Time Management for Entrepreneurs

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Time Management can often be a struggle for busy entrepreneurs.  The phrase Work Smarter and Not Harder can be easier said than done for busy entrepreneurs.  The importance of effective time management is to maximize the results with time you put in.  The following tips can help you maximize your time.

  1. While tasks like bookkeeping, project management and client care need to get done, it’s smarter and more cost effective to outsource these tasks to a Virtual COO.  A Virtual COO can assist in doing non-revenue generating tasks efficiently and effectively, while freeing up your time and attention to clients.
  2. Keep your work area organized.  Having stacks of paperwork and unorganized files to have to go through leads to spending unnecessary time finding things you need.  Set aside time to overhaul your workspace to make it organized and cohesive.  Take time each week to maintain this space.  
  3. Maintain a calendar.  Schedule appointments with yourself and block off time for tasks that need to be completed. Schedule when they will begin and end.  Have the discipline to holding yourself accountable to adhering to the schedule and completing these tasks.
  4. Focus on completing the right tasks.  Don’t complete tasks just to cross them off your to-do list.  The more focused you are on the right business building and revenue generating tasks, the more successful you will become.
  5. Learn to say no.  Entrepreneurs do not have the time to do everything.  Learn how to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty about it.  Learn to say ‘yes’ to the right things that will impact and grow your business.  This will ensure you are spending your valuable time on things that will generate revenue and grow your business.  

How To Hire A Virtual COO

Hiring a Virtual COO can be a strategic way to grow your business, but only if you do it right. Trying to save money to streamline your work processes could end up costing you more money in the long run.  In order to get the best return on this investment, you don’t want to hire someone hastily.

Here are some things to consider prior to your search:

Step1: Create a clear and concise job description. Write out all of the job’s responsibilities and include all of the tasks you do on a daily basis that you don’t have the time, skills, patience, or desire to do.  Make sure to include expected timelines, whether tasks are recurring (weekly cash reports, etc.), and other stakeholders requiring input or communication.

Step 2: Determine the job’s requirements. This means not only requirements in terms of experience but also any necessary skills and personality traits. Also, determine what time frame will be given to complete the job/role. That is, over the next six to twelve months, what are the key items that need to be completed and turned over?

Step 3: Calculate how much you can afford to pay. What is it worth to you and your business to help you achieve your revenue or growth goals?  Remember that hiring a Virtual COO can actually INCREASE your revenue.  

Step 4: Determine how you will train the new Virtual COO to get them acclimated to your specific business needs, applications, processes, and culture. Set some benchmarks and productivity goals so you can quickly get them up to speed and freeing up your time.  Maybe start with your least favorite tasks, those that are most time consuming, or the ones that need addressing today.  Whatever it may be, make sure to communicate clearly and effectively so your Virtual COO can jump right in and make a difference.

What To Look For In A Virtual COO

What do you need to look for in a Virtual COO?  Every business executive or entrepreneur has their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s unlikely they possess the skills or the time commitment needed to be an expert in all facets of starting, managing, growing, and maintaining a successful business venture. There comes a time when delegating tasks and responsibilities becomes the most cost effective and business savvy decision to make. For many companies, the best choice is a Virtual COO to assist in the strengthening of the day to day operations of the business. When that time comes it’s important to find a Virtual COO that you can work well with and is a good match for your needs.  You need someone who is trustworthy, has the necessary expertise, is persistent, and dedicated to getting the job done.

The list of qualities to look for in a potential Virtual COO largely depends on the work you are planning to delegate to them.  You may require certain applications that can be specialized to your field of work or, at least, some skills or familiarity with a similar set of applications. You may be looking at process improvement strategies, financial management improvement, customer satisfaction and communication needs, or a myriad of other items that need attention now.

Regardless of the business specifics there are some basic traits to look for in a successful business relationship with a Virtual COO:

  1. Organization - Your Virtual COO should have an organizational system that keeps them on top of the work they need to do.  You should also implement a project management system that you both can collaborate on so tasks and delegations do not fall through the cracks.
  2. Commitment - Your Virtual COO should have an unwavering commitment to you, your business, and your clients.  If your Virtual COO isn’t interested in your business, they’re less likely to put in the effort or quality of work you are looking for.
  3. Communication - Your Virtual COO should have impeccable communication skills.  It’s important to set expectations on how you and your Virtual COO will communicate with each other and your clients.
  4. Persistence - Your Virtual COO should be persistent in getting the job done.  Communicating deadlines and completing tasks is extremely important to growing your business.  

If your Virtual COO excels at these 4 traits you can have the faith and confidence that they are as committed to your success as you are.

Why Everyone Needs A Virtual COO

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not delegating enough tasks.  Because of this entrepreneurs are not able to grow their business to it’s full potential because they are consumed by doing non growth tasks.  Here are 5 reasons why you need to hire a Virtual COO today.

Time.  Hiring a Virtual COO frees up more time to generate additional revenue.  It also allows you time to explore, develop and enjoy your passion.

Reduces Stress.  Having an endless to do list is a distraction from your business. Trying to keep up with the day to day business activities can be draining.  Having a Virtual COO to run the day to day business responsibilities will relieve you of stress and distractions.

Diverse Skill Set.  Virtual COO’s have a very diverse skill set ranging from bookkeeping, project management and client care.  Often, these are areas entrepreneurs are not proficient in.  By having a Virtual COO they are able to focus on their energy on the tasks that better suit their skill set.

Minimize Overhead Costs.  Entrepreneurs have to be conscientious of every dollar they spend,  particularly during the formative years of their business.  Adding full time positions or salaried individuals during these critical years may not be the best use of capital.  A Virtual COO provides the expertise and efficiency to perform needed tasks while minimizing overhead.

Business Growth.  Client Care is sometimes the most challenging and time consuming aspects of the business.  Often times the search for new clients takes priority over the satisfaction of current clients.  The role of a Virtual COO addresses this by maintaining client communication and monitoring client satisfaction.

As the saying goes, time is money.  And more importantly than ever, where you invest your time dictates the amount of money you can make.  Having a Virtual COO fully optimizes an entrepreneur's talent and time to grow the business, generate new clients and establish new markets.