(ARA) - 'Tis the season to be productive. Summer's over, the kids are back in school, and before you know it, the holiday shopping season will be upon us.
So, there's no time like now to take a closer look at your small business. Are you maximizing efficiencies, or spending too much time on the small things? Are you doing the right things to grow your business? Are you putting off asking yourself the hard questions that may turn around sluggish sales?
There are more than 27 million small businesses in the country, employing about half of U.S. workers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. In fact, between 60 and 80 percent of all new jobs created in our country can be attributed to small businesses. For small businesses to thrive in today's economy, they have to find ways to boost efficiency with limited funding and resources.
Rags-to-riches entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran has built a thriving business from scratch and become a leading expert and author on strategies for business profitability and growth.
"Small business owners wear many hats - from CEO to office manager - and they can't afford to get bogged down in the time-draining details," says Corcoran. "Now is the ideal time for small business owners to streamline their operations and start thinking about how they can best move their business forward."
Here is some of Corcoran's best advice for anyone looking to take a small business to the next level:
* Make a not-to-do list: It can actually be tremendously helpful to sit down and make a long list of all the things you do that amount to nothing. Then, carefully write the not-to-do list on a piece of paper and post it on your refrigerator or desk where you're bound to see it. It will force you to fill in your time with more productive activities that might yield a better return.
* Make a system for everything. A system can be developed for anything - you just have to take the time to set it up once, and it will save you enormous time and boring repetition. For example, small businesses need a simple order fulfillment system. Electronic postage
solutions like those from DYMO Endicia
integrate with your online e-commerce platform and provide one location to store all your customer information, keeping you organized and making shipment processing and mailing fast and simple.
* Stay away from complainers: Whether you're at home or at work, complainers rob you of your energy. They're a lot like the Death Eaters robbing the life from Harry Potter and his good friends. Always distance yourself from the person who whines. Your outlook on life will improve and your energy will soar.
* Get creative: The big guy always has the corner on money but the little guy usually has the corner on creativity. Take some time to sit down and analyze how your rivals are advertising their brand and plan something smarter. One way you can do this is through (free) social media. If you take the time to creatively post and write with honesty and a touch of humor, you will soon build a large following of fans willing to try out your product and brag to their friends.