A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

If you are time poor in your newsagency, what are you doing to fix it?

If you are not getting to everything you want to in your business, missing opportunities, being late to respond to time sensitive queries and never getting done in a day what you want to get done, I’m sure you feel time poor.

We all talk about in small business retail. Suppliers to small business retail talk about it too.

But, is anything being done?

It doesn’t feel like it.

There are more emails than ever, more unscheduled supplier visits, more offers, more calls. To plenty of newsagents I speak with it feels worse, it feels like there are more demands on time than ever.

If you feel time poor, I urge you to ask yourself, seriously, what am I doing about it?

I think there is plenty we can do to ease feeling time poor.

  • Make decisions. For some, time is spent thinking, pondering, worrying when making a decision early without all that time lost could be the answer.
  • Delegate. You hire, train and motivate everyone who works in the business. If you are time more more so than the business, delegate some of what makes you time poor. Nurture the right people for you to do this.
  • Ignore time wasters. Unsolicited phone calls from sales people. If I’ve not spoken to them before I always say what are you calling about? if they don’t answer that question or make it clear they are selling something, I hang up. Unscheduled sales rep visits disrespect and waste your time. Sure you may worry that you’ll miss out on something. If an offer is that important they can email you.
  • Ignore inefficient suppliers. Don’t deal with suppliers that have processes from decades ago that cost more time than they should. It’s likely that their inefficiencies make their products less profitable for you.
  • If it doesn’t serve the goals of your business, don’t do it. Look at what you do in a day. If it is not helping the business, not making the business more valuable, question whether that task is necessary.
  • Create a not sure folder. You’re sure to get mail and emails that you’re not sure about. I have a physical and an email folder labeled not sure. If something sits in there for 6 months untouched, it’s binned or deleted without another thought.
  • Know when you are most efficient. For example, if interruptions make you less efficient on tasks only you can do and that you struggle to get to, care out that time, ring fence it and ensure you are not interrupted. One of the things work from home taught plenty of businesses is that plenty of people were more efficient at home since there were less interruptions. Sure, they may be a downside from less colleague interaction, but there was, for many, more efficiency. One of the reasons I am at the office at 6:30am every morning is for that first 90 minutes of no interruptions.
  • Keep the inbox clean. I know of newsagents who read their emails once a week. This is nuts. Check your emails first thing and several times in the day. Make quick decisions to forward, delete or quickly respond, only leaving a few more more attention later. I get several hundred emails every day and staying on top of the inbox is critical, saves time.
  • Have a to-do list. Finish every day creating the list for tomorrow. It means you can start the next morning and not have to think what you need to do. Start with what’s on the list. I find it makes the first hour more efficient.

There is nothing groundbreaking here.

Next time you go to say to someone that you are time poor, stop and think for a moment what you have done or are doing to win time back. Thinking about demands on your time from a perspective that only others control it is the wrong way to look at it I think. 

Newsagency management

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