How to work effectively as a small business owner

By Henry Brown

There’s little that is easy about running a business, but you’d hope that if you could just work hard and get a stroke of luck, then everything would work out well. Alas, that’s not always the case — it’s always important to remember that the number of hours you work isn’t what’s important. It’s how much work you get done during those hours that counts. As such, the aim shouldn’t be to push yourself to the limit: it should be to work effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, this approach will allow you to get more work done, and to work well for a longer period of time (since the risk of burnout will be reduced).

Below, we take a look at a few tried and tested tips that all small business owners will want to incorporate into their operations.

Have a target

You wouldn’t begin walking in any which direction and hope to reach the top of the mountain. You’d only make it there if you’d planned a route. The same principle can be applied to your business — if you want to hit the heights that you know you’re capable of, it’s best that you set a target. This can help you to stay focused and also raise standards and expectations, both for you and your staff. It’ll also prevent stagnation and procrastination from setting in since you’ll always have something that you’re trying to reach.

Know when you work best

We tend to adopt the traditional working habits as a default. However, there are many reasons why the normal working day is considered to be 9 – 5, and not much of it has to do with productivity. While there’s a chance that those hours will be when you work best, if they’re not, then look at working at different times. It’s your business! There will be some incentive to overlap some of your hours with the hours that everyone else works, but the priority should be your preferred working schedule. If you find it impossible to work well first thing in the morning, or can’t face working so many hours in a row without a break, then don’t. It’ll be much easier to work well when it comes more effortlessly.

Keep set hours

However, once you’ve figured out your ideal working time, it’s important that you stay committed to those hours. We work best when we’re able to get into the flow of work, and a fundamental part of achieving that flow is having a set routine. So whenever you decide to work, do it every day (or rather, Monday to Friday).

Conduct a self-analysis

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably got some issues with procrastination. Alas, although most people suffer from this affliction, the causes and symptoms are unique to each individual. As such, part of your journey towards working better and more effectively will be to engage in self-analysis, and figure out what’s holding you back. You can take this analysis even further, and figure out the aspects of your business that hold you back. For instance, it could be that you’re trying to do too many tasks yourself, or that your IT setup doesn’t work as efficiently as you thought it did. It’s much easier to fix problems once you know what they are!

Hiring staff

As we just mentioned, if you’re trying to do everything yourself, then it won’t be long before you fall into productivity problems. You’re going to have some of the skills needed to work well, but you’re not going to have all of them. And even if you did, it’s just not possible to do everything — you’d be spreading yourself too thin. You’d only be able to give each task 10% of the output that’s required. Happily, there’s a handy solution to this problem: hiring staff! Bringing people on board can help to take your business to the next level, and also make it more fun. Though it’s important that you’re hiring the right staff — there are good and bad employees, after all.

What to outsource

Of course, it’s unlikely that you can hire a member of staff for every task that must be handled. There just won’t be enough money in the budget for that. There is another way, however — outsourcing tasks. This is the process of handing over your repetitive, complicated, and time-consuming tasks to a third-party company, who can do the task for you. Instead of spending time trying to get your accounting tasks under control, you can hand the job over to a certified, external accountant. For your calls, you can make the most of a live answering service; it’ll free up time that would otherwise be spent on the phone. There’s any number of tasks that you can outsource, so take a look at what you need doing, and find a company that can help you.

Effective marketing

All business owners know that they must dedicate a fair amount of time to their marketing. What they don’t always know is that some marketing tactics are better than others. And even ones that were once effective may be outdated in 2020. As such, it’s recommended that you try to stay on top of the latest marketing news and ideas, and especially the ones related to your industry. You’re going to spend a lot of time, money, and energy developing your marketing campaigns, so you want them to be as effective and successful as possible.

Look after yourself

Finally, remember that one of the biggest factors when it comes to working well will be, well, you! If you’re well rested, full of energy, and feeling good within yourself, you’ll find it a lot easier to push your company forward. If, on the other hand, you’re continually pushing yourself to the limit and you’re not getting the rest that you need, you’ll be continually on edge. If you ever feel like you’re getting close to running on empty, take a break, and build up your energy again.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover