How Do I Reduce Administrative Hours Spent Doing Menial Tasks?
As a small business owner, you’re always looking for ways to lean up, lower costs, and generally improve the bottom line without hindering productivity. Unfortunately, repetitive, mundane daily tasks are the bane of any company’s existence. If you’re spending way too much time doing things other than high-level business growth activities, you’re not doing yourself—or your company—any favors.
But as we all know, you can’t conjure more time in the day, and sadly, you can’t print your own money. That said, there are plenty of ways to reduce the hours you spend on menial tasks and still get everything done.
How, you say? What is this magical potion you speak of? Today, we’re going to take a page from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and talk about how they manage to “do it all” and grow their business value at the same time.
Tips to Optimize Business Processes and Put Time Back in Your Day
Delegate Repetitive Tasks
Think about all the administrative tasks you do from day-to-day. Are you taking it all on yourself, or do you have support? The truth is, not everything has to be done by you. Once you give up some of those processes, you’ll have a lot more time to devote to higher-value activities, like bringing in new accounts or innovating.
If you have staff in-house that can follow directions, you can create systems around each task that anybody can run with. Of course, not every process requires a step-by-step procedure, but it’s never a bad idea to have something like this in your playbook.
An excellent way to do it is to go through the task from start to finish and capture a video of it on your screen. Tools like Loom are perfect for this – it’s a solution that captures your process on video along with your spoken direction as you work. Once you’ve made your video, hand it off to an employee so they can document each step in writing. When they’re finished, they own the process and can teach it to others. You’re free!
Do this for any process that you must repeat often and takes more than five minutes to do. What you’ll get is a templated system that you can tweak and adjust as needed.
If you’re a solopreneur wearing all the hats, having a templated system is still valuable, as you can outsource your task to a freelancer, a temp, or a part-time employee.
Automate Everyday Workflows
Process automation is a massive time-saver in any office – but it’s not just for the enterprise. There are plenty of amazing—and sometimes free—apps and productivity tools that make short work of your everyday admin tasks. For example:
Let’s look at QuickBooks, for example. It’s one of the most popular small business accounting apps – but did you know it can track income, categorize expenses, and automate payments? Connect QuickBooks to your business bank account, credit cards, and lines of credit, set up rules to tell it how you want your expenses categorized, and all you have to do is check-in with it every once in a while to make sure there are no loose ends. You can even scan your receipts into the app, and it will find the matching transaction and attach the image to it. It’s an easy task to export all your information at tax time, and if your accountant needs a receipt, just a couple of taps, and it’s there.
Social media is another big chunk of your day. You need to keep your accounts active, your customers engaged, and constantly be on the lookout for great content to share. There are a few ways to automate social media without letting go of the reins. To save time, use a tool like HootSuite to schedule posts weeks in advance. IFTTT is another great and simple tool for keeping the social media love flowing. You set “recipes” in IFTTT and just kick back and let it do its thing – for example, you could set it to tweet every time you put up a new blog or post on Facebook. It’ll drive traffic back to your sites and pages and multiply the work you’re already doing.
Content creation is another marketing activity that takes up a lot of time in the day. Marketing software like HubSpot automates your marketing workflows so that you’ll never miss an opportunity. Every workflow you automate through HubSpot can be tied to a specific goal – and you’ll have all the analytics you need to quantify the results of your work. HubSpot pretty much does it all from blogging to email campaigns, lead management, and digital advertising.
Calendly is a scheduling application that takes all the back-and-forth out of planning business meetings, phone calls, and appointments. Set up your calendar with your availability and embed a link into your emails to invite participants. The recipient simply clicks the link, chooses a time that’s convenient for them, and the event is added to your schedule. Done!
Outsource Your Postal Mail
And how about your postal mail? What a time suck that is! Sorting through the mail, scanning it, filing it, getting it to the right people and places, not to mention all that paper. Outsourcing your postal mail is as simple as establishing a virtual mailbox. Earth Class Mail’s virtual mailbox plans are designed with the small business owner in mind. Simply choose your virtual address, and we’ll do the rest.
When postal mail arrives at our secure facility, it is opened and scanned by trained technicians, digitized, and uploaded directly to your Earth Class Mail account. From there, you can integrate with G-Suite, Dropbox, Box.com, QuickBooks, and more. Your scanned mail is sent to you as a fully searchable PDF file, helping you go completely paperless in the process. We’ll do what you like with the physical mail – forward it to you or securely shred it in our facility. If you still receive payment by check, we can even deposit your checks for you using QuickBooks or Xero.
The Benefits of Virtual Mailboxes
A virtual mailbox saves a lot of time, effort, and money too. Just add up all the hours you spend dealing with postal mail over the course of a year, and then think about all the other things you could have been doing! And it’s not just about picking up and opening the mail – you’re sorting it, shredding it, filing it, forwarding it, and recycling the waste (and there’s a lot of waste). All those hours really add up.
Plus, how many times have you lost a piece of mail? According to some estimates, it costs a company about $122 to locate just one misplaced document. And then there’s the issue of security. How do you protect your confidential mail? Is it in a file cabinet, on a desk, or sitting in an inbox where anybody could pick it up? Virtual mailboxes solve these problems and more.
Lastly, if you’re considering taking your company 100 percent remote, a virtual mailbox makes it possible. We’ve helped so many businesses save money without skipping a beat as they moved to a fully remote business model – and when you’re ready, we’ll help you do it too.