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4 ways to strike a better a work-life balance

Outsourcing, automating and other steps can streamline work demands

Small business owners generally resign themselves to spending a lot of time at work. How much? It takes an average of 65 hours a week to keep a business running properly, according to a respondents in recent study by online small business lender OnDeck. 

Sixty-one percent of the 300-plus participants said they are perpetually racing against the clock, and 31 percent claimed there weren’t enough hours in the week.

For restaurant owners, the hours can be particularly brutal. 

“Restaurant owners say they arrive at 4 or 5 a.m., and they’re back at midnight to make sure the restaurant is closed down properly. In this segment, it’s less a job and more of a lifestyle,” says Ty Kiisel, head of small business education for OnDeck.

It’s no wonder, then, that half of the survey respondents consider work-life balance an illusion.
 
Small business owners understand that time management skills are essential to owning a business, Kiisel says. He offers these suggestions to streamline some of owners and managers’ most taxing jobs:

1. Get help navigating the web. “If your restaurant doesn’t have a web presence, that’s probably something you should think about doing, but it can be daunting. Who do you hire, do you need graphic designers and a web design company?” Kiisel says. Online tools like Wix and GoDaddy are one-stop shops to help get you started.

2. Manage social media better. Programs like Hootsuite. And complete your restaurant’s profile on Yelp and Google Places to make sure any listings are accurate and up-to-date.

3. Simplify email promotions with applications like MailChimp. “Say you want to celebrate customers’ birthdays,” Kiisel says. “You can automate those types of campaigns with triggers.” Any time you want to automate processes, there are lots of tools and many of them are free or have free versions. There are lots of ways to save time like that.

4. Outsource some administrative tasks. “Lots of small business owners spend tremendous amounts of time on administrative duties,” Kiisel says. “But most small business owners don’t follow their entrepreneurial dream because they’re excited about doing the books, for example.” His tip? Bring in a bookkeeper, or a computer geek, or another specialist as needed. 

What would small business owners do with extra free hours? Most of the participants in this survey (43 percent) said they would spend more time with family and friends. 

OnDeck conducts similar surveys several times a year, and the small business owners polled tend to agree on one matter. “They universally say the challenges of owning and operating their own business are well worth it,” Kiisel says. “And they would do it again.”

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