There are clear benefits of shifting your business to the online world and each year people are getting more and more eager to get a piece of the ever-growing e-commerce cake. In the last decade, the online retail market has been growing steadily, and in the US alone the increase peaked at 16% in 2017, which is its highest growth rate since 2011.
The greater interest in e-commerce has lead to a constant rise in competition. The result is an inevitable segmentation of the market, meaning new companies are building their business strategies around servicing specific niches. This has allowed smaller companies to remain relevant and competitive in the midst of an age where giants like Amazon rule the corporate world. In order to grow their business, entrepreneurs need to focus not only on their consumers, but they also have to look inward and improve the manner in which they organize and conduct their day-to-day business.
One of the key aspects to consider when looking to improve your business is time management. And yes, we are all aware of the classic “time is money” proverb, but the truth is, if you adapt your approach and strategy, the same amount of time can actually bring you more money. It doesn’t really matter the size of the business you’re running, you will always be confronted with similar types of problems that are a result of poorly managed time. Taking on too much work, not planning and organizing the work you can actually do, being riddled with procrastination are things that not allow us to be effective. It all means you and your employees are losing valuable amounts of energy in vain and experiencing more unnecessary stress, two factors which will unavoidably decrease your daily levels of productivity.
Time-Tracking: A Simple, Yet Fruitful Idea
One of the easiest and fastest ways to get a handle on time management is to use time-tracking. Dating back to the 19th century, at least as a method most similar to the one we use today, it’s clear that even though it is not a novel concept, its value has helped it withstand the test of time. Over the last 200 years, people have been building on a simple idea, the results of which have culminated with modern day time-tracking software.
The most important thing you should do before implementing time-tracking to your daily work routines is to address some of the most fundamental questions. Ask yourself how many resources are you willing to invest, which of your companies processes will be affected and how, and how much time will your organization need to get used to the new system. Answering these questions will allow you to create basic guidelines for the implementation, but also help you visualize the bigger picture. If applied correctly, you will be able to save and optimize time, organize and track tasks with ease, and have a better overview of your workflow, all of which will most certainly boost your daily productivity.
Bear in mind that this is not a method close to everyone’s heart, especially if a person is doing creative work. Some may find it invasive or uncomfortable, which only means that the ideas behind implementing this type of approach need to be communicated clearly, all the while highlighting the indisputable new value it will bring to everyone, including the company.
You can find more tips on how to implement time-tracking to your team here!
How Does Time-Tracking Help Your E-commerce
1) It gives you a better understanding of your employees and their work
When you’ve successfully worked through the stereotypes your employees might have about time-tracking, you can now work on building your relationship even further. The benefits will start showing pretty quickly if not instantly, and you will be able to have a better grasp of how the rest of your company comprehends, plans, estimates and in the end actually perform their delegated tasks.
You’ll be able to quickly spot if one of your employees is overextending themselves, if and what adjustments need to be made to their individual workload, and of course, it will give you an objective measurement and cause to give credit where credit is due.
2) It brings a new dimension to your finances and allows for precise invoicing
Having a more accurate assessment of how much time it takes to complete a specific task or project, combined with the hourly work rates of the people involved, will allow you to determine if the work done by your team is profitable to the company, and exactly by how much.
Invoicing is another essential part of running an e-commerce business, and with time-tracking put in place, you will no longer see it as a chore, and therefore be able to focus on the fresh insight it will bring to you and to your customers as well. All of this new-found information will definitely help, but you’ll still need to make sure you’re doing your invoices properly.
3) It provides you with a way of closely assessing and optimizing current processes
Some ideas work on paper, but when we try to put them into practice, we encounter a world of trouble. With information gained through time-tracking, you will be able to pinpoint processes that are faulty, ineffective or inapplicable and implement fresh ones which are more suitable, in their stead. Furthermore, you will also wield a powerful tool that will help you predict similar issues, and adjust future strategies accordingly.
4) It allows you to stay up to date with all of the aspects of your e-commerce
Modern-day project management is relying heavily on time-tracking methods and tools, and the available software tends to go beyond that and provide you with all sorts of additional information and possibilities. But one of the main perks is definitely that you will be able to stay in the loop and be aware of the progress made on all levels of the company, at any time. This means you’ll spend a lot less time in meetings, and you’ll have more energy to take on new challenges.
Looking inward and focusing on how to optimize the way you conduct your business will become even more important for e-commerce as time goes on. The more accurate data you have about your processes, the easier it will be for you to adapt. Remember, time-tracking is primarily there to give you a new perspective along with valuable information. The biggest rewards will appear when you figure out how to use that information to improve your operations.
About the author
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.