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Updated: Jan 14, 2020
As a business owner, it’s reasonable to have a never-ending to-do list. But when your list gets too long, certain items fall to the wayside. These unchecked items — like updating your payroll system or replacing your office lighting — may seem less pressing. But, they’re often just as crucial to your business success as the urgent to-dos, like ordering new inventory.
Finding the time and money to take care of the stuff you’ve put on the backburner of your small business to-do list can be tricky. However, getting to these tasks has the potential for significant payoff. Addressing your laundry list can help improve employee productivity, streamline operations, and bump up sales.
Depending on your business, you might have several different, equally important tasks to tackle. Here are some examples of what could be on a daily business operations checklist:
No more waiting and procrastinating. Here are eight reasons to take care of what’s on your small business’s to-do list.
When you’re accustomed to your business’s backend processes — however inefficient they may be — it doesn’t always seem necessary to set aside time to fix them. Taking care of certain small business to-do list items can help streamline operations, in any case.
Upgrading your payroll software, for instance, helps automate tedious manual data entry processes. Meanwhile, updating your inventory management system can cut down on time you spend sorting and searching for products. Other changes that could be on your daily business operations checklist, like transitioning to a cloud-based communication system instead of using desk phones, can help employees work with more ease.
When employees have better tools at their disposal, they can make the company more efficient. And when operations run smoother, employees, in turn, become more productive. It’s a positive cycle that starts with rethinking operational processes and then starting to check things off of the list.
Part of being a business owner is learning to manage your workload, but a growing small business to-do list can cause you undue stress. If you’ve been overwhelmed by all the things, you have to do, tackling them head-on can help lessen your burden.
Not only that but addressing everything on the list will also prevent you from having to make tough decisions about which items to prioritize or sacrifice. Of course, new tasks will continue to accumulate no matter what. But, crossing off a bunch of things on your small business task list can help restore some of your focus and give you a blank slate to work from.
Crossing items off your small business’s to-do list is an excellent opportunity to assess the value of what you’re doing and determine which areas of your business have the highest ROI. As you go down your list, take note of how much time, money, and resources each task requires. Also, note what the immediate and long-term results of your efforts will be.
For example, researching and planning a new sales training session for employees might be expensive, but it could double your sales within the quarter. Re-labeling inventory might be time-consuming, but it could help improve your response time when customers request quotes. On the other hand, ordering a new TV for the conference room might turn out to be both expensive and unnecessary.
Recording and analyzing this information can help you determine how valuable each project or task is. It can also help figure out whether or not it’s critical to your day-to-day operations or long-term growth. From there, you can make smarter decisions about which items to keep on your future small business task lists and which to scrap.
When you have a laundry list of tasks to address, it’s harder to focus on growth projects, like opening a second location or expanding your sales team. After all, most growth projects are time-consuming and creatively demanding. Plus, they require a significant financial investment.
It may be tempting to postpone these more significant ventures in favor of handling the smaller things on your daily business operations checklist. However, growth projects have the potential to propel your business forward.
If your ever-expanding small business to-do list is getting in the way of more meaningful work, it’s time to clear a path. Addressing odds and ends can free you up to devote more time and energy to the projects that will set your business up for long-term success.
Tackling your small business’s to-do list is a perfect time to evaluate your business’s work strategies and systems, then overhaul them if you need to. As you go down your to-do list, budget extra time to conduct a quick assessment of whatever you’re working on.
For example, as you replace the desks in the office, consider the current desk layout and whether or not it’s conducive to employee productivity. Or, as you count inventory, review your inventory management techniques to see whether they could be more efficient.
Taking time to maximize your business systems and strategies can save you energy and hassle down the road. Plus, as your business grows, you’ll have a stronger foundation to build upon when you introduce new products or ideas.
Making headway with your small business’s task list doesn’t just facilitate internal operations; it also helps you serve your clients and customers better.
Look through your business to-do list to see which items directly or indirectly impact your clients or customers. Redecorating your storefront, for example, could help attract new customers. Or, expanding the payment options on your e-commerce site could result in more sales. Even something as simple as adding new testimonials to your website could help convert leads. And, updating the descriptions of your services could improve your search engine results.
It can be challenging to prioritize tasks when you have a long to-do list for your small business. However, doing things that help improve the customer experience is always a win-win. Happier customers and clients translate to better, more successful business.
Checking items off your business’s to-do list takes time, resources, and money. If you’re short on cash flow or want a financial cushion before tackling your to-dos, getting a business loan can help. Fast, affordable funding can give you the freedom to face your small business task list head-on so that you can get ahead. Learn more about Funding Circle’s small business loans or apply today with no obligation.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.