As we go into 2024, we’re sure you’re already thinking about the countless possibilities and your new goals—both for your personal life and for your business.
And, if you’re anything like us, you’re excited to get started!
But pursuing goals well takes time, and that time has to come from somewhere. Rather than just adding tasks to your plate as we go into a new year, we want to encourage you to also commit to a few time-saving tactics so that you can pursue both your new goals and your priorities well.
With this in mind, in this episode of Priority Pursuit, we’re exploring six time-saving hacks you can use as a small business owner.
1. Determine what your business priorities are.
Now, this is The Priority Pursuit Podcast. As a result, you can’t possibly be surprised that the first thing we want to encourage you to do is to determine what your business priorities are. Because, in order to use your time well, you need to know what you specifically need to focus on.
This is also a great time of year to assess your personal priorities. If you’d like an exercise that allows you to do that, go back and listen to “Episode 120: How to Pursue Your Personal Priorities as a Small Business Owner”.
But, to determine your business priorities, it’s important to use the “Pareto principle,” which is often referred to as the “80/20 rule.”
In case you aren’t familiar with this idea, the Pareto principle contends that in nearly all situations, 80% of results or consequences are a result of 20% of causes or effort.
In business, this means that usually 80% of profits and growth are a result of 20% of work. In other words, only 20% of what you do actually yields profits, while the other 80%—while still necessary—does not.
As a small business owner or leader, you should arguably be focusing on the money-making aspects of your business—the 20%—while someone else handles the 80%.
In his book Sell Like Crazy, Sabri Suby says, “The 80/20 rule demonstrates that you can and should disregard 80% of your business activities. They should either be delegated or outsourced so you can focus on the top 20% that produce revenue.”
With this in mind, write down all of the tasks you’re responsible for in your business—as well as the tasks you need to add to your list with your new goals for the year in mind. Then, determine the 80% that can either be handed off to someone else or that just doesn't need to be done in the first place.
Chances are, there are only a few things that you personally have to do within your business. And, when you can put your effort toward the things you must do and the most revenue-generating tasks, your business will see more growth, and you’ll be much more likely to reach your goals.
2. Outsource & delegate what you can in your business & personal life.
The 80/20 rule sounds great, but the fact of the matter is somebody has to take care of the 80% of the tasks you just eliminated from your to-do list. You cannot possibly expect to stay in business if nobody is running payroll, taking care of tax responsibilities, responding to customers’ emails, or marketing your business.
With this in mind, you need to determine who will be responsible for the other 80%—whether it be a full-time team member, virtual assistant, part-time contractor, or partnership with another company or agency.
Now, every small business owner's priority list is going to look a little different, but as small business owners who work with other small businesses day in and day out, we have found that most small business owners and leaders can either outsource or delegate:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Legal matters
- IT services
- And any repeatable tasks that can be taught or systematized
Again, if you want your business to grow and to have the capacity to reach your goals, you need to be able to focus on the most important and/or money-making aspects of your business.
And, chances are, about 80% of what’s on your current to-do list can be handled by someone else. So, determine what business tasks you can delegate or outsource and get them off your plate as soon as possible.
In addition to thinking about what tasks you can outsource or delegate in your business, we also want to encourage you to think about what you can outsource in your personal life.
For example, how much more time would you have if you used a grocery delivery service like Instacart to deliver your groceries to you? How could you more effectively use your time if you had a housecleaner come once a month? Or, what if you discussed carpooling with another parent so that you aren’t running kids to and from practice 15 times per week?
Or, are you at a point in your business where it’s time to hire a personal assistant to keep track of your calendar and run errands for you? Regardless of your budget, we can almost promise you that there are things in your personal life that you can either delegate or outsource.
As naturally driven people, small business owners and leaders tend to take on more than they have time for both at home and at work. By outsourcing and delegating, you can give yourself more time to pursue your goals and focus on both your personal and business priorities.
3. Create systems & automations.
We completely understand if you’re thinking, “Yeah. Sounds great, but I don’t have the budget to just start hiring people.” While you should start small by delegating as much as you can to a virtual assistant or contractor, another way you can free up your time is by creating systems and automations.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can develop systems to save time, go back and listen to “Episode 118: Four Systems Every Small Business Must Have to Increase Efficiency & Growth” with Treefrog’s Director of Operations Mary Adkins.
Basically, when you take the time to develop systems and processes for your regular business tasks, you can drastically free up your time.
In addition to developing systems, it’s also important to take the time to develop automations. Essentially, look at all the tasks that you have to regularly complete within your business and do research to see if there’s a tool that would allow you to automate any of those tasks—whether it be through AI technology or more traditional forms of automation.
For example, we use Honeybook—a customer relationship management (CRM) software—to handle all podcast guest communication. Honeybook allows us to set up workflows, email templates, and automations so that we can invite podcast guests to come on the show and provide them with all of the details that they need to know in just a few clicks—as opposed to having to email them one by one.
Other automation tools we love and regularly recommend to small businesses include Zapier for connecting tools and softwares, ManyChat for serving our audience well on Instagram, and ClickUp for project management.
With today’s technology, there are so many automation options out there. With this in mind, look at your task list and do some research to determine what can be automated.
Once you’ve selected a tool, commit to setting it up. Yes, it does take time to set up automations. However, we can promise you that the time you spend setting up automations will save you hours upon hours of time in the long run.
If you need automation suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at our website or on Instagram (@treefrogmarketing). Chances are, Mary will have an automation recommendation for you that she’d be more than happy to share.
4. Hire an integrator or operations director.
Speaking of Mary, the fourth time-saving hack you should pursue as soon as you’re financially able is to hire an integrator, project manager, or operations director.
In other words, hire someone to oversee your projects, systems, and processes so that you can be sure all deadlines are being met, your customers are being served well, that nothing is being missed, and that you aren’t spending your valuable time handling these responsibilities.
Now, don’t get us wrong. There are systems like ClickUp, Honeybook, and Trello that you can use to manage and track projects and to handle your team’s schedules and timelines. However, even with such tools, someone still needs to be monitoring progress and adjusting timelines. And, chances are, that person shouldn’t be you.
Having Mary oversee Treefrog from an operations perspective allows every member of our team to focus on the most important aspects of their jobs and for us to serve our clients well by enabling us to consistently meet deadlines.
For example, at the time of this episode, Victoria is actually not working. She’s on maternity leave. Thanks to Mary’s foresight and planning, we were able to batch months of podcast episodes so that she can fully focus on her family during her leave, the Treefrog team doesn’t have to stress about creating podcast episodes, and we can keep having conversations like this on a weekly basis.
Long story short, we can almost promise you that hiring an integrator, operations director, or whatever you want to call them will be one of the best hiring decisions that you ever make.
5. Use the flywheel marketing method.
If you’ve been listening to Priority Pursuit, you likely already know that we’ve found the flywheel marketing method to be the most effective marketing strategy for small businesses by far and that we are passionate about this strategy for two reasons:
- It’s proven to work. Our clients have experienced up to 800% growth as a result of this exact strategy.
- Once your flywheel system is built, your marketing will essentially continue to work on its own. As a result, this strategy is ideal for small businesses that want to see big, consistent results without spending all of their time working on their marketing.
Usually, we spend a lot of time talking about the effectiveness of the flywheel marketing model. However, we want to focus on the time-saving aspect of this strategy.
Setting up the flywheel marketing strategy does take quite a bit of work upfront. But, the investment of time and/or money is worth it because once every piece is in place, your marketing—like a flywheel—will continue to produce results, even when you don’t have time to focus on your marketing.
In case you aren’t mechanically inclined, a flywheel is a mechanical device used to store rotational energy. It’s important to note that flywheels are different from regular wheels in that flywheels store energy—allowing them to rotate and function from their built-up energy reserve even when new energy isn’t being applied.
For example, think about a hand-crank flashlight. When you rotate the crank, you give the flywheel energy, which it stores. As a result, when you need to use the flashlight, you don’t have to crank the wheel to keep the light on. Instead, the flashlight uses its stored energy from its flywheel to power the flashlight’s bulb.
With a hand-crank flashlight, if you apply energy upfront, you’ll have light for a long time. And, in the same way, when you use the flywheel marketing method, you or your marketing team will need to put in quite a bit of work upfront. Then, your marketing will more or less continue to work on its own—just requiring minimal maintenance.
As a result, when you use the flywheel marketing method, you can feel confident in your marketing strategy; prevent the time and income loss that come with trying one ineffective marketing tactic after another; and focus on your goals and other important aspects of your business.
If you want a marketing strategy that both produces big results and saves time, tune in to “Episode 103: The Best Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses: The Flywheel Marketing Method" or check out our free guide—"The Most Effective Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses: The Flywheel Marketing Method."
6. Create a “someday” list.
Last but not least, to save time as a small business owner or leader, it’s beneficial to make what many refer to as a “someday” list. This is simply a list of projects or goals that you would like to accomplish someday but not right now.
As a small business owner or leader, there are likely countless things that you would love to do and pursue. And, if you aren’t careful, your excitement about a new idea may divert your attention from your current goals and priorities—which will likely prevent you from reaching your goals—revenue and otherwise.
We are certainly guilty of this at times. There are so many ways that we want to serve small businesses and could spend hours talking about the possibilities. But, we also know that in order to reach our current goals so that we can eventually pursue those bigger goals, there are things that need our full attention.
Now, don’t get us wrong. There are times when goals and priorities need to change. However, more often than not, there are reasons the original plan exists. So, the next time you get a new idea, record it in your “someday” list. Simply writing it down will give you a feeling of accomplishment and allow your brain to focus on what’s currently most important.
Then, when you’re ready to move on to your next goal or project, refer to your someday list. Maybe it will be time to pursue something on that list, or you might look at your list and say, “What was I thinking? That’s a terrible idea.” Either way, a “someday” list can help you focus on what matters most in your business.
As we wrap up and you get to work pursuing your 2024 goals, we want to encourage you to:
- Make sure your goals for the year are in line with both your personal and business priorities.
- Use these time-saving hacks to give yourself the capacity to pursue your goals well.
Please know that Kelly, Victoria, and the Treefrog team are wishing you nothing but the best in 2024, and if you have any small business marketing questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Whether you become a Treefrog client or we can simply be an educational resource for you, there’s nothing we want more than for your small business to succeed.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Receive 50% Off Your First Year of HoneyBook
- Save $20 on Your First order from InstaCart of $35 or More
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
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