There is a great article on Yahoo! Finance from May of 2013 by John Aberle titled Simple Systems for Organizing Your Small Business that I encourage you to go read. What I want to share with you is the opening section of that article which the author subtitled Calculating the Impact of a Minor Problem. This kinda drives the whole idea home.
Let’s imagine there is a small problem in your business that everyone has been putting up with. It wastes approximately 20 minutes per day for each employee that has to deal with this problem.
In your business we’ll pretend this impacts two employees. That’s 40 minutes wasted per day. For a typical 50 weeks per year by 5 days per week employment schedule, that adds up to about 168 hours a year.
At an average hourly wage of $10 an hour to make my math simple, without adding any additional labor burden costs to you the employer, we are looking at $1,680 wasted yearly. What is your net profit every year? And what percentage of that net profit does that same $1,680 represent in increased profit if you created a system to fix the 20 minute problem your two employees deal with day-in and day-out?
And we haven’t even discussed the additional benefits for your employees not having to deal with this problem any longer, or your customers who may be impacted by this problem or the reduced labor cost and 20 minutes that could be spent doing something more productive.
Get it? There is a real world – hard cost to every little time waste that you allow or choose to suffer through in the running of your business.
There are thousands of systems that could help you reduce waste, but I specifically chose an example that had to do with time for two reasons. First, because the article made my point for me but secondly because time management is a consistent problem for small business owners that once addressed has a far reaching impact on everything, including your personal success and dare I say happiness.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. If you haven’t, then I encourage you to pick it up. GTD as it’s called has a simple 5-step formula that applies order to chaos. It takes some effort to set up, but once set, you can actually become drastically more productive while managing to reduce stress. These same 5 steps for personal productivity can be used to fix problems or rather, create systems in your business that will benefit your employees and put an end to those nasty time wasters. It adds to your bottom line.
Here is a productivity tool that I personally use and adore – it’s a website called Asana found at asana.com. Asana is a project management application you and your team can access online and through a mobile app. Whether you are a solopreneur or you have a team behind you, Asana can help you track projects and activities, apply deadlines, leave notes and comments and generally be more productive using the GTD strategy that David Allen teaches. And it’s free to open an account for an individual user so check it out and start plugging up some of those money leaks you’ve got going on in your business.
Business automation is about saving time, a finite resource. But it has other, far reaching impacts on your business that can make the difference between success and HUGE success.