6 Tips to Successfully Manage a Consulting Business

By MBO Partners | April 7, 2022

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When you start a new business you have to take on many new responsibilities, including administrative duties. As an independent consultant, you’ve chosen a field or industry where you have experience and expertise. While much of your time and energy will be spent working on projects for your clients, there is also  a fair amount of administrative work that you have to do to keep your business moving forward and growing.

The administrative side of managing a small business is important. If you don’t stay on top of tasks, you may quickly find yourself falling behind in responding to emails, bills, or client reports. Staying on top of administrative tasks is critical to keeping your business functioning smoothly. Follow these six tips to manage your administrative work and stay productive.

1. Order Tasks By Priority

If you regularly struggle with managing your time, try starting your day by completing the one task you really don’t want to do. This way, you can get it out of the way. The thing you don’t want to do is often important, or laborious, so it’s nice to check it off your list at the start.

Consider scheduling projects, deadlines, and appointments using an online calendar. Sync this calendar to your phone, laptop, or other electronic devices to remind you when important tasks are coming up. Try scheduling a recurring appointment each day to set aside dedicated time to complete administrative work. Completing a few small tasks each day will help keep them from piling up at the end of the week.

2. Work with Templates

Create a template for every form you use so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you need to send something out. Invoices, proposals, and billing statements have standard forms that you can customize. This way, you simply plug in new information rather than creating a form from scratch or spending time finding an old one to copy.

Think about other tasks you find yourself repeating on a regular basis. Is there a way to automate them? For example, if you receive a lot of the same questions from your clients, consider creating a frequently asked questions page on your personal website that you can direct them to.

3. Re-think Your Approach to Email

Frequently checking your email is often more distracting than useful. Rather than checking your email every hour, set aside a few blocks of time during the day—once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon—to dedicate to email. This method can give you more time to focus on important tasks throughout the day and help increase productivity when you do take the time to organize and respond to messages.

Another idea to try is setting up folders and filters in your email account. This will help you prioritize what emails you respond to and when. Store important contacts and create groups so you can easily access clients you email often.

4. Deal with Mail Right Away

Stay organized and save time by handling incoming mail right away. Rather than letting bills, letters, and documents pile up to sort through later, sort it now. When you get it, read it. If you don’t need it, throw it away or recycle it. File it immediately if it needs to be filed and if there’s any action required on your end, take care of it right away.

5. Keep Up-To-Date Inventories to Limit Errands

By keeping an updated inventory list of the supplies you need, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time you spend running errands. Monitor usage so you can limit trips to once per week or once per month as needed. If you’re able to order supplies online, this can save you a significant amount of time and money as well. If errands are a must, schedule them during down times rather than during peak periods of work.

6. Develop a Filing System

A good filing system can help you stay organized and easily find what you need at a moment’s notice. Keep documents you use the most within reach, and systematically organize and store the rest. When you’re in a pinch and looking for a crucial item, you’ll be glad you organize your workspace ahead of time.

Up Next: 5 Time Management Strategies for Independent Consultants

 

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