5 Proven Skills to Cut Back Your Working Hours

Many of us who run their own show rarely have time to do the stuff they love, spend time with their children or even keep themselves healthy due to the long to do lists they have to cover each and every single day. This is very unfortunate since many of us might have taken this step to have more freedom and be able to live the lifestyle they have always dreamed of, rather than being locked away somewhere in an office or store away from family and friends. 

The good news is that there are many things you can do to minimize the hours you spend at the office whilst maximizing your productivity and profits. Here we underline 5 proven techniques to work less hours and get more things done! 

Technique 1. Plan your day-goals before-hand and focus on one thing at a time

Many people waste a lot of time switching from one task to another without proper priorities and procrastinating from what is really important - be that making sales to answering complaints. They instead spend most of their day on messaging clients, internally writing emails and meandering meetings.  
  • Despite common belief, people who do not multi-task finish before and do better work
  • Work using goals not time - rather than dedicating a number of hours to a task - try to set a couple of achievable goals a day and work towards them. Allow yourself to finish early if you reach your goals early to keep you motivated and focus, not just filling up your time. 

Technique 2. Automate acquisition of potential clients using an on-line strategy

By having a strategy set in place for your marketing and sales you will save a lot of time trying different things, spending money here and there and constantly trying to decipher a mysterious code which seems to be working for others! 
To create your online strategy:
  1. Analyse to whom you are selling. - Use this super-simple 3-step guide.
  2. Understand how your clients use the internet - which sites they visit and when! You can do this yourself as best you can or get a free consultation with a professional to get maximum results.
  3. Create  a Call-to-Action - Read more in step 3 of this article!

Technique 3. Filter and manage your communication with people

·     One of the most time consuming tasks in any business is communication. Constant checking of emails, answering phone calls, and chatting with fellow employees and clients may take up most of your day or at the very best break your attention into multiple segments, in which you have to start concentrating each time, making momentum and effective work impossible. To overcome this:

  1.      Schedule a time in which you write and reply to emails, return phone calls. 
  2.      Send agendas for meeting so that you stay on course
  3.      Filter sales leads before meeting them and get information needed beforehand
  4.      If you have to do a meeting make sure that you prepare a set time and not an indefinite one
Always prioritize your time effectively. If you can write an email to get things done do that. It is the fastest way and is an easy way to track conversations. If an email is not enough opt for a call and sort this out verbally. Some things are much easier to discuss over the phone rather than by typing out everything - especially if you are dealing with a complaint or something urgent. Only if the above are not enough to resolve the issue at hand - resort to a meeting. Although effective at covering a lot of ground a lot of time is wasted between and going to and fro meetings. So keep them to a minimum. 

Technique 4. Automate the delivery of important information

Most of the information requested by your clients to make a sale is more or less the same between one client and the next. Instead of replying to a thousand questions, verbally or written, create a section in your website or blog that answers the following:
  1. Frequently asked questions or question and answers
  2. Information required to make your sales - specifications, , opening hours, depending on your product! 
  3. Information required by your clients as an after sales - guarantees, instructions etc
  4. Provide clear instructions, downloadable resources
You can even use them as a lead generation and to provide a higher value - refer to step 3 and 4 in this article.

Technique 5. Reduce things that give low results in relation to time spent

      The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the result comes from 20% of the work. This has been coined by the economist Wilfred Pareto in Italy in the early 1900's. He observed that 20% of the land in Italy in 1906 was owned by 20% of the population, and thus also power. He repeated this in other countries and to his surprise the results were the same. Later studies found that in business:

  •      80% of a company's profits come from 20% of its customers
  •      80% of a company's complaints come from 20% of its customers
  •      80% of a company's profits come from 20% of the time its staff spend
  •      80% of a company's sales come from 20% of its products
Therefore, by focusing on the most effective areas and eliminating, ignoring, automating, delegating or retraining the rest will lead you to dramatic improvements.

So tell us - what is the 80% in your business that you can eliminate today? And what is the 20% that creates most result? 

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