Mr. Penn’s message cuts to the core of every entrepreneur, especially among the creative community. (I am guilty!)
It’s easy to get lost in the distractions. Netflix has this awesome documentary series called “Abstract: The Art of Design”. My urge to binge watch could very well consume me, but then that would be considered a “worst” use of time, however inspiring.
Being consumed by these distractions is quite hazardous to the productivity and profitability of our firms. I’ll dub it “The Art of Going Nowhere Fast!” Time management truly is key to nipping the consumption in the bud!
The internet is full with wisdom on time management, so I’ll spare you. (But please, start with a plan!) Instead I’d like to focus on two key elements that will give you more time to manage for a profitable business: Automation and Delegation.
Automate your architecture firm.
If there is a way to complete your mundane, repetitive, non value-added tasks better, I implore you to jump on it! You have a lot on your plate! Setting automated systems in place helps eliminate the time spent on mundane tasks, giving you more time to work on your passion! Below are just a few tools to help you automate your firm.
Need to schedule a prospective client? Acuity Scheduling gives your client the ability to select an agreeable time that works for both parties. Once booked, you each receive an email confirming the date of your meeting and both calendars are updated. It’s a pretty nifty tool to eliminate the back and forth scheduling.
You need a fully integrated accounting structure that can tackle your firm’s financial responsibilities. No questions asked! Cloud-based accounting software programs like Xero are robust yet user-friendly, encompassing all the major reports needed to keep you on the road to success! My urge to go over the major features is strong. Perhaps in another post. For now we’ll focus on how it saves time.
It eliminates data-entry with automated bank feeds and bank rules for smooth reconciliation.
No need to drive back to the office for updates, invoicing, or reports. You’re able to access your information at bank-level security anytime, anywhere using your mobile devices.
Get paid faster with invoicing options. It even tells you whether or not the client received the invoice, eliminating excuses for non-payment!
Integrates with other software solutions that enhances the spirit of an automated firm. Take WorkflowMax (WFM) for example. This project-management tool is an automated beast in and of itself. Easy time tracking, harmonious billing (quote-project-invoice), transparency for both the firm and clients, just to name a few. When you integrate WFM with Xero, the information automatically pushes through to the accounting software eliminating the need for double entry. Brilliant!
Hubdoc is a neat tool for document management. No need to chase statements or bills or shuffle through shoe boxes of receipts. For instance, you can take a photo of a receipt and the extracted information is stored into Hubdoc. When synced with your major accounting software, the extracted information is pushed through seamlessly to eliminate double entry!
Use Roboform for password management to help you unlock your automated systems. A handy instrument to keep your sanity!
Automation can help you save a great deal of time, and yet, it has its limitations. It doesn’t replace the art of thinking, analyzing, or communicating. Who will study and teach these systems? Who will set them up and keep them running? Does this not take up more of my time? Here is where the art of delegation comes to play!
Delegate tasks and responsibilities.
You can only do so much as an architecture entrepreneur. Share those tasks and responsibilities with those who do it better. Delegation contributes to your firm’s growth, shifting your focus to services that adds value to your clients.
For instance, a graphic designer can help with your promotional needs. And a great bookkeeper can keep your financial activities updated and provide the clarity you need to make better business decisions. Sure, you can handle both of these roles but is it the best use of your time?
A word of caution. Make sure you share tasks and responsibilities with those you can trust. The consequences of blind delegation is not only time consuming but hazardous to your firm’s financial growth. The most time spent in delegation should be at it’s foundation. Build relationships, establish clearly defined responsibilities and outcomes and ensure systems of accountability to strengthen trust in your partners.
It’s clear to see how automation and delegation creates desired time. Once these systems are set in place you may find yourself completing project phases sooner. Instead of wasting your weekends on the mundane, use the time to meet and greet prospective clients in your community. Any way you spin it, wise use of the extra time contributes to the growth of your firm as you focus more on the what you love to do!
How are you automating and delegating tasks in your firm? What would you do with the extra time?