So you’re busy all day and spend most of the night working on quotes and other administrative tasks for your business when your son asks, “Hey Dad, can you coach my footy team this year? Ben’s dad can’t do it because his boss won’t give him the time off work.”
Your immediate response: “Sorry son, but I have to work too.”
Your son is devastated. You begin to think: Isn’t this why I chose to work for myself? So I can spend more time with my family?
Well you can!
Just follow these steps:
- List all of the tasks you do every day. It might look like this:
- Toolbox talk with the boys
- Schedule job for the next day
- Work on the tools
- Meet with owner/head contractor to discuss progress
- Order materials
- Ensure quality control
- Answer calls or messages
- Check mail
- Quote new jobs
- Pay bills
- Follow-up quotes
- Follow-up payment
- Find new subbies
- Pick the tasks you like doing and put a green tick next to them.
- Pick the tasks you don’t like doing and put a red cross next to them.
- Highlight the tasks that you don’t really need to do.
- Work out a plan to delegate or automate the highlighted tasks, like the following:
- Quote new jobs – find an awesome quoting program.
- Order materials – quoting program should be able to create purchase orders that can be e-mailed to suppliers and subbies.
- Pay Bills/Wages – quoting program should take purchase orders and turn them into bills, allowing you to bulk pay from your accounting system and upload information to your online banking.
- Marketing – outsource.
- Bookkeeping – outsource.
- Follow up quotes – automate from the quoting system.
- Follow up payment – automate from accounting system.
As you can see, there are many tasks that can be automated and outsourced. And even those tasks you feel you must do may be able to be delegated if the right person is trained properly.
Although these steps may seem simple, a lot of time and effort goes into assessing how and what to automate. Here are three more pieces of advice:
- Start with Xero and its ecosystem. It’s extremely flexible.
- Speak to your bookkeeper or accountant regarding the best options for you.
- If they don’t use Xero, find one who will. Bookkeeper Hub is a
“Xero Hero” who can help convert your existing system, provide training, and perform bookkeeping tasks as well.
Another idea to free up personal time? Block out time when you aren’t available. (It’s surprising how easy it is to say, “Sorry, I’m unavailable at that time. Can we make it another time?”) At the end of the day, the goal is to work smarter not harder!
Photo credit: jake.shapiro via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA