10 Tips for Time Management in Direct Sales
It seems there are usually more things to do then there are hours in the day. With busy schedules and busier lives important things often get forgotten or pushed aside until it’s too late to do them. Time management is essential in all areas of life, especially if you’re running a direct sales business from your home. The ten steps below are geared to direct sales consultants but can be carried over to other careers or parts of life as well.
When you choose tasks that need to be accomplished it’s important to set priorities. The most important tasks have a greater priority over less important tasks. Set certain a amount of time for each task. To start out with, you need to determine what needs to be accomplished. So get out your PDA or pen and paper and let’s begin.
1. The first step is to set your priorities for the day. What are the important things you need to accomplish for the day, what can be accomplished the day after, etc.? Create a list of things that must be completed that day. The top of the list will have the most important tasks; the bottom of the list will have tasks that can be accomplished within a day or two. After you have created your list jot down how much time each task will require.
2. Prepare for the next day the night before. It’s a good idea to create your to-do list the night before so when you get up early you can focus on the tasks that need to be accomplished that day. Alternatively, you can get up an hour or so early to do this, but typically the night before works best.
3. Next, set the operating hours for your business. This means determining what hours you’ll answer emails, contact potential clients, contact your sales force, advertise and update your website, etc.
4. Take notes. Throughout the day take notes of what needs to be accomplished whether in your PDA, or on paper. When you create a list of tasks to accomplish for the next day, it will be easier with your list in hand.
5. Take the time to set up an automatic email system using Constant Contact or Outlook. An automated system will save valuable hours every day. Set autoresponders to send automatic emails of sales and specials to your contact list, receive orders, and set up shipping. Setting up autoresponders once means less time spent on these tasks later on.
6. Get and stay organized. you’ve heard there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. Make that your mantra! It’s important to be able to find what you need when you need it. Organize your office so it’s easy and efficient to find whatever you need. Losing valuable hours searching for business documents, invoices, bills or anything else will cost you valuable time and money.
7. Outsource. If you need help, hire someone to do some of your necessary tasks such as website maintenance, or mailings. It can mean hiring someone privately, using family labor, or working with another business that provides those services.
8. Delegate. It’s important delegate tasks to others in your sales force to help your team be successful. Learn what you can delegate, then let the tasks go and trust your team to accomplish them. If you find you can’t trust someone to do the job you’ve delegated to them, it’s time to consider replacing them with someone you can trust.
9. Set reminders for important dates for your business. This include sales and specials you plan to run, customer birthdays and anniversaries, and the last time a customer ordered from you.
10. Create and use thank you notes. At the end of the day create a list of thank you notes you plan to send to your customers the next day. Then, take a few minutes to fill them out and drop them in the mail the next morning. It’s an important follow-up that your customers will appreciate.
With these easy-to-manage time management tactics, you’re well on your way to becoming more time efficient in your direct sales business operations. Automating a few areas of your business early on will help considerably in the long run.