Publisher’s Note: CM Commerce is a new partner in the WooCommerce Marketplace. We asked them to share their thoughts on helping merchants succeed with marketing automation.
Consider this your daily reminder to take a deep breath and drink some water. Because if you’re anything like the 1000+ store owners we surveyed, you’ve probably been so busy today that you’ve neglected to take a little time for yourself.
Store owners work hard and they work a lot. In fact, 61% of the ones we talked to assume more than three roles — and work more than 40 hours per week.
And while they may be proud of the effort they put in, 84% believe they’re not using their time effectively. It’s the biggest problem facing store owners today.
Make the most of your time
There are only so many hours in a day and, at some point, you’re going to run out of them. And even if you don’t, you’ll probably be drained of energy. Eventually, this can lead to what’s commonly called “burnout.”
Not only is this bad for your mental health, it’s bad for business. There may be brief periods where you have to work extra hours, but it’s not a long-term solution to your time management problem. And solving this problem is essential if you want to grow your businesses.
So how do you do it?
1. Audit your time
The first step is to account for how you currently spend your time. You may think you know how you spend your day — but when you start measuring, you’ll probably be shocked.
For an entire week, write down how you spend your time and categorize each task into a broader group: operations, finance, administration, marketing, sales, or customer support. You can record this information in a spreadsheet or find an app to make it easier.
When you’re done, take a close look at where your time goes: Are you one of the 33% who says marketing is the key to success, yet are only giving it 17% of the work week?
The goal isn’t to limit the time allocated to every area of your business, but rather to figure out where your time isn’t being used efficiently or isn’t worthwhile and limit how much you spend on those tasks. If you’re budgeting a lot to a certain area, but it’s enjoyable and contributes to your goals, great!
2. Streamline your work
Once you know where you can improve, start your time management overhaul. Don’t try to fix everything at once! Instead, identify the one area where you’re spending the most time that doesn’t contribute to your goals. Here are some quick tips and tricks to streamlining your calendar:
- Most humans don’t multitask well. Practice blocking time so you spend a few hours working on one task — and one task only — before moving on to the next.
- Look at the processes your store has in place. Can you reduce the number of steps? Can you limit the number of approvals? More steps mean more time — and more chances for something to go wrong.
- Set a timer while working on tasks. If you write and edit blog posts, you might need to only edit for an hour before moving on to something else.
The trick is to find ways to work smarter and more efficiently. Sometimes setting a timer is enough to keep you on task and focused so that you do better work in less time.
3. Find an outside solution
You might find that there’s just no way for you to reduce the time you spend on some tasks. At that point, it’s time to outsource. You can only work so hard and so efficiently before you max out available resources.
You don’t have to start by hiring an entirely new team. Instead, consider using automation tools to offload certain tasks or hiring a freelancer to take care of others. If, at the end of a month, you’re seeing better returns for your time, it might be worth investing in another employee.
Whether you bring in a freelancer, hire a team, or invest in automation tools (like CM Commerce), the tasks you choose will depend on your eCommerce store. Consider your long-term goals. Finding help is an investment in your store’s future — and in your own mental health.
Learn more from the research study
The stats we cite in this post are taken from our recent research study, Ecommerce Confessions: How 1000+ Store Owners Do It All and Still Find Time to Grow. You can read more insights and download the entire guide.