Make every minute count in a small business

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Work out your “hourly rate” – and ditch or delegate those tasks which don’t earn it, argues one expert.

As a small business owner, you need to think in terms of hourly rates and returns. That’s the message from business coach and author Stefan Kazakis, in his book From Deadwood to Diamonds. He argues small business owners spend too many hours doing menial tasks, and that this is reflected in their paycheque.

Kazakis advises you ask yourself four questions:

• How much do you charge for your time per hour?
• How many hours on average do you work a week?
• How much did you pay yourself last month?
• Is there a disconnect?

The point of these questions is not to work out whether you’re putting in enough effort; it can show that you’re putting too much effort into low-earning menial tasks. Entrepeneurs, Kazakis explains “get into the habit of doing everything themselves and trying to cut costs while they do so…[but] once you are past that stage, having a Lone Ranger complex will be a massive hindrance to the growth of your business".

For every task which isn’t earning your maximum hourly rate (i.e. best utilizing your skillset) you have four options:

Delegating – you need a great team and you need to use their talents whenever possible

Outsourcing – there are many services online for outsourcing secretarial work, and specifically within broking there are a number of sub-aggregators who can help with back-office processing.

Terminating – It’s worth seriously asking whether some tasks need to be done at all, or perhaps just done twice rather than five times a week.

Systemising/automating – perhaps the most relevant to broking; CRM systems; electronic lodgement systems and a whole host of website-based form-filling options to reduce basic paperwork are available.

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