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The Struggle of Managing Multiple Projects in a Small Business


If you’ve ever answered a phone call while driving through an unfamiliar part of town, you know what it feels like to try to do two things at once. It’s difficult to concentrate on one task while focused on another. There are over 33 million small business owners in the U.S., which means a whole lot of people are trying to accomplish more than one thing at the same time. It can be frustrating, time-consuming, and leave a business owner feeling drained.

If you’re a small business owner who sometimes feels as if you’re spinning your wheels, trying to accomplish too many things at once, these tips may help.

Organize

Think about your daily life. How much do you enjoy running around your house, trying to remember where you left your car keys or cellphone? Not only is it maddening when you have somewhere you need to be but it’s a colossal waste of time.

 

One of the easiest, most basic things you can do for yourself as a small business owner is to stay organized (or get organized if you need to). That way, when it’s time to do taxes, you know precisely where to find the information you need. When you’re ready to order inventory, you can find your business credit card in a snap.

Yes, organizing material takes a touch more time, but it will save you many hours of frustration.

Delegate

At some point, you may realize that you simply can’t do it all. If you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time employee to help, consider hiring someone on an as-needed basis and paying them a fair wage for the hours worked. Or, if you’re fortunate enough to have family who would like to help, take them up on the offer.

Let’s say you’re not a terribly strong writer, but your spouse or college-age child is. Rather than suffering over writing business emails yourself, let someone else take on the task.

Opening a small business may have been your idea, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it.

If you have someone in your life who wants to help, allow them to.

Take advantage of automation

Just 25 years ago, business owners had far fewer opportunities to turn some of their most tedious jobs over to automation. For example, scheduling involved writing everything that needed to be done down on a piece of paper and crossing it off when it was done. Today, there is scheduling software that can make quick work of the job.

There’s expense management software to keep track of your spending and payroll software to ensure employers are properly paid and taxes are accounted for as you add employees to your organization.

In other words, you don’t have to go it alone.

Learn to be flexible

So many of the struggles we face in life are self-imposed. We imagine that we’re supposed to do things one way and then hang on to that belief like it’s gospel. Perhaps the best way to manage multiple projects while remaining calm is to realize that it doesn’t all necessarily have to be done today.

If there’s a project that can be pushed until tomorrow (or the next day) without negatively impacting your business, learn to be okay with rolling with the punches.

If you’ve ever had a child or a pet, you might be able to remember what you thought it would be like until that living creature came into your life. The truth is, there were simply too many variables to know for sure how you were going to handle every situation. The same is true of running a small business. You can have a good idea of what it will be like, but things are going to come along that throw you for a loop. Expecting it to happen occasionally makes it easier to adapt when it does.

There’s nothing quite like owning an enterprise of your own. Whether your business consists of a staff of one or you have dozens of employees, you get to shape and mold the business any way you want. Chances are, you’re going to enjoy the entire experience far more if you get organized, learn to delegate, use automation when it’s available, and remain flexible.

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