Today let’s talk about efficiency strategies as a small business owner. Chances are, if you are finding this blog, it’s because you are a creative entrepreneur who is running your own business. While on one hand, this means you have a really fulfilling job, it also means you have a LOT of tasks to accomplish.
Enter: efficiency strategies.
These efficiency strategies can take you from struggling to keep up, or unable to manage growth – to a well-oiled machine ready for growing success as a business.
So let’s dive in!
This is a strategy that entails dedicating time and focus to work on ONE type of task at a time. We all know by now that multi-tasking is not the best way to work. By staying focused on one type of task, you’re able to be more productive and get into a flow that allows you to make the best use of your time. For example, instead of answering one email, then shifting gears to post on social media, you block off a chunk of time to work through multiple emails in your inbox before moving on to something else.
Not sure what you might start batching in your workflow?
Think through the tasks you do in your business and in your life. Write them down on a piece of paper and categorize them as things you complete on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Any tasks that are repeatable are great candidates for batching! Social media posts and pinning on Pinterest are perfect examples of this because they can be scheduled out way in advance, but are also things most creatives do for their businesses daily.
Another thing I like to batch work on is prepping client gifts in advance.
I send anniversary gifts to my couples and each year I buy all the gifts, packaging, and stationery in bulk over the winter. I then spend one afternoon writing out all of the cards and packing and addressing each gift. Then, all I have to do is take each one to the post office later in the year in the month that my client’s are celebrating their anniversary. The alternative is me having to find time to source a gift, package it up, and write out a card all year long as they pop up on my calendar. Not only would this method be more time consuming in the long run, I’d also be less likely to send them on time, and this would take away precious time from other tasks during my busier seasons.
Here’s one more example: writing email copy or blog post copy. Getting into the flow of writing can be difficult because it requires lots of focus and many people feel like they aren’t the best writers. So trying to write a single blog post or draft a new email for your email list can feel daunting. If you set aside time to write multiple posts or emails, you’ll be able to get into a rhythm and let the words flow. Set aside a day, create an environment where you will write well (put your phone away, turn off notifications, grab a cup of coffee from your favorite place etc), and batch write your content.
An important thing to remember though:
You need to balance batch-working with personalization. Creating a series of email templates to use in your business workflow is the perfect kind of task to batch. But sending those email templates should be done individually and with care so that they can be personalized to each client and edited/tweaked to show that you’re addressing that client as a unique individual. No one paying for a high-ticket creative service wants to feel like they are part of an automated machine response. So make sure to keep batch-work balanced with personalization that fosters connection with your clients.
You Can Even Batch Your Meetings
We are all about working smarter, not harder and you’ll be shocked by how much batching your work can up your productivity.
So, I want you to think about how much time it takes to leave the house to run errands or attend meetings in-person. It takes time and energy to prep and travel, right? Even taking calls from your office requires prep and a pause in other work you may need to get done.
Try thinking about errands and meetings as items that you can “batch” as well.
Instead of scheduling calls or running errands all week long, assign one or two days a week that become the days for stacking meetings and errands.
Schedule calls/meetings one or two days a week or within set times as best you can – be proactive about suggesting times to clients. I started suggesting two specific times in one day to each client when trying to schedule meetings and calls. 95% of my clients are able to simply choose one of those two times so there’s less back and forth. It also reduces the mental load for the client, when they are present with clear-cut options (which I consider a win-win).
Pro-tip: Plan a single trip to the post office each week as part of your time blocking – prep all outgoing mail and make one trip – nobody has time to be running back and forth to the post office!
The frequency of how often you set aside time to batch work will look different for everyone based on the tasks and how long they take. I like to block off two hours on my calendar once a month for scheduling Facebook posts and one hour a month for scheduling pins for Pinterest. That’s all the time I need to populate content for the entire month and having it set as a recurring appointment means I won’t forget to do it. It takes some planning, but it pays off big time to not have these lingering tasks done in bite-size moments throughout my week.
Starting tasks is half the battle, so if I just start ONCE, then I can get everything done far more efficiently.
And remember – batching takes concentration, so eliminating distractions is important to truly having a productive work session. When settling into a task, turn off all notifications on your phone (ie- Instagram, Email, Facebook, etc.). They’re a major distraction and can turn into a time suck as they pull your focus away from the work you’re trying to batch.
And there you go!
A powerful efficiency strategy to boost your success and productivity as a small business owner. I hope you found this helpful. Let me know what you’d like to hear more about in the comments & follow along on Instagram to hear more about upcoming education opportunities!