When running a franchise you expect the business to operate perfectly so that all opportunities of making profit are exploited. However, as we all know, achieving perfection means splitting your efforts over many activities, which often requires time.
“Running a successful franchise really means being someone who knows when to delegate, structuring your working day and paying attention to the jobs that matter,” says Simone Cooper, Head of Franchising at Standard Bank, adding that success is really achieved through effective time management.
Time management is defined as taking conscious control over time spent on various activities. Spending too much time on a task that may not really require the effort you are putting in is considered time wasting.
“Mastering the art of time management is a skill that brings immediate benefits to people and business,” says Ms. Cooper. This is because:
- People have tasks allocated to them and understand exactly what they have to do;
- Days become more productive as people are not ‘trampling over each other’ as they try to find work to do. Job confusion is avoided;
- As a franchise owner, you become a more effective boss and supervisor. You can concentrate on the most important aspects of the business and advise others as required.
Ms Cooper says that getting to this point is relatively simple. All that has to be done is to:
- Take the time required to draw up and implement a daily time schedule that suits both you and your staff, so that the day’s activities and the necessary staffing requirements are properly planned.
- Learn how to manage e-mails and phone calls. E-mails can distract you from what you are doing. Set aside time to return emails and non-business phone calls, and avoid checking an email just because it has come through.
- Manage ‘offline’ communication in the office, try and turn your office into a distraction-free zone. If you have a door, close it occasionally or put up a sign to allow yourself the time to complete any tasks that need your attention.
- Decide what daily or weekly meetings are really necessary. Decide on a specific day in which the majority of meetings can be scheduled. This way, instead of spending the majority of your days in and out of meetings, you will have one or two designated days allocated to meetings only, and a clearer diary for the things that count.
- Realise that good time management means doing high quality work, not high quantity time consuming work. By working smarter rather than faster, you will see more jobs being done and completed.
- Focus. When you are working on a job that requires your full concentration, think of the results that you will achieve, instead of how busy you are, or how long it will take you to complete it.
- Always allow extra time for possible interruptions and issues that may arise at the last minute. This will ensure that your progress is not impacted.
- Avoid procrastination. Putting things off until later will inevitably lead to jobs piling up and even being totally derailed if a crisis arises.
- Consider introducing time sheets. Many people do not like them, but time sheets will quickly give you an effective measurement of how much time is being spent on different tasks. By keeping your own time sheets, you will be able to see where your time has gone and make the necessary steps to adjust your efforts. If it takes you three hours to respond to emails in one sitting, something needs to be changed to free up more of your time.
“Learning to master your time correctly is a liberating experience. Life at work will become simpler, jobs will be handled better and people happier. This then translates into improved productivity and better business results. The most important benefit though is more personal time for home and family,” says Ms Cooper.
Article contribution by Magna-Carta