Office Hours: Are They Really Necessary for a Small Business?
Join master business coach Michelle Landis, as she strives to create success and abundance for every business owner with the ActionCOACH method of focus, accountability, and results. Visit our weekly Q & A session as Coach Michelle tackles real questions on a variety of issues - and provides you with answers that will BRING RESULTS for your company!
Question of the Week: “I run a fairly small sized business - are office hours really necessary?”
Coach Michelle: Even if the size of your company is ONE, I would emphatically say that office hours are a necessity. Effective organization and the efficient use of time is the major factor in propelling your business to the next level, and office hours are the building blocks of sound time management.
Ask yourself - does this type of day sound familiar?
You step into your office with a general idea of what you might need to accomplish that calendar day. You glance at the clock, and see you have two hours until you have an appointment - great! You decide to check your email and respond to several that seem pressing, then remove some of the clutter on your desk, answer three phone calls, remember a bill that should have been paid yesterday, and attend to an unannounced drop-in visitor who stays a bit too long. Suddenly two hours have passed, and you are now late for your appointment! The morning is gone, and you are behind the eight ball already.
Let’s take a step back and organize - make sure to consult your default schedule. Remember that 50% of your time should be filled with “reaction - or big rock items” and 25% should be “important reaction” items. The remaining 25% should be devoted to office hours … and make sure that you guard them with your life!
Office hours should be YOUR time for planning and proactive work - for instance, what tasks will you be doing 30 days from now … or 90? They can also be utilized for some of your catch-up work, such as phone calls and emails, but you must learn to prioritize these as well, or they will simply waste your hours away.
The biggest time drainer a business owner will face is when we are sucked in to responding to other people’s urgencies or problems. Realize however, that these activities do not move us toward OUR business goals - so by definition they are “Not Important.” Beware of allowing too much of your own time and effort devoted to those non-essential tasks. You can conduct your own time usage study to learn just exactly how much of your day is sucked away by such tasks! You might be amazed at the results you discover.
Every minute that you can divert from “not important” categories to the “important” categories will move you closer to your big rock goals. And every task that you can delegate to an employee - the emails, the bills, the unimportant phone calls, the visitors - will allow you to focus on the proactive tasks of an organized business owner.
Just make sure you don’t over-schedule yourself! So what proactive tasks can you accomplish during office hours TODAY?
About the Author, Michelle Landis
Michelle is a certified Master Business Coach and owner of ActionCOACH of Greater Lehigh Valley/Berks. She is an educator and a business professional with over 25 years experience in the business world running both small and medium sized businesses. She has an extensive background in education, executive management, sales & marketing, operations and entrepreneurial pursuits that include international consulting in China, extensive teaching and educational endeavors as well as executive leadership roles with General Electric, Dun & Bradstreet and Armstrong World Industries. Her leadership skills have delivered over $58 million to the bottom line. Get a BUSINESS HEALTH CHECK with Michelle or connect with Michelle on FACEBOOK, join her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.