Tag Archives: time management

Cultivate Your Leadership Skills

Followership

As a small business owner, strong leadership skills make or break your company’s chance of success. Without them, you risk missing your goals and not gaining the cooperation you need from employees and project partners.

Not everyone is a born leader but with some effort, you can develop essential and improve upon essential leadership skills.

Here are several leadership skills you’ll want to hone as you build your business:

 

  • Listening

As important as it is to share your guidance and thoughts, listening to what others have to say is equally—if not more—important. Your customers and the people who work with you have valuable insight that can help you make decisions that can improve your business. Want to learn how to be a better listener? Forbes has some helpful tips for strengthening your listening skills.

 

  • Communication

The importance of expressing your goals, guidance, and vision clearly and professionally should never be underestimated—whether through email, phone, face-to-face interactions, or in presentations. Improving communication skills requires a multi-focused effort involving attention to: organizing your thoughts, keeping emotions in check, refining grammar and spelling, and more. This list of 17 tips offers ways you can give your communications skills a boost.

 

  • Time management

Without a grasp on how to effectively manage your time, critical tasks and responsibilities can fall through the cracks. The keys to time management are being organized and knowing how to prioritize your to-do’s. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for managing time, these six tips provide a good foundation upon which to improve your ability to make the most of your time.

 

  • Delegation

Even if you’re a solopreneur, you can’t always do everything on your own. Whether you have employees or opt to use subcontractors, there will be tasks and responsibilities that should be done by someone other than yourself, so you have time to focus on critical business-building objectives.

While this Harvard Business Review article addresses delegation from the perspective of larger companies, it provides many takeaways that small business owners can consider for improving their delegation skills.

 

  • Motivation and self-discipline

Leading also requires maintaining enthusiasm and embodying the drive to accomplish what needs to be done. When you’re the boss, you’re responsible for motivating yourself and staying on track. Contributing editor Geoffrey James at Inc.com has shared an interesting perspective and helpful tips to help entrepreneurs strengthen self-motivation skills. This thought from his article might help motivate you to become more self-motivated: “Use self-motivation to make yourself successful at life rather than just at work.”

 

Don’t believe “leaders are born not made.” While leadership is easier for some small business owners than others, you can get better at it with effort and practice. If you need guidance on ways to become a stronger leader, contact us about talking with a SCORE mentor. Our volunteers have a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of starting and growing a business.

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Five Tips for Uncluttering Your Inbox and Boosting Productivity

Emails

According to a recent eMarketer blog post, Adobe research in July 2015 found that U.S. business executives spend 3.2 hours daily checking work email on weekdays. They spend almost as much time checking personal email: an average of 3.1 hours each day. As a small business owner, it’s likely that you also spend a great deal of time communicating by email with customers, colleagues, vendors, and project partners. While email is critical to your business, your inbox can easily become a constant distraction preventing you from getting other tasks accomplished if you’re not managing it well.

Here are some ways to take control of your email so it doesn’t thwart your productivity:

  • Schedule time to tend to your email inbox. Reserve blocks of time every day for checking and responding to emails. Knowing you have dedicated time to deal with your email, you’ll be less likely to interrupt your other work to sneak a peek at your messages.
  • Mark important emails as unread if you don’t have time to respond to them in the moment. That will make them easier to find when you finally do have an opportunity to give them attention.
  • Use your email platform’s filtering capabilities to automatically send email messages from certain senders or about certain topics to specific folders. It will keep your inbox less cluttered and save you time by taking away the manual step of filing your messages.
  • Don’t subscribe to email newsletters unless you’re really interested in reading them. And assess whether those you’re already subscribed to are providing value or if you find yourself deleting them without even opening them. If the latter, consider unsubscribing so they don’t add to the noise in your email inbox.
  • Make sure your email communications are clear and to the point. Pay attention to writing in plain language and structuring your messages logically so they make sense to recipients. Also, be direct about what action (if any) you need from the recipients. Clarity from the start will help avoid a lot of wasted time spent sending emails back and forth to explain what you meant.

Managing your email effectively will help you stay more organized and productive overall. While it may take some time and practice to get your inbox fully under control—and keep it that way—your efforts will pay off in the long run.

For additional expert insight and guidance to help you run your small business more efficiently, reach out to Portland Maine SCORE to connect with a mentor.