Busy, busy, busy ... And what to do about it! Part 1

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One of the words I heard a lot in December was BUSY ...

Lots of small businesses have been feeling the overwhelm, the pressure of Christmas deadlines and client needs.  The break over Christmas has made people realise how crazy it's been.  If this rings true with you then read on.

This is an unsustainable way to run a business and quite frankly something WILL break, be it you, your health, missing a deadline, not getting the balance in your life you want etc.  So, what can you do about? My top 4 areas to look at are:

  • Time logging
  • Pricing review
  • Client / Stockist review
  • Outsourcing

This week I am looking at the first two, so pop back next week for to read about the others.

Log your time

OK, writing down your time and how it's spent is dull, in fact there's more exciting paint drying somewhere you could be watching, but stick with me. If you don't know how you spend your working day, you can't see where time is being wasted and what you are distracted by. This then means you can't fix it. So, log your time for a few weeks so you know what you do and how long it takes, you can do this manually in a notebook or use one of the free apps available ie Toggl. This will help you make decisions on pricing, client lists and outsourcing.

Pricing review

Look at your pricing ... really look at it. Stop telling yourself that you can't charge more, if you are this busy then you probably can.

If you make products and it takes 4 hours and you sell it for £100 and you sell 10 a week that is 40 hours work and £1,000 income.  Now, if you put that price up to £125 you might find your sales drop to 8 a week but that is still £1,000 income but only 32 hours work ... Same income for less work!!  Or, if you still sell 10 a week then your income is £1,250 instead, which is more money which is great, but doesn't help the squeeze on your time ... but suggests you could put up prices more!! Make sense?

If you run a service based business, then look at your hourly / daily rate. When did you last check it was still right? Recalculate it, redo your benchmarking review (checking your prices against the competition), reset it and look to update the prices you charge your current clients. This will help with attracting the right clients going forward plus some of your existing clients just won't want to pay your revised prices but that's fine, the aim of this is to be less busy.

Hope this is helping and remember to pop back next week to read about client/stockist review and outsourcing.

Rachael Savage