Nothing else distinguishes an effective business owner as much as their tender loving care of time. ~ Peter Drucker
As a small business owner, we sometimes feel we are short of time for all the things we need to do especially at the early stage of our business. Many small business owner tend to do it all, from marketing, closing sales, meeting with client, customer service, delivering the service up to billing and collection. We play the role of a “one-man team” either cause we lack capital or money to hire people or we tend to micromanage and give less importance to delegation.
In this article, I would like to share with you what I learned to be as time waster when I started my own business. It is my hope that with this article, you will be able to learn and avoid the same mistakes that I did so that you can focus your time on more important things that can help you grow your business faster.
1 Over-thinking and over-planning
The first time waster you need to watch out is the tendency to over think and plan instead of taking action. As a business owner, we have a lot of ideas and strategy in mind which is good in order to create a product or service. But don’t let the overthinking and over planning take too much of your time and energy that you don’t act on it. Think and plan your ideas and strategy well enough then start acting on it as fast as you can to get into the momentum.
2 Lack of Focus and Prioritization
The second time waster you need to watch out is lack of focus and prioritization. It is common for business owner to have many tasks on their plate but you have to know which is the most important to focus and prioritize. To help you do this, ask yourself this questions which I learned from Peter Drucker:
- What needs to be done which will produce the greatest and most important result?
- Will it be right for the business?
- Am I the only person who can do this?
3 Unproductive Meetings
The third time waster you need to watch out is setting an unproductive and disorganized meeting. I’m guilty of this especially during the first few years of the business. Whenever I set a team meeting, I tend to waste the time of not only myself, but also of the time of the people attending the meeting, because of lack of concrete agenda on what the meeting needs to accomplish. As such, the meeting becomes too long with no much value because nothing was accomplished or resolved. As a business owner, you have very limited time, so make sure your meetings are productive ones. Otherwise, don’t set it.
4 No Plan For Delegation
The fourth time waster is lack of plan for delegation. There are cases wherein business owners tend to do it all while their people relaxing because not much work are delegated to them, the business owner is doing it. This is because the business owner didn’t give time creating a definite system and process manuals which is important in effective delegation. When there’s proper delegation, the business becomes more easy to perform and manage by employees. As such, the business owner can focus their precious time in more important tasks, such as strategic growth planning, other than doing and managing the operation of the business.
5 Not Hiring the Right Number of Qualified People
The fifth time waster is ineffective people management which resulted from hiring unqualified people, and hiring too many people in your business. I have personal experience here because when I started the business, I didn’t pay much attention with hiring qualified people. One of the reason was because when I was starting, it was so hard to hire people because the business was new and unpopular. There were very few applicant, mostly unqualified. But since I needed help, I hired even if they’re not qualified with the hope that with proper training, they can be qualified. But months and years passed by, I spent most of my time correcting the problem with people, such as handling customer complaint, training, reprimanding, and interviewing again. As a result, I removed all unqualified people and became more strict in my hiring. When I hired and retained only few qualified people, that’s when I started to see the business to grow. But keep in mind that when you hire people, make sure you already have a definite plan for delegation in order to avoid confusion and not to waste good talents.
The last but not least time waster is micromanagement. It is a management style whereby the business owner closely monitor and control the work of the employees. You’re micromanaging if you focus too much time on the operation instead of the overall vision and strategy of the business.
Micromanagement is the result of existence of the above other five time waster. Because if you don’t overthink, you know how to prioritize, you have definite system for delegation, you hired qualified number of people and you only do organized and productive meeting, there’s no need to micromanage.
I hope this article has been enlightening for you to know the six (6) types of time waster. Take time to look at how you spend your time in your business, identify which of the time waster is applicable to you, and make a commitment to improve how you manage your time.
For a final note, let me leave to you this saying:
Until you can manage time, you can manage nothing else.