Time to get more efficient. Advice for Owner Managers – Updated

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 7/07/2021 10:00:51 AM

The Icehouse published this article in October 2019, after a new report recognised that 40% of an entrepreneur’s time is spent on non-revenue-related activities (WeWork). So we’ve outlined some ideas for owner managers to cut out some of those profit-squeezing jobs.

Icehouse Owner Manager

OnDeck, a US-based small business loans company, suggests the problem could be even worse, stating that ‘business owners spend 68% of their time taking care of day-to-day tasks rather than working “on their business” and preparing it for growth.’ It outlines two significant problems; ‘Not trusting your employees enough’ and ‘Taking on too much’.

All in all, that’s a lot of time “wasted” when you could be making money – but we know it doesn’t work that way. Every entrepreneur knows that time is never truly wasted – as there are a million and one things that need doing.

Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson are united on this. It’s critical to alter your mindset as early as possible on your business journey.

‘My instant response was to think of this as an opportunity. I pointed out that within that 40% of entrepreneurs’ time there are a lot of problems that could be solved by other entrepreneurs. The best ideas are born out of frustration,’ he says.

So what efficiencies and work-hacks can time-poor owner-managers adopt in their day-to-day activities to make their lives easier and more productive?

Try not to procrastinate

Unofficial research indicates that the most successful CEOs are early-risers, who get up at six am or earlier. They’re also happier and healthier. And while it’s tempting to head straight to your device as soon as you’re awake, eating a healthy breakfast and doing exercise not only help focus the mind early on, but also act as positive mood-setters for the rest of the day.

Once you’re feeling human, you’ll be in the right place to check out the dreaded daily to-do list. Go old-school and go over your task list with a pen and paper before checking your device. Then check your inbox because you’ll be able to make better, less-emotional decisions when it comes to answering emails for orders and enquiries and social media for customer messaging.

Set time limits on meetings

Be rigid in your morning activities but more fluid in the afternoon. More energy in the mornings means you’re better equipped to tackle the “tougher” challenges of the day. This might be fulfilling rush orders, dealing with employee issues and meeting clients. Save later in the day for meetings. And on that note…

After you’ve talked about last night’s match, waited for your finance person to finish making their coffee, and eventually found the right number for your remote sales bod to dial in, you’re ready for your meeting.

Any meeting should have clear goals and results. Make meetings more efficient and set your stall out from the off. Meetings have to start at the designated time. If you’ve set aside one hour for a meeting, slash that by 50%. You’ll be amazed how efficient your meetings will become.

Be disciplined about checking emails 

McKinsey estimates that 479 hours of work productivity lost from checking your email five times a day. Make it three times a day; turn off notifications so you don’t get distracted by the minor stuff, don’t include the whole team when one person is fit to answer an email enquiry, and use software that automates your email filing.

The most successful leaders are always looking for efficiencies here and there. There’s the big stuff; such as learning to delegate and understanding how to make multitasking work. But there are also plenty of instant takeaways and top tips from successful entrepreneurs on the web. Take a look, borrow, and trial and error what works for you!

For information on how The Icehouse's capability building programmes, workshops and advisory can help your business, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs.

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Topics: Leadership, Business Strategy & Planning, The Icehouse, Resilience, Owner Manager Programme, Leadership Development Programme