As an IT consultant, I’m sure increasing business productivity is a top priority for you.
But with all the different roles you play, finding time probably feels next to impossible, right?
You have sales orders to process, and accounting books to balance, and even just basic administrative work eating up the hours in your day.
(Not to mention the actual work you’re doing for clients.)
As a result, I’m sure you find that the day-to-day responsibilities of being an independent IT consultant add up to one big problem:
You don’t have the time to properly market your business.
Luckily for you, this post can help you do that.
You’ll learn 5 tips to increase business productivity so you can free up more time to focus on growing your IT business.
Ready to be more productive? Well then, read on.
#1. Use Hootsuite to Manage All Your Social Media from One Location
Look, you know this – a social media presence is critical for your IT business.
If you’re not on board with that, here’s a statistic to change your mind:
84 percent of CEOs and VPs use social media to make buying decisions. (source)
That means the majority of your target audience uses Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about your business.
And I’ll bet you can guess the perception they develop if you’re not present or active on those sites, right? Not a very good one.
Now, I will admit that managing multiple channels can be very time consuming.
But that’s exactly why you should start using Hootsuite.
What in the world is Hootsuite?
Here’s an analogy to help explain:
Let’s say you’re going to eat an apple, two oranges, a banana and some strawberries today.
You have two options for consuming them:
- Eat each piece of fruit individually, taking up a ton of your time.
- Put all that fruit in a juicer and drink the smoothie in 2 minutes flat.
Think of Hootsuite like your social media juicer. Instead of managing each of your social channels individually, Hootsuite brings them all together onto one, easy-to-use platform.
And here’s the best part: you can manage up to three social profiles on the platform 100% for free.
Pretty cool, huh?
But that’s not all – there’s also the added benefit of scheduling posts for the future.
That way, you can set aside time on Mondays to set up all your social posts for the week.
And that means you rest easy knowing you covered your social posts without having to spend valuable time each day.
#2. Outsource Basic Tasks to Virtual Assistants
I’ll bet you fantasize all the time about having an assistant around to help with all the basic tasks for your IT business, right?
But I’ll admit, hiring a full-time assistant can be really expensive.
Plus, you might not need someone for a full 40 hours each week. Maybe you want to hire an assistant to just cover a few repetitive tasks that consistently eat up hours of your day.
And that’s exactly where a virtual assistant can step in to help.
Here’s a brief explanation from Alina Dizik over at Entrepreneur:
“Most virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who do their jobs from home and focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary…Entrepreneurs can use virtual assistants for everything from making vendor or customer service calls to sending out thank you cards to prospective clients.”
You can find qualified virtual assistants on websites like Upwork, where you can post a job and screen potential candidates based on their job completion history and reviews from previous employers.
You’ll pay either by the hour or project – that way you’re never paying someone for time where you don’t need them.
And if you’re wondering what type of work to outsource to your new virtual assistant, here’s some good best practices to follow:
- Make a list of everything you do in a day. From checking voicemails to responding to email to processing IT service requests, write down everything you do on an average work day.
- Use Pareto’s Principle to determine where to spend your time. 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. Put all your time and focus into that 20% and either discard or outsource the remaining 80% of work with a low yield.
#3. Set Times to Read and Respond to Email
We both know email can be a huge time waster, right?
I mean, the data doesn’t lie: according to Adobe, the average American worker spends upwards of 6 hours per day reading and responding to emails.
That’s more than 30 hours per week!
Isn’t that insane?
That’s why the most successful entrepreneurs have set aside designated time to read and respond to email.
Craig Jarrow over at Time Management Ninja suggests checking email twice per day: once in the morning and once in the afternoon. He says:
“Not checking your email every few minutes is not about being insensitive, rude, or disrespectful. Rather, it is about being productive, getting work done, and not playing silly email games…By checking it less, you will set expectations for others that you are busy, however, you will get back to them soon. If they need you immediately, they can call, text, or come see you.”
You can also use a free plugin like Boomerang for Gmail to schedule future emails (much like you’re doing with social media on Hootsuite).
That way, if you want to bust out a bunch of replies in the evening, you can do it without setting off everyone’s inboxes at 11:00pm.
#4. Eliminate Distractions on the Web with StayFocusd
Ever go onto Facebook to check something quickly and then 3 hours later you’re watching a chimpanzee video and don’t even remember how you got there?
Well, here’s another helpful (and free) plugin for Chrome: StayFocusd.
The 100% free tool allows you to block certain distracting websites (cough, cough…Facebook) so that they won’t lure you away from your work.
There’s even a “nuclear option” that permanently blocks the site for a designated amount of time without reversal.
#5. Increase Business Productivity with a Project Management Tool
With so much on your plate, it’s easy to lose track of your ongoing projects.
Which is precisely why a project management tool – like Trello, Asana or Flow – can be an easy way of increasing business productivity.
Trello allows you to create a single user account with unlimited “boards” for free.
Each board contains cards with different tasks or projects and lists to organize your cards. You can set due dates, add checklists and even color-code each card for better organization.
And that’s it…
With these 5 tips, you have everything you need to increase your business’s productivity and open up more time to focus on marketing and growth.
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