Working in a small business can feel like an overload of stress, logistics and administrative tasks that can cramp the creative flow. But creativity-killing responsibilities are a reality for every SME owner, so what can you do to counter the daily grind? These 7 tips can help you switch hats while keeping your craft strong.
1. Recognise that creativity and running a business are two separate things
Running an SME or start-up takes constant energy and attention while creativity requires space, so this is a conflict point for many creatives. Switching time and tasks to segment admin from creativity is vital. Reflect on where you are spending the most time, and question if there‘s a faster or more efficient way of doing things to free up more hours in the day.
2. See where you can automate and outsource
The future is automation, so start automating repetitive tasks like planning out work trips. Apps like ‘Badger’ plan the most optimised route to see customers in an area and even finds nearby leads. Think about the routine tasks you do and chances are there’s an app for it. More SME owners are today taking up virtual assistants which ticks off organisation, efficiency and output whilst keeping costs down.
3. Maximise technology
Software can be used every day without using its full functionality. Google shortcuts to see if there’s a quicker way of doing something. Alternatively read what 5 apps every business owner should have.
4. Plan ahead:
Whether it’s a small or large project, try not to panic and jump in, but plan first. Understand what precisely needs to be done and how, who will do the work and set deadlines. Failing to do this will inevitably lead to confusion, mistakes and wasted time redoing work.
5. Spend a day in different parts of your business
In small business there’s a lot of freedom and autonomy given to each employee to carry out their role, which usually involves managing a whole function of the business. Because each person has their own way of doing things and performs them day in, day out, they may not feel there’s any reason to change. Learn their process and be open to sharing thoughts and ideas – i.e. tips and tricks to reduce time.
6. Make your team feel appreciated
It’s amazing to see the change and difference in an appreciated employees becoming re-energised, inspired and empowered. Allocate time in weekly meetings for meaningful activities. Welcome everyone’s ideas to build up a successul business. Build a team with a mindset of not only getting the job done but continuously aspiring to refine and improve. Bartercard lets you reward you team without dipping into your budget.
7. Document processes
Use a workflow web app like Asana to document correct processes across the organisation. A documented workflow is great if someone’s on leave, there’s new staff, or to serve as a reminder for less-frequent tasks such as monthly reporting. This way, there’s no second guessing what needs to be done and how.
Instead of getting lost in administration, leverage technology and processes to boost efficiency. Find systems that offer the most streamlined way of getting a task done. If the programs you are using don’t offer automated functions, then consider options to shave time and costs off the tasks you undertake.
Working smarter not harder is easier than ever. And you can get back to doing what you do best.
Veronica Rillo is working as a Finance and Process Manager for greeting card and gift company, La La Land. She has a Bachelor of Business and is a CPA, and has been working in the industry for ten years across small, medium and large businesses including her own.