Startup Business Guide: Managing Time & Staff

Managing time and staff effectively critical to small business

The control of your time is key to being productive especially as a small business owner or new entrepreneur. With the sheer volume of things to do each day it is critical that you are organized and not falling prey to distractions. Since you only have so many hours in a week, I strongly recommend that you create a proper "To Do List" either on your computer or on paper that reminds you on a daily basis, what you are trying to accomplish each week.

Equally important is to "schedule" tasks for a specific day to keep things in priority. When you need to really focus on things such as marketing or accounting work, close your door. The natural culture of a small business is for the "door to always be open". While being available for customers is often necessary as an owner/manager especially in a start-up situation, having staff come and go constantly will interrupt your train of thought and could cause you to miss something significant.

Employees should come to understand that when the door is closed, you are focused on growing the business that pays their wages. Phone calls, opening mail and emails can all be scheduled into certain times of the day to give you better control over your environment and time. Large businesses schedule closed-door boardroom meetings with management and department heads regularly specifically for this purpose and while you may not yet have a boardroom, closing your door to quietly contemplate is equally if not more important for your small business.

Setting a weekly plan therefore, on a Monday morning or even on a Sunday night preceding your week, is most important. Sit down and ask what you're going to accomplish, each of the five or six work days and don't deal with Thursdays matters on Monday. If your plan determined that it was good enough to get it done on Thursday and you've got some priority items Monday, Tuesday etcetera, stick to the plan.

As a businessperson you have to be mature enough to know what you have to get done and then do only what you should do. Don't grab the garbage bag on the way out the door and take it to the back lane and dump it in the dumpster. If you are a one-person business that's one thing but in many cases you see owners of a small business doing things that might seem to be setting a good example but it's frankly not a good use of their valuable time. As the driving force behind the success of your start-up, put a value to your time and ask yourself, would you pay somebody that much money to do this task? So if you are worth $50 an hour, why are you doing a job that you would pay $7 an hour to have done?

It's not about ego or position. It should be completely about what is in the best interest of the business and where your time is best spent. So, delegate, delegate, delegate. When the end of the week comes and you're checking off all of those items as "done" because you were disciplined and controlled the interferences, the satisfaction will be inspiring.

My goal is to help you succeed, Bryan M. Fenske, Founder –


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