When you're a business owner, admin work can be the last thing that you want to do. Chances are that you have other things that you would rather focus on, like growing your business and taking care of your customers. Unfortunately, admin is a necessary activity that you will find essential for the day to day running of your small business.
Now, just because it's essential doesn't mean you need to make hard work of it. There are a variety of ways that you can make your admin duties easier and ultimately save yourself bags of time. A lot of it is down to organisation and giving yourself the best chance of completing your tasks whilst leaving plenty of time to focus on your other business requirements.
Here are ten quick admin tips that can help your business effectively:
1. Set time for admin tasks
Carve out some time on a Monday morning (or whichever day your working week starts on) to organise your admin requirements for the week. Just like going to the gym, for example, it is important to set some time apart for this to avoid the work spiraling out of control. Once you have your week organised you will find it's so much easier to get through all of your admin needs and you will also feel much better for it too!
2. Create an admin list
To-do lists can be an incredibly effective way of organising your admin requirements and also give you something to work towards completing. You can make this part of your Monday morning organisation too, or use our Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Streamlining Admin Processes. No matter what else happens that week, make a promise to yourself that you'll finish the jobs on that list, otherwise, they start to build up and spill into other weeks.
3. Bite-size your list
Studies have shown that breaking down larger jobs into smaller, more manageable activities can make a project much more bearable and achievable. If there's an admin job that you have been putting off because of the sheer size of it, try to break it down into a number of smaller jobs. You will soon find that as you start ticking these smaller jobs off your list that you have finished the larger task at hand.
4. Keep a detailed calendar
You more than likely already have a calendar or schedule of some sort to organise your time, but to be truly effective you need to include as much detail as possible. Make sure you have accounted for more than just important meetings and you have also blocked out time to complete your important admin activities. Here's the important part: make sure you stick to it, unless there's an emergency. The most successful people have their days planned out to the minute.
5. Stay on top of data entry
Data entry can be one of the most time consuming and laborious activities there is for a small business. This is often because small business owners let the data entry requirements build up over time, putting it off until there's no other option. Making sure that you stay on top of any data entry you might have can make it feel like the burden has been completely lifted. Try to set aside at least 10 or 15 minutes each day to get caught up and you can avoid the long boring hours spent mindlessly typing in data.
One of the most counter-productive activities to a small business owner is constantly replying to emails and other forms of communications. Phone calls obviously can't go unanswered, but most people don't expect instant responses to emails. Not only that but constantly stopping what you're doing to reply to emails can result in completely losing focus from the task you were previously focusing on and it can take a while to get back into the zone. Try to split your communication requirements into one or maybe two parts of the day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon perhaps.
7. Set alerts
If you're the forgetful type then it can be really beneficial to set up alerts to remind you of important tasks and meetings that need your attention. Save yourself the trouble of staring at the clock and let technology take over. There are a variety of ways you can do this, many calendar apps will give you the option to set up alerts, you can even get them sent through via text message if you prefer!
8. Perform regular backups
There is very little that's more counter productive than losing all of your work and having to start from scratch. Many learn the hard way that it's important to perform regular backups to ensure that all of your important admin work is safely saved should the worst happen. It's also advisable to store copies of your backups off-site in case the building is damaged in a fire, for example. Better safe than sorry after all!
9. Set a full day aside for bookkeeping
Poor record keeping is one of the main reasons that small businesses fail. Keeping well maintained and managed financial records can make life so much easier as a small business owner. Not only will it make your tax reporting a breeze and keep HMRC off your back, it will also allow you to make smarter financial decisions about your business. Is there a time of the month where your business is quieter? Try to book a day each month out during that time for bookkeeping. This might not seem like a quick admin tip, but the amount of time it can save you, in the long run, is unbelievable. In addition, you will always have the peace of mind that your books are in order. There will be no more sleepless nights worrying about spreadsheets and that unorganised pile of receipts on your desk.
10. Outsource some of your admin
Of course, there is another option for small business owners who don't have time for admin activities. You could always outsource your admin work to a virtual assistant and worry about it no more.
Read our blog on the 5 reasons why you should use a virtual secretary service.
At SmartPA, our remote assistants can help with a wide range of activities, including email management, bookkeeping, transcription and much more, all from a remote location.
How SmartPA can support
Delegate your admin to-do list to our expert virtual PAs and streamline your business costs. Join over 3000 businesses who use our services to ensure their administrative tasks are completed accurately and on time.
Getting the right person to support your business does not need to be difficult and costs less than you think.