to organise your business but common sense isn’t always common practice. Other demands of the business often take priority and daily tasks are easily consigned to the ‘tomorrow’ pile.
Lack of organisation causes waste in time, money, and goodwill, if inefficiency affects the service that you give your customers.
Keeping on top of the admin can be a continual challenge in a small business, especially when you are wearing too many hats as the business owner. It’s hard to focus and concentrate on what’s essential when you are busy fighting fires and responding to customer demands. Millions of us around the world each share the inability to organise. Being unorganised can lead to substantial, profit-generating tasks getting put off, missed deadlines and unnecessary, and profit-sapping, mistakes. Spending the time to get yourself on track can benefit your productivity levels and overall professionalism.
You have no time to plan and prepare.
If you have no time to plan and prepare in business, it’s because you don’t plan and prepare. While planning time isn’t directly attributable to the bottom line, it does have a significant effect. Almost every successful person who has written about business has included planning as part of the strategy for success.
Planning is a crucial part of the business process, as it enables you to have an idea of what needs to be done, when, how and who will be responsible for it. Without planning, your business will suffer from inefficiency and lack of focus, and it is the foundation for everything else you do.
There’s a lot to business planning, but getting started with the basics and sticking to them is an excellent first step. Success with the basics may encourage you to overhaul other parts of the business so that you can get to the point where your business works for you, not the other way round.
Let’s take a look at ten of the easiest ways to start getting your business more organised.
Start the week right.
Whichever day your week starts, take some time either the day before or first thing to organise your plans for the week. It’s important to set some time apart for this because before you know it, it’s Friday, and the to-do list has just got longer. I get a lot of resistance from my clients because they usually arrive at work on a Monday morning and immediately have to tackle messages left over the weekend and the phone ringing constantly. So take the time to plan the night before or the weekday before. You can even take the Monday afternoon – whenever you like. The important thing is to schedule regular time every week purely for planning your business.
Once you have your schedule arranged, you will find it easier to get through all of your administrative tasks. You will also feel better getting it done and not thinking about it.
Create lists of things of tasks.
I know – too simple and you’re fed up with making lists that get longer. To-do lists are an effective tool for getting organised, but you need to get in the habit of working through the list. You can make this part of your organisation session too. It would be best if you made it a priority to work on that list, but you don’t have to do it all at once. You may even have different priority lists. I have a priority list that I spend half an hour on first thing every morning and a non-priority that I try to clear at a rate of one per day.
Split jobs down into bite-sized chunks.
Larger tasks may be more achievable if you break them down into smaller tasks. For example, if you have left your VAT return for the whole quarter and you are now facing the deadline, you could break it down so that it’s less daunting as follows:
- Check you have sign-in information for the VAT return website.
- Gather up all outstanding receipts and put them in date order.
- Check receipts against bank/credit card statements.
- Enter all the outgoing payments into a spreadsheet or your accounting system.
- Enter all the incoming money amounts into your payment system.
- Complete tax return.
You can break the tasks down in whichever way suits you. The great thing about it is that if you complete one part, it leads to you completing the next, and you’re done before you know it.
Keep a detailed schedule or calendar.
Whichever type of calendar you use, whether online, on your phone or a good old fashioned diary, you need a system that will help you keep track of appointments, deadlines, and other important events. You can also use it to write down any ideas for the business. It can be hard to keep a detailed calendar because those pesky customers keep upsetting your schedule! Plan your work and work your plan, and you and your customers will be rewarded with better efficiency.
Don’t just use your calendar for appointments. Schedule admin time, chats with staff, phone calls, coffee time, breaks and of course, your regular planning time.
Stay on top of any data entry.
How boring is keeping on top of entering information in spreadsheets or accounting systems! It has to be done. If you can’t find time and are using the last weekend of the month to do it yourself, sub it out to someone who can do it regularly. Working like that is costing you money.
If you must do it yourself, get in the habit of doing it daily. For a small business, it’s often no more than 15 minutes a day – less time than you spend scrolling through the nonsense on your phone.
Plan time for responding to enquiries.
One of the most damaging activities to a small business owner is to be instantly reactive to emails and phone calls. Most people don’t expect instant responses when they send an email. Constantly stopping what you’re doing to reply to emails can end with a completely unproductive day. Answering emails makes you lose focus from the task you were working on, and it can take a while to get back into it, and sometimes you lose interest entirely. Phone calls need to be answered immediately, but often you may not be in a position to give the proper attention or write information down. If this is the case, use a service.
Set alerts for important tasks and meetings.
All phones can set up alerts. If you have opted for using a digital calendar, you’ll have the option to set an alert when you make the entry. It’s worth establishing a habit of setting alerts and responding to them, especially when they help you be on time for appointments with potential customers. It’s hard to get everything right when running a business so use these automations to help you.
Avoid time-sapping activities that take your focus away from your work.
You know what these activities are – they are the things you let distract you from your planned duties. One of the most common time drains can be social media or aimlessly surfing the internet to avoid admin work that you find boring. Try to create an environment where these distractions aren’t present to focus all of your attention on the task at hand, and you are guaranteed to get finished faster.
Use more automation.
There are so many apps and programmes available to help you run your business if you are willing to invest a little time to learn them. Marketing schedulers and creative apps will not only save you time – they may even make something happen that wasn’t working before.
Accounting apps like Quickbooks or Quickfile (free) can make the admin tasks more manageable. They are also available on your phone, so you can take a second to upload a receipt as you make or take payments.
Take some time to work out which tasks are taking too much time and how they could be made easier with better systems.
Hire someone to help.
One of the trickiest things to growing a business is knowing when to hire help. It’s not easy to find the right person, and it’s even harder to see when you need them. It’s even more difficult to pay someone money from your business when you’re not earning enough yourself. A hiring plan can be included in your planning session. When you start to grow a team, you have to think about the non-profit generating tasks that will free you for profit-generating tasks. An effective way to think about this is to think about your hourly worth and make a list of tasks that you could pay less than that to someone else. It’s my contention that a business owner should value their working time as a minimum of £25 per hour – £1,000 per week. You may not be earning that yet, or you may make a lot more, but if you have no figure to work on, use the £25 per hour example.
When you start to hire a team, you may not want to get involved with payroll and the responsibilities of employing, so begin with outsourcing to freelancers.
Typically, low-paid tasks you could outsource straight away are cleaning, data entry, bookkeeping, social media, phone diversion, credit control, and some parts of the sales process. Start with the tasks you can outsource at £10 per hour, then £15 and so on.
Your business and the way you work is unique, so think about what will work for you and free you to grow your business.
It makes sense that one of the first tasks that you outsource should be marketing. As a business owner, it is difficult to be consistent with marketing. You don’t have to time to promote your business in the most effective and efficient way. You also need to know that you will see a return on investment so that you grow to a position where you can afford to take on help. You could waste more money trying to do your own marketing than if you paid a professional. Read more about DIY SEO.
Find out more about Local SEO Services.
Admin is, in theory, the easiest part of running a business, but it’s also one of the reasons that so many potentially good small businesses fail.
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