In today's globalised business landscape, entrepreneurs are not confined within geographical boundaries. However, as businesses expand across continents, the task of time management becomes daunting. So, how does one optimise productivity in the face of these international business challenges? The key principles remain the same as with any business venture, but certain aspects gain prominence when dealing with multiple time zones. Here, we delve into six actionable strategies.
The power of a unified calendar
In the world of global business, having multiple calendars in different locations only amplifies confusion, leading to missed appointments and lost opportunities. The solution? Embrace an online calendaring tool like Google Calendar or iCal. These platforms offer a central, cloud-based calendar that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, even while jet-setting on international business trips. Providing your team with access ensures smooth coordination, especially when dealing with different time zones.
Harnessing communication tools
In a global set-up, effective communication with remote employees, contractors, and customers is paramount for time efficiency and seamless operations. Tools like GoToMeeting for virtual collaborations, Wrike and Basecamp for task management, and Slack or HipChat for internal team chats ensure that you are always connected and on top of things.
Automation: your productivity booster
The rule of thumb for any global business is to automate wherever possible. Utilising CRM software to store customer details, creating form responses for common queries, and setting up email auto-responders can significantly reduce repetitive tasks and free up your time for more valuable pursuits.
Mastering time zones
Managing different time zones is a unique challenge in global time management. Tools like World Clock Meeting Planner can help you schedule calls or meetings conveniently across multiple time zones. Setting clear expectations for response times with customers or suppliers in different time zones is also crucial to prevent misunderstandings.
Running a small business often involves long working days. In a global scenario, this could lead to a 24-hour work cycle, which is neither feasible nor healthy. Delegating low-value tasks or tasks outside of your expertise to employees or contractors is a wise decision. Virtual workers or freelancers can help provide coverage during your off-hours, especially if they're in the same time zone as your customers.
Partnering with experts
Shipping products internationally can be a complex process, with various regulations and paperwork to navigate. Partnering with a shipping expert who is well-versed in international shipping regulations and practices can greatly reduce your workload and increase your productivity.
In conclusion, the key to global entrepreneurial success lies in efficient time management, effective use of technology, and strategic delegation. As you free up time from handling the operational aspects of your business, you'll be able to focus more on driving growth and expansion.