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General efficiency

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:41 am
by nhcbr900
From tiny measure like re-arranging the stock cupboard to looking at the way we produce invoices, quotes etc., if you can save a minute on a job that you do 12 times a day, you have saved an hour every week. What could you do with that hour for your customers?

Re: General efficiency

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:33 pm
by nhcbr900
In no particular order, I am posting on this topic not because it is the first one in the list, but because it is the one that I really feel needs attention in my own business. If any parts of this start to sound familiar. There are too many activities that cause me wasted time and effort to list in one post, so I will add them individually from time to time as they are either dealt with, or a plan is put in place to do so.

Today for the first of these, i will take the header "DIY isn't always cheaper". That's a fairly broad statement of course and DIY as such can be a satisfying and rewarding hobby, which can save you money whilst providing you with pieces of art or craft that are unique. However, taking it out of the hobby context and into the workshop, the picture changes a bit. The scope broadens too. It becomes less about making things for pleasure, taking in all manner of housekeeping tasks. For example, laundry. Who does that? Is it you? Is it the best use of your time? In my case, this was definitely not good use of my time. Not only were my results not as good as a professional, but it took me considerably longer than someone with skill and practice behind them. Weighing the potential earnings from that time against the cost of paying a fellow local business to do it showed that there was no contest.

This is true in other areas too. My next target was cleaning the office. A local person now comes in every other week and keeps everything looking good for when visitors come, while I get on with the business of the day. Two tasks are now covered by other people for me, giving me back something like 3.5 hours per fortnight for potentially earning some money. For me, the main reasons to GSETDIFY (Get Someone Else To Do it For You) are:
  • Saving of time to get on with the real work
  • Potenaially a better result
  • Passing on a task I don't enjoy
  • Helping to provide work for another local business
  • Increasing the reach of my business network through conversations with service providers
Eventually, my aim is to pass on all aspects of office and equipment maintenance to others so I can devote more time to my customers. Watch this space!

Re: General efficiency

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:50 pm
by nhcbr900
In this programme of looking around at ways that I use time less efficiently than I should, it has become clear to me that one of the worst instances in my own business is the production of invoices. A good deal of what I do is time based invoicing, so I find myself at the end of a job, scrabbling round through notebooks and odd pieces of paper to locate the actual work sessions.

This leads to two undesirable outcomes very often. Firstly, I shouldn't be taking that amount of time to produce a simple invoice, and secondly, there it too big a risk of losing track and not invoicing for all the time that i have used on a project.

With a little more time on my hands than usual, I intent to rectify both of these problems at a stroke. By making some amendments to the admin pages in my web site, I can make online job sheets with clocking on and clocking off functions. That way, wherever I am there is no excuse for not accurately recording the time spent on a job. Also, because the information is already there, it it simple to add it to the invoice template so that a summary of all work carried out and all time taken is there for the customer to see.

This could save me anything up to half an hour per invoice compared to the current method. That time can be put to good use.

Re: General efficiency

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:46 pm
by nhcbr900
For an update on the efficiency changes to my invoicing practices, in the last two days I have completely revised the way I manage time and resources when it comes to scheduling, recording work and invoicing for labour plus catalogue items. Like so many things it seemed like a daunting task until it was actually under way, when it turned out to be much simpler than expected.

Not only is this going to save time, but will also help avoid the odd forgotten work session, which ultimately then never gets invoiced. I'm happy to share the information, so please shout if you feel that you suffer from the same problems that i had.