The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and e-mail lessons. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.
If you could eliminate one task from your business day, what would it be and why?
1. Saying yes to “got-a-minute?’ meetings
By far, the most distracting thing in my daily professional life I’d like to eliminate are “Got-a-minute?” meetings. They take you off track and can potentially crush your daily productivity. Meetings never take only one minute and most of the time are better handled as a cumulation of multiple meetings on a weekly basis. — Kristopher Jones, ReferLocal.com
I spend far more time than I like taking notes about our sales and client activities. I know it’s critical to keep reliable records, but it’s just not as fun as doing the work. — Mary Ellen Slayter, Reputation Capital
3. Scheduling conference calls
The vast majority of the time, conference calls are a complete waste. Whether it’s seven people or just you and two others, they can take up an enormous amount of time without much to show for it. As a solution, follow the Tim Ferriss methodology: Have the participants clearly outline what they want to discuss in writing. Then hold the meeting time to 20 minutes max, and don’t lose control. — Adam Callinan, BottleKeeper
I’ve been working on delegating more of the logistical work in my business so I can focus on strategic planning and the areas where I’m creating unique value. I believe that I’m at my best when I’m operating out of my strengths and empowering others to do the same. — Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E
An obvious answer to this question is e-mail, but for me, it’s a bit more specific: meeting/schedule e-mails. You know, those “I’m available between such and such times, but what works for you?” e-mails. Those threads get huge and usually wind up being a massive time-suck and distraction. A public free/busy calendar can help combat that. — Marcos Cordero, GradSave LLC
I receive approximately 300 e-mails on a daily basis (100,000/year), and a massive part of my day is spent responding to them. It’s my personal code to respond to every email I receive, so that can take a fair bit of time. Having just made the transition to Google Accounts for mail, I’ve been having lots of fun playing with programs such as Mailbox and Airmail to keep my inbox in order. — Noah Glass, OLO
Phone calls are often an inefficient way to connect with people. Email is better for tactics, and meeting in person is better for strategy. — Suzanne Smith, Social Impact Architects
I’m frequently bouncing between different tasks during the day, and the time lost switching from one to the other is a killer. It prevents you from getting in the flow and having a sense of accomplishment. — Peter Baumgartner, Lincoln Loop
9. Sending proposal follow-ups
I know you’ve been there. After a great sales call and proposal request, you attach your masterpiece PDF to an e-mail and send it off. But then … crickets. Although you’ll always need to do a proposal follow-up, I’ve found ways to make it less painful. By using e-mail tools such as Yesware and proposal tools such as TinderBox, you can find out when your proposal is opened and who viewed it. — Matt Hunckler, Verge
I wish there was an app that would instinctively know who I’m meeting with and connect us instantly. I travel often and meet many people, so I have to spend a lot of time tracking them down online and maintaining relationships. When I speak at events, I meet a lot of awesome people, but the day moves so fast that it can be tough to remember which connections I actually want to keep track of. — Brian Wong, Kiip