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HC bigstock-Close-up-image-of-an-office-wo-41874253Useful tips to work smarter not harder

Time is money, and small to medium sized business owners understand this better than most. They are used to working on a budget, and do much work in-house to reduce costs. This is why it’s important to prioritise tasks which give the most value, delegate when possible, use technology and plan your time better so you have time to plan and lead. In our experience in working with thousands of business owners, we’re seeing some clever ways business owners are working smarter not harder.
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1. Use technology to streamline tasks

  • Try using a service such as HootSuite, TweetDeck or Buffer to schedule non-time specific social media posts for the week.
  • me is a great tool to schedule meetings with busy diaries, you simply email a link and your available time slots are visible.
  • GoToMeeting works well when you need to be in two places at once. Don’t miss that opportunity to engage actively in the meeting with supporting documents even though your schedule doesn’t permit you to attend in person. Benefit from HD video interaction and screen sharing to highlight documented information.
  • All businesses need good accounting procedures. There are plenty of add-ons available for MYOB and Xero software to save time, such as:

- EzyCollect to manage debtors

- Shoeboxed to organise receipts and documents

- SmartJobs or ServiceM8 for job management

- Tanda for staff roster scheduling and attendance management.

Kounta a cloud-based point-of-sale software that allows you to control and access reports remotely. Ideal if you are maintaining stock and supplies with a need to reduce cash tied up in inventory.

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2. Outsource valuable but time-intensive tasks

Want someone local for one-off jobs? Try:

  • Airtasker– an online marketplace for businesses and people to get things done, from flyer delivery to assembling furniture and admin assistance.
  • After Dark Technology – a remote IT helpdesk service providing assistance to your staff on your IT systems.

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3. Rent an expert rather than employ one full time

Look at some online services to find a marketing, design, programming or editing solution that suits you:

  • elance
  • freelancer
  • fiverr

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4. Delegate or outsource basic tasks

If you have jobs that are repetitive and/or not time critical, then these are ideal for outsourcing or delegating. An online service provider you could consider is PCC Solutions. They perform routine tasks such as reminder calls before scheduled appointments. You could also consider various industry specific call centres to perform follow up calls on overdue invoices and other high volume basic tasks.
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How to approach outsourcing

Take the time to document the task properly. To save time and effort, outline the preferred procedures and set reasonable expectations so the service provider can quote accurately. Trial their work first on a low risk assignment before rolling it out widely.

Pay a decent price to reflect the job done. It’s not all about getting the cheapest price. If you are going to outsource, then you are having someone else manage your reputation. You need them to be at least, if not more, professional than you. It’s all about freeing you up to work on more profitable tasks, so focus on that, rather than penny pinching.
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Practice makes perfect

All of these time saving opportunities will need you to change habits you have acquired over many years. You’ll need to learn to delegate properly, and it takes time to adapt. The principles of working smarter are not ground breaking, but what is hard is changing them into a new habit.

 

Hanrick Curran Business Advisers are focussed on supporting the development of efficient profitable businesses and can assist in assessing the commerciality of opportunities to do that. Please contact your usual Hanrick Curran adviser on 3218 3900 to discuss this further.

Thanks to Liam Shorte for his contribution to content.

 

Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.