A Matter of Time: What Does Time Mean to Small Business Owners?

To the small business owner who is juggling multiple roles on a daily basis, time is a precious commodity. What causes it to pass so quickly, and what can owners do to make sure they properly manage theirs?

A Matter of Time

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I. Time is Golden

What is the most valuable asset for your business?

According to an eVoice survey of small business owners, time is viewed as the most valuable asset, considered more important than tangible resources such as computers or cell phones.

Time: 38%

Computer: 36%

Company Website: 13%

Mobile Phone: 11%

Office/Storefront: 2%

Compared to five years ago…

- 72% of small business owners report working both longer days and on more weekends.

- 40% say they take significantly less or somewhat less vacation time than they did just five years ago.

The Price of One Extra Hour

One in four small business owners believes that just one extra hour in the working day is worth more than $500.

II. There’s Simply No Time to Wear All the Hats

Perhaps a major reason why small business owners value time most is because they are constantly struggling to keep up with their business’ demands. It makes sense, then, that the top two worries in small businesses—even more than making a profit—are the hefty responsibilities of taking on multiple roles and not having enough time to get everything done.

What is the most difficult aspect of owning and managing a small business?

Having to cover multiple jobs: 53%

Not enough time to get everything done: 50%

Making a profit: 35%

Staying ahead of competition: 22%

Managing employees: 12%

Other: 8%

Taking on Three to Six Roles Is a Norm

How many different employee roles do you fill in any given day?

0: 1%

1 to 2: 8%

3 to 4: 46%

5 to 6: 30%

7 to 8: 6%

9 to 10: 4%

11+: 5%

Accounting? No Thanks!

Of all the roles you fill as a business owner, which do you enjoy the least?

Accounting: 41%

Salesperson: 23%

Receptionist/Office Manager: 22%

Marketing/PR: 14%

III. The Fragmented Office Doesn’t Help, Either

Contrary to conventional wisdom, which implies that with more technology comes greater efficiency, multitasking using multiple devices forces users to split their attention between applications and causes an even greater disconnect.

What are the most common time-wasting pains that result from disjointed communication?

Top Scenarios & Percent of Respondents Impacted

  1. Waiting for Information: 94%

  2. Unscheduled Communication: 91%

  3. Inefficient Coordination: 80%

  4. Planning to Plan: 79%

  5. Barriers to Collaboration: 78%

  6. Lower Productivity Offsite: 59%

  7. Customer Complaints: 57%

  8. Business Trip Communication Expenses: 55%

  9. Trips to “Synch Up": 54%

  10. Working at Home: 42%

IV. Time Management Suggestions for the Small Business Owner

1. Collaboration Tools: Use a unifying communication system that will help sync processes and boost productivity.

2. Know Your Priorities: Every morning, pick the most important tasks that must get done or started that day and work toward these goals. Ignore the rest until they are completed.

3. Take Advantage of Online Platforms: An ADP survey revealed that half of small business owners say that if they could save time on administrative functions such as payroll and travel planning, they could devote more time to running the business. Luckily, many of these tasks can be automated online through services dedicated to making the business owner’s life easier.

4. Integrate Mobile Apps into Your Life: In the digital age, mobile apps are invaluable to small businesses looking to tame costs and save time, because they help owners conduct business from anywhere. 78 percent of small business owners believe their company’s use of mobile apps saves time, and a whopping 100 percent of surveyed one-person businesses using apps say they’ve saved time.

5. Use Technology with Moderation: Yes, smartphones are great for small business, but beware of becoming burnt out on multiple device usage. Designate specific times during the day to check your mobile devices, but don’t always have your hands full. Remember: multitasking does not always result in greater productivity.

Sources: Evoice, SBE Council, Insignia

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