5 Essential Small Business Development Tips for Canadian Businesses

hand stacking blocks with words relating to small business development

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‘Growth is never by mere chance, it’s the result of forces working together.’ — James Cash Penney

Are you spending too much time working IN the daily operations of your business and not enough time working ON small business development?

A lot of people believe that if they are just working all the time, they are doing the right thing. However, this is not the case. In fact, many small business owners are spending too much time working in their daily business operations and not enough time working on their small business development. This can be a problem because if you don’t work on your business, you may end up losing it. You’ll certainly not be able to scale it. 

In other words, if you want to make more money in your business then you need to spend less time doing administrative work and more time working on small business development. It is very important to make sure that you are working on your small business development every day, even if it is just for an hour or two a day. If you don’t work on your small business development then it will eventually grow stagnant and stop growing.

There are a few things you can do to help your small business grow, such as creating new products or services, expanding into new markets, and increasing the amount of revenue you generate. By doing these things, you’ll ensure that your business keeps moving forward and doesn’t stagnate.

Time Management

clipboard with time management list and alarm clock on yellow background

Time management is a crucial component of small business development. You need to set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. According to Time Management Expert Virginia Cunningham, “The biggest time waster is trying to do too much.” That’s why it’s so important to set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. When you know what you can realistically accomplish in a day, you can better manage your time. This will also help you determine if you need to make adjustments in how you spend your time with your business.

Here are six tips for setting boundaries and managing your time so you can focus on your small business development:

Set realistic goals

Don’t try to tackle too many big projects at once. By breaking down your goals into manageable steps, you can stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Maintain a daily list of your tasks and be sure to cross items off as you complete them. I use Trello to manage my goals. It allows me to set an overarching goal and outline each step.

Commit to a regular schedule


“A 40-hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.”
— Cal Newport, author of Deep Work

Many business owners struggle with this because they are constantly busy and don’t have a set schedule. I use time-blocking to achieve this. I set up time blocks in my Google Calendar so I stay on track each day. Time-blocking is an effective way to ensure you set up your day in the most effective manner possible. Be sure to block out time for working IN your day-to-day business operations and working ON your small business development. I spend Mondays on small business development plus an hour each weekday.

Use timers

Setting a timer can be helpful in meeting deadlines, but it also reminds you to take breaks when needed. If you don’t take regular breaks, your small business development suffers because your mind and body aren’t fresh to come up with new ideas and strategies.

I have a sit/stand desk but if you’re sitting all day, set a timer to remind you to get up every hour and walk around and stretch for a couple of minutes. This will help you to be more focused when you get back to your desk, which will help you accomplish your tasks more effectively.

Choose a time management system that works best for you

Some people love to write everything down the last thing in the evening or first thing in the morning, and others prefer to jot down their ideas as they go. Some prioritize tasks based on urgency, while others like to assign a high priority to the most important items first. Try to find what works for you, and use it. 

Set aside time each day for creativity

According to studies, people who try to set aside a block of time each day for creativity are more likely to be successful than those who don’t. People are more creative when they allow themselves at least 20 minutes of uninterrupted thinking time. You’d be surprised how much this can improve small business development.
 

Remove tasks, processes, tools and systems that you don’t need

Do an audit of your business to determine what needs to stay and what can go. You will save a lot of wasted time in the long run so you have more time to spend on your small business development. Check out my article on decluttering your business for more tips on this. 

Delegation

You can’t do it all if you are going to have a successful business. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start delegating tasks.

Think about which tasks are too difficult or time-consuming for you to do yourself. Identify people who could potentially help out with those tasks. If there’s nobody in your current network or company, you’ll need to hire someone or outsource it.

Not only is it difficult to know what to delegate, but it’s also difficult to let go. I think this might be the main reason some business owners can’t grow their businesses. Learning to let go and trust someone else is a skill that can be developed. Start slowly by delegating a task that is simple and repetitive that doesn’t require your time and attention. This is an imperative step in small business development.

Also, while you can expect good work from employees and contractors, don’t forget that nobody is going to have as much invested in your business as you so you can’t expect them to work as hard or be as diligent as you are. That being said, there may be tasks that you aren’t as diligent with or care about. Those are great tasks to delegate.

Goals

SMART goals

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.’ — Albert Einstein

Now more than ever, businesses need to have specific goals in order to grow. Without goals, businesses can drift and become unproductive. When setting goals, you need to be specific. If you are vague about what your goal is, it will be difficult for you to reach it. You will waste energy on things that are not important, and you may never be able to scale your business.

You need to set SMART goals. What is SMART goal setting? You should ask yourself the following questions when setting your goal: What is my goal? What am I trying to achieve? In what way am I going to achieve it? When do I want to achieve it?

Specific

What is your goal and why do you want to achieve it? Make it specific so that you know exactly what your goal is and there is no room for doubt. It will not only be easier to achieve your goal but it will also help to make it measurable which brings us to the next criteria.

Measurable

A measurable goal is a goal that can be quantified in some way. This means that you can track its progress and determine whether or not you’ve reached your goal. Measurable goals are important because they help you stay focused and achieve your objectives. They also make it easier to assess where you stand and what needs to be done in order to reach your ultimate destination.

Achievable

Is this goal within your reach based on your current situation? Do you have the resources or the ability to obtain the resources needed for this venture? If the answer is ‘no’ there is no point in setting this as a goal as you will fail.

Realistic

If you set unrealistic goals, it will only lead to failure and disappointment. You will lose motivation and eventually give up on your goal. If you set a goal that is too ambitious, it will be hard to achieve.

Timely

Set your goal to happen within a certain time frame. If you do not set a time frame, there is no way of knowing when you need to perform each task in order to reach the goal. Your chances of achieving the goal are slim.

SMART goal setting example:

Goal: I want to increase revenue in my small business.

Specific: I will increase revenue in my small business by delegating some of the work.

Measurable: This will be complete once I’ve increased the revenue by 10%.

Achievable: Now is a good time to work towards the goal as I have reached my capacity to increase revenue on my own.

Realistic: This goal is realistic because I own the business and can make the appropriate decisions and take the proper steps without resistance.

Time-bound: This goal will be reached within one fiscal year.

Without goals, you have no clear destination in your small business development. 

Planning

notebook with business plan and colourful brainstorming

‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’ — Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Planning is key to success when you manage a small business. Once you know what your goals are, planning is the next step. Some people view planning as a time-waster when in reality, every 10 minutes spent planning saves an hour of your precious time. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of planning when you’re managing a small business. In fact, without careful planning, your business could quickly spiral out of control.

Writing a business plan, even if you don’t require funding is the best way to organize and document your thoughts and research. I’m developing a business plan writing guide for beginners to walk you through the process. If you’d like to know when it is available, sign up for updates here

Plan your time and activities for the week ahead. This will help you work smarter by eliminating unnecessary tasks and meetings. I also use Trello for day-to-day planning. I create a board for each client or project and set up tasks with due dates. I set up a specific time each week for planning. If I miss that time, my week is chaotic. There is a notable difference. 

Small businesses are unique in that they are constantly evolving and changing. This means that the way a business is operated today may not be the same tomorrow. To ensure that your small business remains healthy and sustainable, it is important to have a plan in place. A well-planned business allows for smooth sailing through inevitable changes, while also allowing you to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. 

Systems

The word 'system' in red with words relating to system all around it

Time is precious in any business, but especially in a small one. By managing systems and processes carefully, businesses can save time and resources that can be put to better use.

Here are six systems that will help you run your business more efficiently:

A system for tracking your income and expenses


This will help you keep track of how much money you’re making and where it’s going. This will help you save money and stay on budget. This is the most important area of your business. If you don’t have a plan for bookkeeping, you’ll have no way of tracking the success of your business. Quickbooks Online is a great platform if you want to continue to do your own bookkeeping. You’ll save several hours of time each month. 


If your business is losing money, you won’t know unless you have a regular bookkeeping strategy. If you don’t have time to keep up, you need to delegate it to someone who does. Hiring a bookkeeper is usually the first thing a small business owner does to delegate essential tasks. To learn more about why you should hire a bookkeeper, read my article ‘
12 Important Ways Hiring a Bookkeeper Can Help Your Small Business Succeed’.

A system for organizing your files

If your business relies on paperwork, having a system for organizing your files is essential. This way, everything is easy to find when you need it and there’s no clutter getting in the way of productivity. Check out my infographic on how to organize your business paperwork for bookkeeping.

If you haven’t already, you need to move towards digitally filing your important documents. There are many benefits to this. You won’t lose your documents to a fire or flood. It’s much more difficult to lose your documents. If you have a good file structure, that should never be an issue. It’s easy to share documents with your bookkeeper, accountant, CRA and other team members.

A system for keeping track of customer information

Keeping track of customer information is important if you want to keep track of repeat customers or potential customers. This is also important for keeping track of clients and potential clients. CRM systems – Customer Relationship Management is a system that will help you keep track of your customers. You can use it to keep detailed records of all your customers and keep contact details up to date. e-marketing systems – this is for marketing your business online.

A system for marketing your small business

Small business marketing can be a difficult task, but with the right strategies, it can help your business grow. A small business should be putting around 20% of its time or money into marketing the business. Is your business able to do this? If your business doesn’t have a consistent marketing system, there is no way to succeed.

To be successful, a small business needs to have the right marketing mix. You need a marketing strategy and plan in place. It can be hard for small business owners to spend time and money on marketing. There are so many things that need to be done and so little time. Marketing is something that can be outsourced or delegated.

A system for delegating work

The more important and time-consuming tasks in your business should be handled by someone else. For example, if you are the bookkeeper for your business, you should have someone else do that. You need your time for other things in the business. This person can be a freelancer or an employee.

Know which tasks you are good at and should be done by you and which tasks should be delegated. Have a solid plan for this so there is no confusion.

A system for keeping track of supplies and inventory

Keeping track of supplies is essential for any small business. Not only does it help ensure that there are enough of the right items on hand, but it can also help you keep track of inventory levels and budget restrictions. When done correctly, a supply tracking system can also be a valuable tool for customer service, as it can help you identify issues with stock and provide customers with accurate information about how much product they will need.

Having these systems in place will go a long way towards saving time so you can focus on your small business development. 

Conclusion

Managing your time is essential to the success of your business. You need to delegate work, set goals, and plan your week in order to make the most of your time. You also need to set up systems so that you can automate tasks and free up more of your time. By doing these things, you can focus on your small business development so you can take it to the next level. Start implementing steps one at a time and wait until it’s become a habit. Then move on to the next one. 

It can be tempting to spend all of your time working on the operations of your business and neglecting small business development. However, this can lead to decreased profits and missed growth opportunities. When you are consistently focused on growing your company, it becomes easier to identify new opportunities and increase revenue. By investing in small business development, you can create a more sustainable future for your company.

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Treana Wunsch

Treana Wunsch

Volleyballer, dog mom, Feng Shui buff, and minimalist wannabe. Treana is obsessed with simplifying processes for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

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Dan Richards
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