Time Management – How Do You Spend Your Business Hours?

Most small business owners have at least one shared complaint; there simply isn’t enough time in the day. Why is that? Well mostly it’s because business owners wear too many hats. Accountant, marketing, sales, internet maintenance, employee management, the list goes on and on. What you need is an effective time management system. I have found that implementing just a few minor changes can make all the difference in the world.

· 25% of all small business owners would gladly pay $500.00 per day for just one extra hour

· 40% of business owners take on 3-4 different roles while 30% take on 5-6.

· 50% of business owners find multitasking the most difficult part of their job

· The number one time waiting effort in business is waiting for information, the number two is failure in the lines of communication (see a correlation?)

It seems all of our modern technology created to save time is actually costing us quite a bit of it. Mostly it’s because we tend to stumble through all of our programs in a haphazard fashion. We often do not utilize the full capabilities of our programs that are intended to unify our business and their quality of service tends to suffer for it. We have found that implementing just a few changes can help out tremendously.

Organize Your Schedule and Communication

Use one universal organization program like Microsoft Outlook or Daylight. These integrate calendars, emails, and schedules in one program that can be shared thought the company. Systems like these also enable those in the communications side to be in the loop in and update each other in real time. This way all managers and owners are up to date as to everyone’s itinerary, what needs to be done, what has been done, how long it should take, and who is responsible for the completion of each task.

Set Your Priorities

Step two, prioritize your day. Instead of doing 6 things at once, pick the most important task for the day and focus on that until that is done. Delegate 2-3 hour slots for the rest of your day. You can rotate through several tasks and then at the end of your day, carry the most important unfinished task and set it as your next day’s priority. And revolve through the rest and so on.

Limit Your Email Times

Step three. Stop checking you emails! Reduce email time to twice a day, in 15 minute slots. Say 7 and 5, or 10 and 3. Whatever works, Let people know your time that you check and that you can only respond during those times. You should also reduce your inbox every day to zero. Too much clutter in your inbox clutters your mind. Eliminate all unnecessary newsletters if they are not relevant to your business. Keep personal emails on a separate account and check them at home.

Go Mobile

Mobile Apps are essential. You can utilize time clocks, and integrate your organization programs with you mobile apps. We use daylight which combines all of the most important schedule features, client data and calendars and it also has an iPhone app which we use to link and share date back and forth. We also set timers on all of our tasks to let us keep track of our own productivity.

Combine Your Social Media Pages

Combining your Google plus, Facebook, Twitter, and email list campaigns enables you to update your status and share stories from one location and have it sent to all of your marketing platforms. This will save you a great deal of time and can be done a couple of times a week with relatively little time spent with the added benefit of increasing your content on the search engines.

As long as you’re required to do the job of six people, you might as well combine as many tasks as possible while reducing the amount of time required completing your other tasks. If you use your time and technology wisely and efficiently, you should be able to spend more time on ensuring that your business is running at peak levels without sacrificing your client’s experience.


Native, Web Or Hybrid App – Points of Difference

Before making an investment decision over mobile apps, businesses have to decide between native apps, hybrid apps and web apps.

Here I aim to define and describe the differences between various app categories not only for business owners but also for an app developer!

Which app is best and what are the major points of difference among the three?

Native Apps

They are installed in the device from an application store (such as the App Store, Google Play) and show up on the device as icons. They remain with the device and utilize the device features such as the camera, contact list, accelerometer, the GPS etc.

They are designed and coded to cater to one platform (for a specific device). For instance, iPhone apps are coded in Objective-C and the android apps are coded in Java. Coding apps in this manner helps users to have a responsive user experience and apps are able to integrate standard operating system gestures or new app defined gestures.

Native allow push notifications to be used by the business for real-time information for the users. They keep on functioning offline and can use the device’s alert system. They function in accordance to the design and standards of the platform (either android or iOS) which leads to customer satisfaction.

They are platform specific (an iOS app will not work in an Android platform) due to difference in coding language. A business which seeks to develop an app which is operational in both the platforms would be expensive as it would require creating two different versions(for both platforms). Depending on budget, investment decision can be made to develop an app for single or multi-platform option. Example are Angry Birds, Shazam, etc.

Mobile Web App

They are mobile optimized web pages which are not actually apps but websites. They resemble a native app in look and feel and are ideal when the objective is to make information or features available over a mobile phone and developing native app is not a viable option financially.

Coded in HTML 5, they run on a browser and users access them just like normal web pages. They provide an option of installing them to home screen as a bookmark.
Many websites use HTML 5 to turn their web pages in to web app for users which can appear as appealing as a native app. Example being the mobile optimized web pages of news websites.

Web app has limited functionality and generally requires an internet connection to function. Users can easily forget them unless they run as a constant reminder on their home screen. They do not feature on any app marketplace. With huge daily traffic in the application stores, they miss out on the potential to be discovered as compared to native or hybrid app.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are a combination of native and web app and are downloaded from an App store. Faster and cheaper to develop than the native, they are better than browser-based web app.

They are developed using web technologies which are compatible across multiple platforms and are coded in HTML 5, CSS, and JavaScript. However, for enhanced user experience, sometimes specific native code is also used. Tools like PhoneGap and Secha Touch enable cross-platform designing and coding, by using HTML.

Organizations go for hybrid apps to make their presence in the application store without making significant investment of money or effort in developing a separate application.

However, if the company wants to go too close to a native design, the cost and coding effort would rise making the development difference between a native and hybrid app insignificant. Examples of hybrid app include Facebook, LinkedIn, Banana Republic etc.

Which to Choose

The decision to choose a category of app entirely depends on the client’s need – the best return to his business based on user requirements. If the primary requirement of the organization is to provide content for its readers, a responsive web application would be better. On the other hand, native app would be advantageous for task completion.

A user can decide upon a category depending on the application’s compatibility with device features, need for offline/online task completion, speed factors, ease of maintenance, dependability on platforms, content limitations, ease of installation and fees involved.

Maintaining a web app is much simpler both for the user and the developer as it involves maintaining web pages while native are complicated as developers need to code the same information for multiple versions across different platform.

Application stores pose various limitations on content and design of the application with variability in subscription cost. Web apps, on the contrary are free of content censure and less taxing in terms of cost and time. Hybrid and web apps are comparatively cheaper to develop than native.

If the client’s priority is enhanced user experience compatible with a specific platform, in which a lot of apps are available, it is best to develop a native app. At the same time, even web and hybrid app can provide a good user experience with variation in graphics and visuals.

To conclude, native, web, or hybrid apps are all tools for a mobile user to satisfy variable needs and requirements. There is no specific solution as each category of app has their own strengths and weakness and going for one of them depend on the client’s unique need assessment.