Business Owner Life Hacks

  • By Stu Smith
  • Published 1/31/2016

My life was chaotic to say the least. While every day was different, it was at least predictable that I would be busy.  As a business owner, my days went something like this:

  • 7:30am: Wake up & Check email in bed
  • 7:45am: Check through the company social accounts.
  • 8:00am: Shower
  • 8:25am: Breakfast and responding to emails
  • 9:00am: Drop off the kid at Preschool while talking to a vendor.
  • 9:15am:  Check in at the office with the team. Oh, surprise… more emails
  • 10am - Noon: Client meetings & calls
  • Lunch: Huddled at the desk with more emails. They’re multiplying. 
  • 1:00 - 1:05pm: Contemplate a career change
  • 1:06 - 2:00pm: Finally give my team the answers they were asking for from the morning. 
  • 2:00pm - 4:00pm: Brand pitch with a new client. It goes great, so…
  • 4:00pm - 6:00pm: Drinks with our new, happy client
  • 6:30pm: Dinner with the family. Oh hey.. a text from a client!
  • 7:30pm: Feats of strength against a toddler who acts like they’ve never slept. 
  • 9:00pm: Finally out of the Bedtime Vortex™ and off to Netflix and email. 
  • 11:15pm: The last email is out, catch Fallon’s monologue and it’s time for sleep. 

The point of this whole silly thing above is just to point out how silly it is. Business owners can probably count on one hand the number of hours of downtime they had during a given week. Since I’m sure I’m not alone in this, I thought I’d share a few tools that I’ve found to be overwhelmingly helpful.  

Bench
I’m a creative. My brain doesn’t exactly long for the embrace of problems with numbers attached to them. My guess is, unless you’ve intentionally started a finance focused business, you’re probably like me. Bench is an awesome service that takes on the burden of small business bookkeeping so you as an owner can focus on doing the work that adds to your bottom line, rather than add stress to your day. Check it out and stop doing the part of your job that you dread.

www.bench.co

Fancy Hands
When you’re running the business, things inevitably fall through the cracks despite your best efforts. I remember a time where I missed a meeting with a client because I simply hadn’t written down the appointment. He was rightfully annoyed, but I used Fancy Hands to deliver a bottle of his favorite wine to his office as an apology within two hours of the misstep. In their words, they just “get things done.”

www.fancyhands.com

Favor
Shared times over a meal or coffee are sacred moments to me. I like to be intentional about selecting the quality of what is consumed based on the environment and who I’m with. One of my favorite things to do for clients was to have their favorite coffee, from their favorite shop, waiting for them at every key meeting. To pull this off on my own would take 30 minutes. Favor, on the other hand will deliver you anything from any of your favorite restaurants.

www.favor.com

Sanebox
If you couldn’t tell from my timeline above, email was a big part of my life as a design studio owner. I’ll go out on a limb and say that most small businesses spend a good part of their day playing email whack-a-mole.  Sanebox helps to remove the noise in your inbox by pulling out things that aren’t important to your everyday functions. We love West Elm mailers, and with Sanebox you have access to them while keeping them from crowding out important messages. 

www.sanebox.com

Streak
On top of your regular email tasks, keeping tabs on your contacts, sales, deal flow and hiring can be exhausting. You could go out and get Sales Force, which is great, but it’s oftentimes overkill for a small business. Streak takes care of all of these functions, right in your inbox. It is invaluable. 

www.streak.com

Bond
Getting a handwritten note in the mail these days is such a novel thing. You can instantly brighten someone’s day by showing up in their mailbox, rather than their inbox. For me, though, remembering to buy stationary and stamps is impossible - and I have the handwriting of a space monkey. Luckily for me, Bond exists. Bond simulates handwriting on top quality paper stocks, and delivers to anyone you want. 

www.bond.co

Worklife
A big problem I had as a business owner was remembering every meeting I had during a given week. Even if I wrote things down during the meeting, that didn’t guarantee that other attendees did. Adding Worklife to my meetings allowed me to digitally track what was agreed upon, who needed to take action and what tasks I had on my plate. 

www.worklife.com




Hopefully these tools are in some way useful to your daily grind. Have another tool that I should add to my list? Email me!

 

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