Registering our home on AirBnB means that I’ll be working remotely, or plain old vacationing, at various times throughout the summer. Which is fine, because I have an assistant that helps me with my marketing and content. Except she’s going on vacation, too.
We both have some pretty slick time management skills in our back pockets, but I’ve also shown my assistant how to automate her business AND mine to save time and keep us both on track.
Whether school’s out or business is picking up, summer can knot up the most organized schedule. Your employees and contractors are looking to save time, too, for their own sunny day shenanigans.
To break it down to basics, there’s three things you MUST have in place to stay efficient over the summer:
First, nail down and streamline your customer management system.
A customer resource management system, or CRM, will help you keep track of clients, their contact information, and where they are in the sales journey. You can track correspondence and manage the project from many of these, as well.
Need a CRM? This list of the 10 best options for small business may help you get started.
Next, integrate your tools.
If you’ve been around the blog, you know I’m a big fan of Zapier. And for good reason:
- Link Gmail to your Drive folder to automatically save attachments
- Link your email to your project manager to automatically create tasks from emails
- Link your WordPress site to your social channels to automatically post new blog articles
- Link your client onboarding form to your CRM to create new contacts
- Link PayPal or your sales software to your accounting software to keep track of client purchases
- Link calendar entries to your project management system (and vice versa) to manage client workflow
It’s not just about the tools you have in your workbox, it’s how you have them working together. Collaboration can be difficult within a team, especially with members leaving on vacations or checking out early to pick up kids from summer camp.
As intimidating as it may be to give up the reins and let someone else drive, delegating is as important for business growth as it is for summer vacations.
There may remain tasks you choose or need to do for yourself. To determine if it’s a task worth delegating, ask yourself:
- How long will it take to train someone?
If it’s a complicated process, you may be able to break it down into simpler steps.
- How long does it take you to do it yourself?
If it takes you a long time and it isn’t necessary for you to do it yourself, it may be more efficient to have someone else complete it.
- How does it align with your personal or professional goals?
If the task is necessary for business but not necessary for your personal furtherment, consider delegating it elsewhere.
- How invested are you in the outcome?
If it has to be done just right, and you don’t think others can accomplish that as well as you, it may not be worth delegating the task.
If you have a second-in-command, go through their workload asking these questions, too.
When you’re a one-woman shop with limited contractors and strict ideas about outcomes, the struggle is real. Training someone to take on the tasks can be frustrating. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s going to be perfect when you’re hiring someone new to your business.
Instead, hire the right person for the right work. Letting go sometimes takes a bit of blind trust, as well as an understanding that there’s a learning curve, allowance for mistakes, and, of course, realistic expectations.
Delegating will save you time if you’ve got a procedure that works.
When you’ve done something over and over, it becomes a routine. And it becomes easy to take the small parts for granted. When passing a task onto someone new, I recommend:
- Videotaping yourself performing the task;
- Ask your new assistant to watch the video with you and transcribe the steps; then
- Ask your assistant to perform the task while you’re handy to help them through it.
Now that you and your team have more time, management of that newly acquired time comes into play. I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek myself, but my assistant prefers Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours. To each their own, so I recommend finding a book that resonates with you, to help you put your time to work!
From an introvert’s perspective, I have always appreciated regular individual sessions to check in with my team, separate from larger team meeting. For my own team, it helps me keep my finger on the pulse and makes bigger meetings more efficient, too.
Using these tools and tactics has made me more efficient and productive in managing my business and my team. It means when I step out of the office this summer, I do so assured that business will continue to thrive. When my assistant steps out, the same, plus the time on our hands to fully enjoy our breaks.
Where will you spend your vacation now that you’ve time saved to take one?
Need help setting up the tools, automations and strategies to streamline your business? I can help you set that up. Book a discovery call with me to get started.