3 Key Habits to Improve Time, Resources and Money

When my business buddy Sarah Hawkins of True North Business Management asked me to join her on the Mindful Habits Blog Tour, I jumped at the opportunity and am honored to be a Tour Guide. Be sure to check out the lineup of my fellow Mindful Habits Tour Guides.

Walking to the kitchen still thinking it can’t be time to get up, but you keep moving. Fill the teakettle with water, add favorite coffee to the French press.

3 Key Habits to Improve Time, Resources, and Money!

Wait.

Put on magnifying glasses because you’re eyes know it’s not time to focus yet, but it’s time.  Pick up the book left on the coffee table from reading last night for a whopping 5 minutes. Crack it open. Glance outside and the gray morning sky is starting to color orange.

Back to reading and hearing nothing but stillness, no nagging to do list, no big goal thoughts. Just reading.

Kettle whistles. Pour water into the press and stir.

Wait.

Press the coffee and pour into my favorite cup, splash of milk and exactly 3 tiny spoons of sugar.  Long sips.

Best morning habit to starting the day even if it only lasts as long as getting the first cup.  Getting your first cup of coffee is precise. There’s a recipe, your own and it’s how you like it. You wouldn’t make a habit of getting your coffee by first making 3 laps around your kitchen island. Once to get the milk, second time to get your first spoon of sugar and the third lap to finish it off.  If this sounds ridiculous, it is.

It’s what happens when you don’t look at the habits and routines you’ve created for your business process. Then you hire a team member and tell them to do it just like you, only now you’re paying them… to make 3 laps even if it could be done in one.

Luckily your team is virtual and they are making their own coffee, but what about work you’re asking them to do. Do you have it dialed in? Simplified, efficient and streamlined. Kind of how you wish your personal life actually worked, but rarely does.

Building habits into your business can make better use of your time and contractors you hire. It means you save money. Get things done better and faster.

What’s it worth in days and dollars? I’ve seen money savings of 30%+ and months of time shaved off total process.with large businesses. As a small business boss any dollar saved can help, it doesn't need to be as big as 30%. Just think what you could do with a couple more hours of time saved too.  See your friend for that lunch date you’ve been planning for months. Catch a movie with your kids or have a date with your partner.

Of course you could also create a few more stellar pitches or start putting together that new opt-in you’ve been thinking about.

Build in these habits and you can even reduce the contractors you need.

Build in these habits and you can even reduce the contractors you need.

Let's get to the good stuff.  Building the key habits.

3 Key Habits to save time, money and resources. Follow them in order for the best success.

Map Your Process

Get into the habit of writing down steps in each of your processes even if you know they will change.

This will help if you bring on a team member so they have something to follow. It also organizes your thoughts and helps you complete the entire process faster (since you're not trying to remember what comes next).  Plus, you'll likely capture steps you forget when you just keep it in your head.

Time to map your business process.  No worries, it’s easy as brushing your teeth.  Use the worksheets to map each of your steps in the process. There’s a template for mapping if you’re a visual person and another one for the text approach.

Take each step and consider it with your critical hat on. Like if you wanted to win a million bucks for figuring out the shortest route, with the same result.

Stumped on what process to map? Start with happens after you publish a post.  Pitching for interviews, guest posts or speaking gigs. Client onboarding and offboarding. Contractor onboarding and offboarding.

Automate

Think about all those to do list tasks that you’ve done over the last month.  Have you done any of the tasks multiple times. Responded to a similar email question. Looked up the same information again.

It’s time to build a process for tasks you’ve been doing frequently so you can automate the steps.  Make your auto email responders. Set up a quick reference document for all your brand colors and fonts.

Once you get started you’ll get the itch to automate every – possible – thing.  You’ll know you love it when you start automating your personal tasks too.

Time to look for systems to replace tasks too.

Use a project management system like Asana, Trello or Base Camp to pre-set all your process steps so anyone on your team could find and follow them. The free versions to start are great!  As your team grows, you’ll be ready to assign tasks, track due dates and have one place for team discussions and documents (an it's not email).

Use a social media scheduling systems like Buffer, Hootsuite, MeetEdgar or Later (for Instagram only) to post and some can even respond. (most have a free versions)

Use a bookkeeping software like Harvest, Wave, Freshbooks to connect your business accounts so you don’t have to manually make entries in that crazy spreadsheet. Sets up and tracks your invoices too.

Hire Contractors, build a virtual team

Hire contractors for activities or steps that take your time.

  1. What activities can be done in less time or for less cost than if you do it (p.s your time has a cost. Could you get another client or develop another product if you had time)
  2. What expertise do you need that would help grow your business that you don't have interest or time in learning
  3. Keep only the activities that fit your expertise and require you to do it. Relationship building, strategy, interviews etc.

These key habits aren’t one time activities you can do once and forget. These are key habits to keep and repeat because you’re business will change. Your contractor team will change.  Review these 3 key habits at least quarterly and monthly if you’re business is going through a growth period.

Start building your habit muscles and put these 3 Key Habits in place: Map your process, Automate and Hire a virtual team.  By the time you hire your team, it’ll be more effective and efficient, plus you’ll save bucks.

By mapping your process you'll know what type of contractor expertise you need.  You'll have the process and systems already in place to get them on-board quickly and actually doing your work.