Combat the Small Business Time Wasters

A Salary.com employee survey in 2013 found that 69 percent of those responding said they regularly wasted time at work. Time is money for a small business. Quit losing money by identifying and eliminating those major time wasting tasks. Use these suggestion to streamline your operations, educate your staff and get everyone focused on that vision of success you have for your company.

See the Big Picture

Priorities often change. You and your staff may constantly be changing direction before completing anything, says Dynamic Business. The work that must be done for your business to be successful can be overwhelming, especially in a small business with few employees. Create a big picture and communicate it to the staff so they know where each piece fits in, and how important each piece is.

Mind Mapping creates a visual representation of where you want your company to go, and how the pieces all fit to get you there. Tony Buzan is the inspiration behind many mind mapping techniques. He offers tools to easily map the business in a group setting so the vision of your company can be communicated to your staff. They can focus on their tasks when they know the direction of your business.

Put Order to the Chaos

Keep your teams connected and informed without wasting time in meetings. Collaboration tools such as Evernote for Business allow you to create project areas where your teams can work and share notes. Create checklists for individual project tasks and keep a running status of all projects so everyone can see the progress. People can work from anywhere using their laptops, smartphones and tablets and have access to a virtual workforce that isn't tied to their offices.

Get Rid of Interruptions

Emails and phone calls continue to be high in the time wasters category, with email still being a big problem, says Small Business Computing. In a small business, you need to find that balance between communicating and getting work done. Email and voicemail can go without being responded to for a few hours. If the email is something to read, move it to a Review Later box and set aside time to deal with it. Like any other tasks, prioritize your email responses. A customer problem may require you to take action now, but a request for product information can wait until the end of the day.

Phone calls can be handled the same way, but usually there are fewer people in your company who get business calls from outside. Responding to phone calls can become the primary task of one or more of your staff so the rest are undisturbed.

Automate the Right Processes

Take a look at the workflow through your business and identify the tasks that give you the most return for the effort. Generating and following up on invoices directly affects your cash flow, which is important to your company's growth. There are many options to automate the invoicing process, some are even cloud-based. If you're spending time manually dealing with invoices, consider automating that part of your business. You'll gain better visibility to your revenue and more easily identify the follow up areas, such as late paying customers.

Getting Social Media Under Control

Small businesses are still learning how to use social networking effectively. Time Business says that you can waste a lot of time working with your social media sites. Especially if you don't have a social media manager to focus on that for you. Organize all of that with a tool such as Hootsuite. This tools integrates all of your social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Launch marketing campaigns from there to all of your sites and monitor the reaction on one dashboard. Rather than spending hours on each site, you can see it all in one place.