If there's one thing small business owners are lacking, it's time. Between hiring, training, payroll and almost every other aspect of the business, not much time is left for the other things life has to offer.
Because of this, small business owners need to be masters of time management. Knowing when to bow out and let someone else handle business aspects, and knowing when you are absolutely the only person who can handle it, could be the difference between being home for dinner and just catching the news.
1. Empower your employees
Business owners must learn to let go of the day-to-day tasks that are taking up their time to focus on the big picture, said Pugh.
"They should take a hard look at what they're spending the most time doing every day and then think about what they should be doing," he said. "Whatever doesn't fall into the 'should be doing' category needs to be reassigned to a staff member."
Not only does delegation let you focus on larger business issues, but it also empowers your employees by letting them take on tasks normally assigned to the boss, Pugh said.
2. Collaborate in the cloud
Pugh advised taking the time to navigate cloud solutions that help organize business communications and documents to save valuable time when dealing with projects.
"Applications like Google Docs allow business owners to collaborate in real time with employees, while Evernote allows business owners to take notes on the go," he said. "There are thousands of simple, effective solutions available to the business community that can help save time."
2. DIY (when it makes sense)
For a small business owner, it's tempting to do everything. However, since time is money, it is important they recognize when it's better to hire someone for a specialized task than to spend hundreds of hours doing it themselves, said Pugh.
However, outsourcing should be the last step, said Meisel. You need to first look at optimizing the processes in your business as it is, he said; then, you can look at automation.
"Today we can automate things usually for free, and it's completely scalable and error-proof now, before we even have to hand it off — things like transcription, social media posting and distribution, even the mechanics of how a sale is handled online and adding a client to a mailing list," Meisel said.
4. Take care of yourself
Research shows that business owners are the most productive when they are happy and healthy, so it's important to give themselves a few hours each day to relax and turn their brains off of business.
Meisel suggests trying to put yourself in a situation where you can move a lot. In general, people need to move and to hydrate. Those things in general will help you recharge. Meditation or built-in exercise reminders are also ways to get in a quick refresher to be able to move on with your day effectively.
Additional reporting by Chad Brooks. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.