Here are five ways to make more time for your small business and increase your productivity.
While having a small business may be something you have always dreamed of — planning your own working hours, being flexible, living wherever you want in the world, the list goes on — it is, nonetheless, a difficult undertaking. Having your own venture may feel like you need to excel in all aspects of your business, from budgeting to hiring staff.
However, that kind of mindset might just be the one that makes you feel like you have no time left on your hands. Are you working a solid 16 hours a day without the impression that you are getting anything done? Do you keep seeing your to-do list getting longer and yet have no clue how to even get through half of the points? If so, you may feel like you just need more time. What if, instead, we found ways to reduce your workload and increase your output? Here are five ways to make more time for your small business and to increase your productivity:
1. Planning, planning, planning
One of the main mistakes many small business owners make is trying to work on everything, all at once and without a certain order to follow. The problem with this approach is that while certain things might indeed get done, there is no long-term planning. This is a mistake, because you aren't able to plan how you will manage all the various small items to get done throughout the day as well as over the next few weeks. You need to plan more! With specific targets, milestones or goals to achieve, you are able to break down the parts of your work that take the most time, and hence, you can figure out what needs to be rearranged.
2. Use block scheduling
While planning, you may realize the following: While you thought you were working 16 hours a day, you were actually busy getting distracted every few minutes by a new email coming in, a Voxer Voice message or something along those lines. These distractions add up. As such, using block scheduling can help you avoid them. Block a few hours at a time (one and a half to two hours is usually a good amount) and stay focused on this specific task throughout the entirety of the countdown. This will save you time that you usually spend being distracted!
3. Outsource time-consuming tasks
Next, think about the tasks that you are not very good at or knowledgeable about. As mentioned earlier, we may feel like we need to constantly be doing everything on our own, at least until we can afford full-time staff. Right? Wrong! Doing it all on your own takes a lot of time away from you that could be spent on scaling and growing. Outsource the most time-consuming tasks you have, such as hiring a virtual assistant or finding talent on websites such as Fiverr.com and Upwork.com.
4. Simplify and streamline your marketing
One of the main activities that can take a lot of your time is marketing. The reason for this is simple: If it is done step-by-step or post-by-post, you may feel like you are spending hours on social media every day trying to market your business. Instead, free up some of your time by creating a content calendar and batching your content. This way, you are not spending valuable minutes and hours on apps as it will all be done in advance.
5. Take time to rest
Finally, and yes, this may be a bit cliché, you need to schedule some time to rest. While solopreneurs, founders and entrepreneurs love to work, we also struggle to stop ourselves from overworking ourselves quite often. The result? We end up burned out and can't stay focused on a task — and that's if we can even get ourselves started on it in the first place. With this in mind, you need to take the time to reboot yourself once in a while.
Image credit: Image from Pixabay.com
A majority of professionals claim they want to start their own business, but an extraordinarily small percentage actually do. Excuses include family obligations, bad timing, risk aversion, not enough savings, etc., but the most common excuse I hear is that they're just waiting for the right idea to "come to them." We have a cartoonish fantasy that one day a lightbulb will flash in our heads as we strike pure inspiration for an idea so original or so nuanced that we feel utterly compelled to become an entrepreneur in order to bring it to market. While lightbulb moments may exist for some select entrepreneurs, for most great product or business concepts out there, you need to be highly intentional in how you chart a path to uncovering them.
I founded an innovative and profitable small business that took me all the way to Shark Tank, Forbes 30 under 30 and over $1 million in revenue in just a few years. The idea didn’t just come to me. Instead, it took four months of highly organized and intentional time to find it. If you want to find your startup idea, here are the steps to follow:
1. Commit to an intended outcome, a schedule and a timeline
Start by making your ideation process have a beginning and an end, along with a specific schedule of working sessions. My business partner and I committed to a six-month period of meeting at least twice a week in the evening for 5 hour blocks on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our intended outcomes were a product concept with a strong enough G2M plan that we felt confident enough in to fully commit to. If we still didn’t have our idea in six months or weren’t feeling confident in the one we had, then we would scrap it and call it quits on this round. If you don’t set a strict end date, you risk losing the sense of discipline that comes hand in hand with urgency.
2. Get your family on board with the commitment
Don’t hustle in the dark. From day one of your commitment, share the plan and time investment with your family, and emphasize why this is so important to you. Most likely, they’ll cheer you on and be some of your biggest advocates. Not being open about your ideation journey will likely lead to resentment. If your family is loving enough to let you put all this extra time towards your idea, be sure to pick up the slack by taking on additional chores around the house or planning a few extra date nights. It never hurts to show them how much you appreciate their support.
3. Form guardrails derived from your interests, expertise and appetite for risk
Start by defining soft and hard guardrails to help narrow your ideation path. My co-founder was an architect, and we both loved woodworking. Okay … so maybe something made out of wood. We both were avid conservationists, so maybe something to do with nature. We weren’t eager to invest a lot of money upfront in the business, so maybe a product that could do well on a crowdfunding platform. Most were soft guardrails that played to our strengths and areas of interest, which typically lead to better outcomes anyway, but at the end of the day, the purpose of putting in guardrails is to focus your ideation. You can’t boil an ocean, but maybe you can boil a pool full of seawater. I highly suggest spending your first few meetings crafting these guardrails before diving into open brainstorming.
4. Embrace diverse brainstorming techniques and immerse yourself in stimulating environments
Don’t just sit in a room and stare at a screen. Instead, research and adopt a wide variety of brainstorming techniques (i.e., cocktail mixers, stepladder, rolestorming, etc.) all while sticking to the four key roles of brainstorming: focus on quantity, withhold criticism, welcome wild ideas, and combine ideas for more ideas. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with a wide array of stimuli. We would spend hours at a time strolling down the aisles of Walmart just mentally mashing different products together in our heads. Walmart is a candy store for product brainstorming.
5. Iterate, challenge, evolve
Once you’ve amassed a number of possible ideas, you enter the evaluation phase. This is where you can start getting critical with your ideas — evaluate how they align to your guardrails, use matrices to determine feasibility rankings, etc. Pay attention to your excitement during this phase. Which ideas do you find yourself advocating for the most? Why? Even if some ideas have more challenges than others, your passion will fuel you and help you overcome them when you later decide to bring it to market.
6. Once you commit, don’t doubt yourself
Once you come around to that idea that you’ve poked enough holes in to the point that you are feeling really confident, just go for it. Remember, you didn’t decide to become an entrepreneur just off of a single fleeting lightbulb moment … you just invested months of highly intentional time to come to a well-vetted idea. Have confidence in that, and take it to the next stage.
Stop waiting for your lightbulb idea to just come to you, go out there and find it. What are you waiting for?
Image Credit: Photo by Pixabay
Recent numbers tell the story of data breaches and SMBs. The Allianz Risk Barometer says global businesses are more worried about cyber risks than even the pandemic.
So what does an enterprise do? How do they protect their hard-earned assets from a cyber attack? Or a data breach that costs?
Here are some more small business data breach statistics to consider. Cyber insurance is the answer and here’s everything you need to know to protect your business.
What is Cyber Insurance?
These policies look after your SMBs’ cyber liability for data breaches when sensitive information like customers’ credit card numbers get hacked and stolen. They look after recovering from data loss too. And repairing a computer system after cyber attacks. The cost of a data breach can be serious.
The public relations costs can be big after a cyber event. That’s why this kind of insurance company will let customers know when there has been a breach. Here are some business insurance benefits you won’t want to overlook.
Why Cyber Insurance for Small Business is so Important
Cyber coverage is vital because you don’t want to be swamped by legal fees if there’s a hack. And because the best way to protect businesses is to be proactive when it comes to cyber threats. Like a data breach.
Here are five more reasons you need to guard against these cyber risks with comprehensive policies.
What is Covered by a Cyber Insurance Policy?
Wondering about the specifics and the fine print when it comes to what a cyber insurance policy covers? Here are five of the big ones.
Privacy Liability Coverage
Good cyber security here defends against consumer class action litigation.
Network Security From a Cyber Attack
Cyber security insurance covers you in the event of a network security failure. Like ransomware, data breaches and other issues resulting from social engineering attacks. And other types of cyber extortion. It can also cover first-party costs too.
Insurance carriers and a good insurance broker suggest this when you advertise online. Covers costs when there’s intellectual property infringement.
Network Business Interruption Coverage
A system failure from bad software is covered. Get third-party coverage by a decent indemnity company when you’ve been hacked.
Errors and Omissions
Covers you when a cyber incident causes you to breach a contract.
What is Not Covered by Cyber Liability Insurance?
Like with traditional insurance policies, cyber insurers don’t cover everything. Here are some items left out.
How Much is Cyber Insurance Cover?
What cyber insurance covers is important, but it needs to be balanced with cyber insurance costs. There will be differences based on options and business size. But a respected company like Insureon brings the median cost in at $140 per month.
There are lots of variances. However, you can get $25,000 worth of coverage for anywhere from $25 to $50 monthly.
How Much Cyber Insurance Cover Should Small Businesses Have?
How much cyber insurance coverage do you need? Enough to cover a small business from cyber exposures if:
Many small businesses spend around $1 million. Check out these types of business insurance.
How to Choose the Right Cyber Insurance for Your Business
Here are some tips for choosing the right insurance company. Remember the cyber insurance market has a lot to sort through.
Understand Third-Party Risk
A good insurance provider deals with supply chain vulnerabilities. Check out their underwriting guidelines.
Ask About Coverage
Get the details on the cyber insurance policies. Most cover both first-party coverage and third-party damages. Ask what happens if there’s a regulatory investigation.
Find Out About Exclusions
Ask an insurance company about the term “avoidable risks” and how that applies.
Ask About Response Times
You need to be fast when there’s been a breach.
How to Get Get Cyber Risk Insurance for Your Small Business
Understanding how to get a cyber insurance quote starts with following these steps. Beyond price and policies, you need to check the following cyber security boxes.
Remember to look for what are called silent cyber clauses in traditional policies.
These are security controls. To find out what kind of data was compromised.
To resolve claims from things like state and federal notification breaches due to technology errors.
ID Theft Repair/Credit Monitoring Expenses
These services should be offered to affected clients. Include data restoration.
There’s more to think about than just regulatory investigations. Checking this box will help with class-action lawsuits.
Covering all the bases is important when you’re looking at this type of insurance.
Make sure you have all of the above in a cyber liability insurance quote.
Is data breach insurance the same as cyber insurance?
No. There is a difference you need to be aware of. Cyber insurance looks after cyber risk from first-party and third-party incidents. Data breach insurance covers damage to data.
You should use local SEO, a search engine optimization technique, to appear in local search results on Google. It doesn't matter what products or services you offer; your business can benefit from local SEO. In this article you are going to learn how to do local SEO and how Google My Business works.
Local SEO in a nutshell
Do you want to know how to do local SEO marketing properly? If the answer is yes, let's have a look at local SEO in a nutshell.
To figure out how to do local SEO marketing, we need to look at how Google My Business works. When you enter a key-phrase, for example "a pharmacy open now" in the search engine, the organic content may be shown after local results. Google My Business entries appear at the top of local search results when it detects local search intent. Besides ratings, users can also see the customer reviews, which have a great impact on their decision-making process.
Which businesses should use local SEO?
All businesses that have customers from a particular area who are looking to gain new customers searching for products or services in that area need to implement local SEO. It is technique that is particularly relevant to businesses that serve their local area such as estate agents, pharmacies, gardeners or restaurants owners.
It's really important that the information that is visible in local search results is complete – it should contain the business name, phone number, address, website, photos, videos, star ratings, or customer reviews. Customers who can see all this information are more likely to use your service or buy something from you if they can see what you actually offer.
Lack of a website doesn't mean you can't appear in the Map Pack – the information presented is collected from your Google Business Profile listing. It may be the compilation of information from the web or users' suggestions.
How to choose the right local SEO agency?
There is a list of characteristics to look for when searching for a local SEO agency. However, the final decision about which local SEO company will meet your requirements may not be easy, with the large number of them on the market.
You can choose an agency with a focus on local SEO, or an agency with a broader focus, able to offer advice on other marketing channels too. If you choose a local SEO specialist, they will provide you with creative strategies in your local search campaigns. That means you're unlikely to get any help with other parts of your online marketing. If you have a limited budget, it might be better to invest in an agency that can offer help with other channels too, like social media, advertising, or email.
It's helpful if you choose a local SEO company with experience of your type of business so they have an in-depth understanding of your business upfront. To check if the SEO company is good at their job, make sure they rank well for a large number of keywords. They can't prove their skills if they're not present in local or organic search themselves.
Check reviews and ratings while looking for a local SEO agency. They can give you important information about their likely performance, strengths and weaknesses. Any local SEO agency should be able to provide you with references and work samples.
Local SEO – pros and cons
Now you know what local SEO is, which businesses it might benefit and how to choose a local SEO business, let's talk about Google My Business. Taking a look at the pros and cons can help you decide whether or not you should invest in local SEO services.
Creating local content and clearly demonstrating a local intent online can help you gather local interest. Local SEO also generates local traffic that could convert into profits – many people still prefer to support local businesses, rather to paying larger, corporate companies for the same products or services.
Adding local SEO services to your marketing efforts will swell your marketing budget. Another consideration is that it is not a one-off cost. Local SEO should be done monthly so that you remain visible to your customers. Another big consideration is that local SEO takes time, so don't expect instant results.
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.