How to Manage Time in eCommerce Businesses
ECommerce business owners often wish their day would last twice as long so they could carry out the tasks they put their mind to. Sadly, time and tide wait for no man, and the hours in a day should be enough for getting the job done. A key factor in time-bound deliveries is proper time management.
Time management is a cornerstone of every successful business, but not every entrepreneur knows how to take care of their precious minutes. This operating inability generally leads to a failing commerce which no marketer wants to experience. Still, there exist few solutions for this recurring problem.
Why Is Time Efficiency Important
Time efficiency is crucial to every online store’s profit. Especially to small business and startup founders. They frequently have to manage each step of the way, from marketing and optimizing the site to customer support and selling process.
The bigger the business, the better the time organization. While that’s most certainly true, it doesn’t always have to be the case. Smaller companies can function just as good, provided that their time is well arranged.
Knowing how to harmonize assignments with the time available can bring you improved service and better customer care. Subsequently, higher profits and the expansion of your business emerge.
Understanding the Time Management Structure
The first rule of the time management structure is to comprehend that one shouldn’t waste their time in trying to solve everything at once. It’s about finding out how to augment the quality of the work done within a given time frame.
Secondly, creating a routine is nothing to be afraid of. You probably became a store owner to say goodbye to the banality of a day-to-day life, but constructing a habit can save you money and reduce your working hours.
Lastly, a key to hold the balance between time and work is knowing your long-term goals. If you’re uncertain what your goals are, how can you even think of a plan for their realization?
You can start by setting your priorities straight and figure out what kind of tasks are ahead of you. Demanding or „urgent and important“ tasks are the ones you would want to schedule for later or completely break away from, e.g. customer support and website maintenance. Even though the customer support part looks non-essential, it can be the sole cause of your business’ collapse.
The statistics speak for themselves. According to RightNow, 89% of shoppers stopped using a certain online store after they’ve experienced poor customer service. What is more, those same customers are 4 times more likely to go to your competitor’s website if the problem they have is service-related than price- or product-related.
The second category are the „not urgent but equally important“ tasks. They include the work you should be spending more time on. It can be the optimization of the website structure or expanding to another web page or an eCommerce platform.
The optimization and reorganization of the website structure can improve the user experience. When people see you put your effort into delivering the best service, they will gladly come back.
The last type of tasks are the „non-urgent“ tasks. After you’ve determined what are your most important tasks, it is time to establish what the „non-urgent“ ones are. Petty changes to the website design, such as the color of a shopping cart icon can represent those irrelevant tasks. Be sure to spend as little time as possible on those tasks or try eliminating them from your schedule entirely. (Because these decisions could’ve been integrated into „not urgent but equally important“ tasks in the first place).
Time Control Mistakes
The time control mistakes that an online seller makes can be divided into 5 main categories:
Taking on too much work
Ideally, your work equals your capabilities… Until the time factor sneaks in. Unfortunately, when a day lasts 24 hours and you’re certain you could make use of twice as much, you end up taking on too much and causing yourself stress and ineffectiveness. The solution to this mistake is to set limits on your own expectations and learn to say no.
Poor planning may be the whole point of this article, but once again… If you tend not to think things through, it can lead you straight to nowhere. On the other hand, too much planning can disrupt your whole system with numerous tiny regulations you set for yourself. Solve this by taking a piece of paper and writing the issues you have.
Complicating the management system
This mistake is directly connected to the latter, and your complicated time management system may work for you. Nothing wrong with that. But what if this kind of method makes it hard for your employees? Try clearing and simplifying the management structure so everyone can smoothly keep up with the workflow.
A small number of people can execute multitasking effectively. If you’re not among them, don’t even bother trying to do everything at once. Multitasking can severely damage your management scheme because, at the same time you work on something, you’re distracted by another problem. Make use of doors and shut them once in a while to create a silent workspace where you can deal with one trouble at a time.
The last and probably the worst mistake when running an eCommerce business is to procrastinate. A perfect guiding light could be this simple quote: „The work you do while you procrastinate is the work you should do for the rest of your life.“ But not every entrepreneur can say their hobbies made them a fortune. So for your own sake, try not to postpone the tasks that fall under the category of the demanding ones. Ever.
How to Successfully Manage Time
It is expected that in 2017, 46.5% of all Internet users will be purchasing goods online. The time management could assure you run a profitable business. Following are the key points in managing time successfully.
Define the activities you’re supposed to do
The aforementioned demanding tasks should be at the top of your list. Since any high-priority work takes patience, you would want to break it down into smaller activities which are much easier to handle. In between the smaller activities there should be breaks off work. It is scientifically proven that the overall performance increases after breaks.
Place the activities in order
Your schedule should align the smaller activities in order. You can coordinate them by weight of the work and the expected delivery time. The ones that can be done in minutes should be put at the end of the list. Placing the activities in order lets you control them without difficulty. Also, they don’t get mixed up.
Estimate the resources and the duration of each activity
Without an estimation of the resources, all of the efforts put into the action planning could’ve been for nothing. The resources needed vary according to the duration for executing each step. Unfortunately, a day lasts only 24 hours and you have to implement all the work in those 24 hours.
Find the right software
This one may be the most important key factor for modern entrepreneurs and startup founders. Finding the right software is fundamental to the entire eCommerce system to function. Not only it offers the security and the marketing tools for running an online store, but also it can help you manage the steps you already sequenced.
In the sea of eCommerce platforms out there, you would want to choose the one that offers the most features for your long-term goals. These platforms allow you to handle your online store directly within the software. The platform usually manages everything from adding products to the store to the checkout process.
On the other hand, if you use your own website to sell the goods, some of these tools can come in handy:
Google Calendar – You can keep track of your activities with this simple tool that is accessible from your own phone. It also syncs the information to the cloud storage.
Basecamp – This user-friendly software helps you create and edit lists for a price of $20 a month.
Evernote – Software that enables you to make to-do lists and saves your documents and notes, even the handwritten ones. It is accessible from any device and you can get the Basic version for free.
Follow the schedule and review the progress
The last crucial step is to exactly follow the plan. If you stray away from it, the path can become much harder and it can lead to bad consequences. When you cannot define the activities you’re supposed to execute, you cannot even start the time management routine.
Every now and then, track and review the progress of your method to see whether if functions the way you imagined it. In case it needs improvement, estimate what kind of improvement is it and how much time will it take to resolve it.
While many eCommerce sellers turn away from the thought of making the attempt to organize all of their obligations and engagements, others gladly utilize modern technology to minimize the risk of wasting the time they are given.
Let’s revise. Identify the activities you’re supposed to do, place them in order, estimate the resources and the duration of each one, find the right software and stick to the plan. Only that way you can successfully manage time in an online market.
Managing time in eCommerce businesses can look quite frightening at first, but once you get hold of how it works, only the sky is the limit.
This is a guest post from Lea Kuscer. Lea Kuscer is a writer and online marketing developer for Payever and enjoys gathering and sharing information about the newest trends in technology. Apart from doing word craft, she is relaxing her mind by traveling, painting and creating natural cosmetics and eco-friendly jewelry.