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Top 10 Business Time Bandits

by Sue Leipzig on December 27, 2012

Are you Guilty of some of these Time Bandits?

The focus of the last few articles has been organizing and getting ready for a great new year. One of the best ways to get a handle on your business is to acknowledge some of the traits that disrupt your flow, the Business Time Bandits that get in the way of growing your business and actually enjoying it.

10. Getting to the office right as the bell rings

If you walk in the door at the same time as your customers, you have missed an opportunity to gather your thoughts, check your email, and get ready to control your day. This is a huge battle and even 15 minutes can put you ahead of the game.

9. Mixing business and personal time

Are you guilty of some of these time bandits?

Ok, maybe Outlaw is a bit strong, but you get the idea

I’ve already told you about my client who never misses an opportunity to show me a personal picture on her computer (when she can finally find it).

This is crazy-making because in the next breath, she’s complaining about being so far behind. And she is. If you work with people you like, that is wonderful! But save it for the lunch room or schedule an after work Happy Hour (note to my clients, just let me know when & where!)

If you have an employee who likes to chat more than you’re comfortable with, there are ways to get your point across without offending. Here are some links to articles about this very dilemma: (just make sure you aren’t the culprit)

8. Not having access to files on the road

If you know exactly what files you are going to need, you can always put them on some sort of storage device, but doesn’t it always seem you need the one you didn’t transfer? There are a lot of cloud based storage services out there, some free, some have an annual fee, which will allow you to access your files anywhere with an internet connection. I use a simple backup site and access my files when I need to that way since I don’t do a lot of remote work.

Top 10 Time Bandits: Oryan Consulting

7. Using a fax when a scanned e/doc is way more useful

I remember my first experience with a fax machine – I was totally in awe. (I think I actually thought the paper was somehow teleporting to the machine on the other end) Thinking about it now, I kind of still am, and of course I have the capability, but I STRONGLY encourage my clients to scan and email whenever possible. I’ve walked several of them through the process and now they’re hooked. When you email a document instead of scanning it, it’s available all the time and can be saved into that client’s file for easy access. There are also ways to digitally sign documents which can eliminate the need for a fax of a signed copy.

6. Not having the right equipment/software
I finally bought a laminator because I was going to a local office service center several times a month to laminate a few flyers. The charge per flyer was only $2, but I’ve already paid for the machine and I have saved myself time not having to leave my office. Not all equipment is as cost-effective and if I’m making more than a few color copies, I will still head to a Fed-Ex/Kinkos or other such place.

Not having the right software, or not knowing how to use it is just as bad. Don’t try to use Word for flyers and don’t try to use Excel for your database. Please!

5. Not taking advantage of technology

Skype is this girl’s new BFF. I have saved myself more time and trouble with this one simple *free* online service. There is a non-video option, but the whole point is to see who you’re talking to. Of course, not everyone has a camera on their computer, but more and more people do and will be thrilled that you asked. This doesn’t take the place of all face-to-face meetings, but it shows a certain level of computer savvy, and it’s just fun.

4. Retyping / duplicating data entry

A good deal of my business comes from people who are smart enough to find out if there’s a better way to move data from one place to another without retyping. There almost always is. I just finished importing an emailing list from Thunderbird to MailChimp in about an hour including fixing duplicates and a few other errors. Then there’s the example from my “Portfolio” page where the real estate broker was going to try to send out 45 Continuing Education certificates by typing them out one by one! She already had an Excel list of the names – she sent them to me and I MailMerged the certificates and had them back to her within the hour.

3. Searching for files on your computer

This one was already touched on in the Are you Running a Disorganized Business article, but its worthy of repeating. The file structure on your computer can be easily navigated, or it can cause you repeated frustration. This is so easily fixed and maintained I encourage all business owners to make it a priority.

2. Having anything other than WordPress as a website (or other suitable CMS)

I’m a self-proclaimed WordPress nut, and I can’t say enough about getting your website up to par and make it work for you. If you have something to say to your clients, or you’re always emailing out the same form, a CMS based website can do your work for you.

1. Not delegating

This one is HUGE. You can’t do it all yourself no matter how badly you want to control everything, or feel like no one can do as great a job as you can. It does take time to delegate, but if you’re working with the right people, after the initial transition period (and accompanying separation anxiety – trust me, it will go away) you’ll be surprised how much better you feel. The great news is, you get to delegate the things you don’t like to do, don’t want to do, or aren’t good at.

Susan Leipzig is a joy junkie, Class A introvert, WordPress fanatic, and Administrative Consultant ready to help you remember what you love about your business. Call today to schedule your consultation. 503-805-7309

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