For small business owners with a limited team, administrative tasks can take up a significant portion of your day. Particularly for those in the compliance heavy industries such as financial services and property management, admin tasks reduce the time available to work on other important parts of your business such as providing excellent customer service and generating new sales.
These 8 simple tips will help you gain back hours in your day, no matter your industry or specialisation.
1. Automate payments and invoicing
Rather than spending hours each week on paying invoices, set up automatic payments from your business accounts. Most utilities and services offer a direct debit option which means you don’t even need to open your bank account aside from monthly reconciliations.
Similarly, invoicing can be automated using software such as Waveapps or Quickbooks. If your clients are on a regular monthly retainer, you can simply input the details once and let the system do the work for you.
2. Hold fewer meetings
Before calling a meeting (whether it be with staff or clients) assess whether it is really necessary. Do you have a clear goal in mind? Could it be discussed over the phone or by email? Meetings to discuss admin tasks are generally a waste of time, as the time spent on discussion could just as easily be spent doing the actual task!
If you feel that meetings are necessary to keep order in your business, consider evaluating your existing processes. Provide your team and clients with step-by-step instructions on how to complete a particular task, and implement mandatory reporting for your team. This way, you will not require the face-to-face time to follow up on projects and tasks, but rather can view progress in a dashboard or reports.
The best way to save time on business admin tasks is to get someone to do them for you. Whilst there is an immediate cost, you can use the time saved to build your business and focus on revenue generating activities, bringing in more money in the long term.
4. Use specialist resources
If you have specialist needs, it’s always best to pay a bit more for a professional rather than leaving it to your receptionist or VA. Like outsourcing, contracting specialists to work with your business can be a huge timesaver. An accountant spends virtually their whole day on accounting tasks, a designer spends their whole day on design, and a paraplanner spends their whole day working on financial documents and compliance. Each specialist can complete the tasks with a high level of competence, meaning that you don’t have to spend time checking their work for accuracy.
5. Use templates
In most businesses, contracts between the business and clients or the business and contractors are identical aside from a few quick details. Rather than retyping the same information for every client (eg. welcome emails, instructions etc.), you can create automated templates instead. Most email providers offer the option to save email templates, or you may choose to use a CRM such as Hubspot or Mailchimp.
6. Batch your work
Completing similar tasks together in bulk has a few time-saving benefits. Firstly, once you get in the flow it becomes much faster to complete the work as your concentration is not continuously interrupted. Furthermore, it allows you to tick off tasks ahead of time and avoid the last-minute panic of deadlines. Admin tasks that can be batched include bookkeeping, reviewing or drafting proposals, education tasks and executing contracts.
7. Create a plan
By planning your time in advance, you know exactly what needs to be done in order to achieve your goals. Having a task list ready to go in the morning saves time that you may otherwise spend switching between tasks and reduces concentration fatigue.
At the beginning of each year, quarter, month, week and day, create a plan of you main activities and list them in order of priority. The annual and quarterly plans should focus on the activities that will help you achieve long term business goals. Don’t get too bogged down in detail as these long term plans are likely to change. The monthly and weekly plans should be more specific, with tasks aligned to your short term goals and relationship building. Finally, your daily plan should list the tasks you need to complete on that day.
8. Avoid distractions
It may be obvious, but unplanned distractions can take a huge chunk out of your working hours. Put your phone out of reach or use apps to block social media, so that even if the temptation arises you will not have access for a set period of time. If you have distractions at home such as kids or pets, create a quiet workspace and plan your breaks so that they still have access to you but are aware of your need for space and time. Changing the mindset of others in your home can be a huge challenge, but consistency pays off and you will find that results are much quicker to produce when you have a distraction-free space to work.
The above 8 tips are just the basics when it comes to saving time on admin, however each one will help you gain back hours in every day. What time saving tips work best for you?