It's about time...
When you google 'What are the top challenges that small business owners face?’ you’ll get a plethora of responses about cash flow, inexperience, marketing and so on and so on. What you won’t see, is any mention about time.
When we first started our small business, our babies were still babies. We were only prepared to work in the business part-time, and therefore our expectations about how much we would earn (like nothing in the early days) and what we could achieve were always linked back to how many working hours we had to physically commit to the business. We did a time audit.
Time is probably one of the most important factors. When you’re juggling a family and a small business, it’s very easy to burn out. We’ve all done those late nights in preparation for the next day, only to go to bed at midnight, and then be woken up at 1am by a distressed toddler with a temperature. Guaranteed, they will always fall sick on the eve before a deadline or significant business event. That shit just happens EVERY TIME. So often, we hear stories of ladies who reach a certain point in their small business journeys and they’re suffering ‘burn out’. They don’t have the mental or physical strength to go on. There’s been no space for self-care, health, wellness, or most importantly sleep. This isn’t a blog post about why we think self-care is important (there’s plenty of experts to tell you this stuff), but what we do want to talk about is how you can manage your time, and most importantly understand the time you have available and set realistic expectations on what you can achieve.
If time management is something you struggle with, we can dig into the weeds during our one day intensive, Business Planning and Strategy Session.
When clients work with us in our Business Planning and Strategy intensives, one of the exercises we complete is a time audit. Here’s how it works:-
1. We ask what the hours (per week) they have available to work on the business. - this needs to be realistic, we factor in school pickup/drop off/coffee collections on the way home/swimming lessons/exercise, plus time spent with the family on weekends.
2. We then list down all of the tasks that need to be completed - this is broken into the different arms of the business, for example:-
Marketing: eg; Social Media Content & Execution, Email Marketing, Engagement, Advertising, Copywriting ie; Blog Posts, Collaborations, PR activity, events + more…
Administration: eg; Financial Reporting, Up-skilling and Learning, Wholesale Management etc.
Customer/Client Management: Fulfilment (shipping orders/product), Customer Service, Returns, Product/Services Development etc.
Stock Management: Stocktake, Reporting, Uploading onto website + for those producing their own products, will include manufacturing time.
Email Management : It needs time of it’s own - in fact, this is highly underestimated in every business (trust us, you can’t escape it!).
3. We allocate time to each task for the week .
4. Which gives us the magic number! Do you have enough time in your day to complete it all? If that’s a yes! Perfecto…but, if that’s a no, something’s gotta give.
Seriously, this exercise opens up a lot of discussion, as it will ultimately lead your business in recognising the priorities and where you need to start first. With limited time and limited people - let’s face it, most of us are one or two woman shows, we want to do what is going to give us the most impact and return. Not only does it tell you how much time you need, but it also sets you up for some realistic expectations on what you can achieve and how long it’s going to take.
Remember, it’s ok if it takes a little longer than you first expected. You're not alone, others (and by others, we mean us) have been in your shoes, standing exactly where you are right now. We want you to know, we’ve got your back. We are here to help you turn those nerves into excitement and your ideas into a solid plan so you can confidently be on your way - give us a call, we’d love to chat!