You have plenty of ideas and energy, but what about time? When you’re a busy mom running a startup and a household, finding ways to get everything done can seem daunting.
The problem with trying to do everything is that we often can’t, says Debra Cohen, president of Home Remedies of N.Y. and a mother of two. “Many entrepreneurs — particularly women — feel they have to do it all on their own, but it’s impossible to be an expert at everything related to your business.”
So how do you manage your time and tasks to build a company that not only survives, but also thrives? Cohen offers three tips for taking your business to the next level:
- Divide your day into blocks of time. Cohen breaks her day into segments that she devotes to her family and to her business. She also schedules in at least one hour of personal time per day. “When I know I have limited hours in the day to get things done, I tend to be a lot more productive,” she says.
- Outsource. Consider which parts of your business fall outside of your area of expertise or are time-consuming — and could be done by someone else, Cohen says. Hire individuals to handle those aspects while you focus on earning money. In Cohen’s case, making phone calls was a crucial part of running her business. When she first began, she was juggling a newborn and a startup, so she looked for ways to free herself from tasks that cut into her valuable phone time. After some evaluation, Cohen decided to outsource accounting services and website design. She also hired a virtual assistant to take care of direct billing and stuff envelopes.
- Set up a board of advisers. Find four or five people you trust in varied industries that you can turn to for advice, Cohen recommends. If you run a party-planning business but know very little about legal issues, look for a friend who you can offer legal advice when you need it. Do the same for other areas that fall outside of your expertise but are relevant to the business, such as accounting services, insurance issues, or technical help. Your board of advisers doesn’t need to have a formal setup, Cohen says. Most people are happy to give you a few minutes of their time here and there to answer your questions. To return the favor, offer to answer questions they may have about your industry, give them a discount on your products or services, or send potential customers their way.