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Small businesses are time poor. It’s not a secret and there’s plenty of research to back it up. Business admin and jumping through red tape often means that small business owners are unable to take the time to think as strategically as they’d like, so it’s important that when the opportunity arises, it’s taken.

It’s a leap year – hurrah, one extra day on 29 February in the office to catch up… but, whilst many business owners may be tempted to use it as an opportunity to address the stacks of invoices or expenses piling up, I’d suggest otherwise. This opportunity only occurs once every four years – and you should treat it like gold dust. Use it as an opportunity to fine tune your strategy, get away from the office and check in with your team. Here are my top tips for making the most of those precious extra hours.

  1. Change is as good as a break: It’s February, the blues have hit and the majority of people are down in the dumps, probably not feeling their most inspired or productive – why not use the leap day to change the scenery and inspire your employees? They chose to work for your company for a good reason and you need them to continue to feel inspired, by investing time in checking in with your team, you will help to achieve greater results for your business as a whole.
  2. Time to reflect: Every business should have a strategy – if you don’t have one, use the extra day to sit down and start to create one. Whilst you might have a good understanding of where you want to drive the business, you need your team to be on board too – clarity = productivity. If you already have one, review it and monitor your progress; having a clear understanding of your business’s positioning from a financial, brand, and business development point of view is absolutely essential.
  3. Tools of the trade: Take the opportunity to consider ways of streamlining your business – being time poor, are there any tools that you can utilise to help you save time on business admin or management? Whilst it may seem like an investment, consider the money you’ll gain in time saved and do the maths. With constant digital advances you’ll discover some nifty tools that can really help to reduce menial tasks.
  4. Hark back: Often the key to looking into the future of your business is to learn from lessons of the past – don’t be afraid of pinpointing key growth trends and developments; be it considering web hits via Google Analytics or looking at sales trends. Once you have a good understanding of the influencing factors that are impacting your business, you can approach mapping out future forecasts with a little more insight.
These are just a few ideas to help small business owners make the most of the extra hours. The most important thing is to ensure you use the time constructively – step away from your desk and think about the bigger picture. We’re all guilty of not being able to see the wood for the trees; the leap day can help to provide you with the time you need to look at the bigger picture and plan for business success.

By David Sunter, Business Development Manager at Stonebridge Offices