Smart Business

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Channel 7’s My Business Efficiency guru, Clayton Oates, tours Australia wide teaching business owners how they can buy time. I caught up with him to find out more:

What do you find are the common challenges to business?
For small business owners they start up on their own, they’re in charge of marketing, sales, customer relations and getting the finances done. They only have 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, but they have to remember Bill Gates has the same number of hours and look at his business. It’s time, you can’t buy it, you can’t manufacture it and you can’t save it for later, it’s what you do with it that counts.

So how can they get everything done?
Start by overcoming the misconception that they have to do it all themselves.

Put in an accounting system to do the bookwork efficiently. A lot of small businesses repeat inputting of information. Paying bills on line is great but then re keying the information into book work isn’t. Standard accounting software can perform the task and you only have to enter the data once.

Payroll is another key area where you can save time. I recently set up a Ballina companys’ payroll which they had always done manually. They found it a great investment because what used to take 1 and a 1/2 days a month now takes just 45 minutes. That’s saving them more than 10 hours of priceless business time a month.

How important is the role of technology in helping business become more efficient?
It’s vital. Business tools that traditionally have been the domain of big business are now available to small business and the take up is increasing. Take broadband for example, it’s now accessible to all.

What about the resources to research new technology, it can be time consuming and confusing?
The key is to get in touch with someone who has already done it. It might be your most successful customer, it might be another business owner you meet at networking events. There are also consultants who specialise in helping small business, who are accredited by various software companies.

So what kind of budget are we talking about?
You need to commit some funds, but you don’t have to break the bank. The software is under $500 and the cost of setting up to suit your business up to another $1000. Over a year that’s just $30 a week and it will save you at least 3 hours a week, it’s a no brainer.

So what makes a business succeed?
The businesses we see that really get on and get things done are the ones that have an openness and willingness to learn from all sources. They also invest in themselves and their business.
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