Business owners and entrepreneurs have the biggest impact when they’re focused on their customers. Being the face of the business helps you understand what’s working and what’s not, and it also can create a really strong connection with customers. For example, I frequent one establishment where the owner personally greets everyone, remembers their names and details about their lives. Everyone loves her to death, but she couldn’t do what she was doing if she was bogged down in the back office, on the phone with suppliers, or off making sales calls.
If you want to be front and center for your business, here are a few ways that you can start spending more time with your customers:
1. Pay Closer Attention to Your Schedule to Anticipate Roadblocks
A lot of logistics has to go into your daily schedule. If, for example, your business has a big sales element, you might know that the average sales call takes one hour, but one particular lead will need more nurturing than most. Instead of blocking the lead for one hour, block them for an hour and a half, and plan to do non-important tasks for the half-hour after the meeting.
If the meeting goes over the hour-and-a-half mark, you’ll be behind on non-important tasks and have spent enough time with the lead to convert them into a customer.
2. Get More Efficient with Cloud-Based Back Office Software
When your accounting, payroll, expense, and HR software (among others) are in the cloud, it means you can get the back office stuff done anywhere. Stuck at a Starbucks for 30 minutes between meetings? You can set your schedule for the week. At home after the kids go to bed? You can do your taxes. Cloud-based SaaS services let you go anywhere, they never need backing up or updates, and most of them are a lot faster and easier to use than desktop software. For example, payroll software like OnPay can save you up to 20 hours a month on processing payroll.
SaaS applications allow you to leverage the latest technology without the large upfront investment that’s traditionally needed. Many of them also work well on your mobile phone, too.
3. Start Outsourcing Menial Tasks
Time is money, right? While every business has menial tasks, the owner doesn’t have to be the one doing all of them. Are there things that someone whose time is less valuable than yours could be doing for you? If so, you have so many options for outsourcing them. You can opt to outsource all of your service calls to a third party provider, or you can use a service like Fancy Hands to have someone help you on-the-fly.
One way to determine which tasks are the best ones to outsource is to time all of the tasks that you do on a daily basis.
If the task isn’t profitable but is essential, determine if your time would be better spent with customers and outsource the task.
Once you start outsourcing, you’ll start to find new tasks that you can offload that will free you up to spend more time doing profitable activities.
4. Schedule Entire Days for Customers
A lot of business owners will start to schedule entire days that they spend with customers. Perhaps this is the busiest day for a restaurant, or maybe this is a day where you schedule meetings.
The goal is to make the entire day about customers.
You’ll need to choose your day wisely, but the goal is to pick a day that maximizes this time. If a store is busiest on Friday, choose this day as the day that you spend with your customers. This allows you to make those important impressions and connections even if you don’t have the funds for outsourcing or implementing a new payroll system into your operation.
Bottom line? Planning your time carefully in advance, and making a few smart choices about offloading some of your work (either by delegating it or using software) can free you up to spend a lot more time building better relationships with your customers.