By Leon Noone
1. Have Clear Priorities Know precisely what you're trying to achieve in your business. Decide your business focus and your customer focus. Make a list of the most important objectives to be achieved and prioritise them. Deal with the most important first.
2. Stop Doing Others' Work "If you want something done properly you have to do it yourself" is an old saying. It's also a cop-out for small business managers. Avoid finishing others' work. Delegate tasks and responsibility for them. Insist that employees meet agreed deadlines and make recommendations to you about proposed action.
3. Never Say "Leave It With Me" This is a serious time killer. Every time you say it you add to your work load and time pressures. You also absolve your staff from further responsibility for whatever it is they've left with you. If you can't handle quickly something a staff member brings to you, arrange a mutually suitable time to discuss it with the employee. If more work is needed, get the employee to do it.
4. Fix Problems As They Occur This assumes that you have clear priorities. When you do, you'll know whether something is a genuine problem or a pinprick masquerading as a problem. Fix genuine problems as soon as possible. Delegate or postpone pinpricks.
5. Avoid Distractions You'll be encouraged to do all sorts of things by all sorts of people. Stick to your knitting. Concentrate on the focus of your business. Let your staff evaluate ideas in their areas of expertise. Stop chasing "fads and fashions".
6. Crosstrain It's often hard to make time for training in small business. But it's important. Prioritise the tasks that must be done daily. Crosstrain so that more than one person can handle the priority tasks. It develops the staff and saves you from "helping out".
7. Select Staff With Great Care Selection's an expensive business. That's a good reason to take care. But in a small business you want people who'll share your enthusiasm for what you're trying to achieve. You want competent people who also enjoy the "cut and thrust" of small business. And you want people you can trust and who share your professional values.
Conclusion Small business is by nature, unpredictable. That alone creates time pressures. But you don't have to do everything yourself. And you must have a clear business focus. That way you'll be able to set clear priorities and find the staff to help you achieve them. You'll probably never have "enough" time. But you'll have more than most small business managers.
Leon Noone invites you to contact him on http://www.leonnoone.com where you can collect your free copy of his 42 page Special Report: "5 Proven Methods For Improving Employee Performance On The Job". He's published books on staff selection and team development as well as various video, text/audio and self instruction programs on selection, training, motivation and performance systems.
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