If you’re like many entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of your business, and maybe doing well enough to get by, you probably don’t want to lock up a chunk of your capital in rent. How then do you stay on top of your game, even if all you’re armed with is a latte, your laptop and (if you’re lucky) free Wi-Fi?
MANAGE YOUR TIME
The key to optimising productivity as an entrepreneur is personal time management.
You need to be disciplined, set your personal business hours each day and stick to them or you’ll run the risk of just spending hours streaming Channel NewsAsia Insider videos (or more likely cat video clips on social media) for “personal research”.
There are many online calendar tools that you can use to help you effectively map out the hours in a day. Once you’ve planned and allocated your work hours properly, you’ll be able to schedule in exercise time like a yoga class, hitting the gym, or for running personal errands.
Maintaining a work-life balance is important so you don’t burn out while you’re building your business. Best of all, you can plan your schedule to take advantage of off-peak-hours for fun and entertainment that office-bound employees don’t have the luxury of enjoying.
Your schedule should include mini work-goals you want to achieve every week. This can help to easily break down a large project and give you clear targets to keep you motivated as you are starting out.
Another great way to manage your time is to create rituals for yourself. Having a laissez-faire approach to how you use your time is a recipe for disaster. The most successful entrepreneurs follow a fixed schedule that organises their life, from what they are going to do the moment they wake up, right down to even what they are going to eat for breakfast every day. This eliminates the time-wasting that comes with decision-making over minute details, which allows them to focus their energy and time on other aspects of the business that require more personal attention.
FIT WORK INTO PLEASURE
We all got to eat sometime, right? But as much as you can, don’t eat alone. Mealtimes are a great opportunity to catch up with potential partners who may provide unique insights or leads for your business. Make the most of your breakfast, lunch and dinner to network and build useful and meaningful relationships.
One-man operation entrepreneurs who work remotely often lose out on the typical human interactions that office workers have, so planning regular mealtimes with the right company is a good way to prevent yourself from being cocooned in a world of your own.
TOOLS TO MANAGE YOUR WORKFLOW
Having the freedom to manage your own work also means that you need to schedule in time to work on the less sexy parts of running your own business — administration and paperwork. No matter how much you don’t want to, you need to diligently set aside time (at least once a week) to manage all that nitty-gritty admin work. Otherwise you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and snowed under when that mountain of paperwork catches up with you at the end of your financial year when you need to file your income tax.
Paperwork problems can also very quickly impact on your company cashflow or your supply chain, like when you don’t invoice your clients on time or when you don’t pay your suppliers within the stipulated timeframe.
Fortunately, software is available to help entrepreneurs automate and simplify the tedious minutiae of administration. There are cloud-based software and mobile apps that will allow the business owners to check on the state of their corporate finances anytime and anywhere. You can even set alerts and reminders for you to follow-up and check on any outstanding invoices and payments while you’re on the move. This way you can focus on what really matters to you — growing a successful business.
A version of this article first appeared on Channel NewsAsia.
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