Entrepreneurs have to learn how to juggle an endless list of tasks – keeping customer deadlines, making payments on time, personnel. Effective time management is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Ann Puig, a long-time business owner, entrepreneur and philanthropist from Costa Rica, shares some of her most useful tips for managing time.
Literal and figurative clutter can create obstacles and slow down the work process. If the workspace – or even the workload – is cluttered or chaotic – this will prevent business owners from being able to properly address the day’s responsibilities. Says Puig, “Set goals and start small. Find your rhythm and don’t get distracted once you have developed a system that is efficient.”
Whenever possible, turn to software applications. Let the computer or the smartphone do as much work as possible. There are literally apps that can perform almost any task today, all of which can help the entrepreneur stay organized. Several of these apps, such as Harvest, Trello or Wunderlist, provide a range of functions and traits that can be beneficial to any business owner.
Most entrepreneurs want to try and manage every aspect of the business. This can be a fallacy, however, and can often be counter-productive. Whenever possible, delegate responsibilities and tasks. Also, consider outsourcing for some of the company’s needs. Not only can this reduce the workload, but it can also be a money-saving activity.
One of the most tedious tasks of any operation is financial management. It’s also one of the most important. “Even before your business gets started, you need to have a proper bookkeeping system in place,” explains Puig. “You must be disciplined and you have to stay on top of the finances at all times. If you don’t start early, you will be lost and trying to catch later on, which only creates more work and takes you away from managing the day-to-day operations.”
There are several financial management tools available today that take virtually all of the guesswork out of money management. The most well-known option is QuickBooks, but there are others, such as MineralTree, that have more targeted applications, depending on the business needs.
In the event the business is a one-man operation, it might be easy to become distracted without a team of individuals looking at you for guidance. A “solopreneur” has to stay more focused and more motivated and cannot succumb to distractions. Maintain a line between the home life and the work life. “Learn how to segment your day and maintain a routine,” asserts Puig, “You will learn how to make the most out of your time and turn your business into a true success.”
In case you’re getting hindered with unlimited assignments or wind up consumed before the day even begins, it could be an indication that something isn’t right with your present everyday practice. There might be little you can to do make that plan for the day disappear; however, the more productively you utilize each hour you have, the more effective you’ll be at dealing with those rushed days.
Starting a new business – and even managing a successful one – can be fun and rewarding. It’s important to remember, though, that there will always be challenges that need to be addressed. If you prepare yourself in advance, can stay organized and focused, you will be better prepared to overcome any obstacle that comes your way.