This is the second post of the “Why You Should Run Your Business Online” series. If you have not yet read the previous posts, head back to the beginning to catch up.
Time is our most valuable resource. With enough time, you can get almost anything done. Without enough time, you will most likely fail.
For small business owners, time is always in short supply. You have a lot to get done and only a set number of hours in a day in which to do it all.
Given that, you must guard your time as closely as possible.
You must become efficient by spending your time on your most important tasks; those that serve your customers and move your business forward.
You must discover ways to eliminate less important tasks which includes anything that can be automated or delegated.
How can you become more efficient and assure that you spend your time on your highest value tasks? By taking advantage of the first “Value Component” of the “Running Your Business Online Value Statement”:
Value Component 1: Time Management
Running your business online allows you to work more efficiently by helping you focus on your most important tasks when they need to be done and allowing you to automate or delegate less important tasks.
Let’s take a look at how this works for Sally over at her PR firm:
Remember Sally’s press release approval process? It was very inefficient and took up way too much of her valuable time.
Finally fed up, Sally decided to take her time back by implementing a new process that made use of online software.
She chose to use an online software application that handles document approval workflow. Here’s what her press release approval process looks like now:
- Sally writes a press release and uploads the first version to the online software application. At that time, she selects the people who should get an e-mail notifying them that a document is awaiting their review. She selects Client A.
- The online application sends an e-mail to the approver, Client A. Note that this can also be a text message that goes to the approver’s cellular phone or PDA. Neat, eh?
- Client A logs into the online software application and reviews the press release. The software offers tools so Client A can add comments directly to the document online. Once Client A completes the review, he saves his comments and marks the document as “reviewed”.
- The online software application automatically sends an e-mail to Sally to let her know that Client A has completed his review.
- Sally logs into the online software application and downloads the latest version of the press release. She makes changes based on the Client A’s comments and then goes back to step 1 above.
- Sally and Client A continue to work through this process until the document is marked “Approved” by Client A.
Can you see how this online application makes Sally’s use of time more efficient? It allows her to:
- Focus on only the important tasks such as getting the press release finalized: Sally knew that she did not need to meet with a client, except in rare circumstances, to review a version of a press release. So she eliminated not only the meetings, but the time-consuming processes surrounding the meetings such as setting up each meeting and traveling to and from each meeting.
- Focus on the process only when she needs to be involved: In the example above, Sally is involved in steps 1, 4 and 5. The task handoff is mostly automated with the online software application sending the e-mails and handling the back-and-forth communications. While steps 2 and 3 are going on, Sally is free to focus on other tasks such as working with other clients or managing her business.
I can hear some of you reaching for your keyboards, ready to fire off a comment to me that goes something like this:
“Why doesn’t Sally just cut out the meeting and use e-mail to send the press release versions back-and-forth with her clients?! She would get the two results you mention above without having to learn an extra application or spend any time or money!”
Stay tuned for the next post which answers that exact question by introducing, “Value Component 2”.