Time Management/Productivity

Although this won't work in every small business, there's one tool that I know some of my small business owner friends can't be without.

A stopwatch.

One of the best parts of quitting the 9-5 day-job is also one of the hardest parts, too: Your business starts at home, sometimes in a spare bedroom or spread across the dining room table (when supper is not being served).

Some small businesses are very customer driving, meaning that you end up reacting to your customers' demands as they come up. Often, these are very reactionary businesses and can be slow for some time and (when you get the service call or the order) quite busy at other times.

Other small businesses, though, are more proactive. These are businesses that usually require you to create something: marketing consultants, freelance writers, musicians, for example, are all business people who have to develop content. And that can be hard when the lure of the television or a sunny backyard pool tempt you.

In fact, one friend swears by his 9-5 day-job. He doesn't love it, but he knows that most of the small businesses he's considered will have him starting at home… and he admits to a television addiction that might keep him from turning a profit.

If your business is a content-driven business, consider getting yourself a stopwatch. Set a goal (for example, an hour of work and a 10 minute break). It sounds funny but it's an easy and
inexpensive way of keeping you on track and focused for longer periods of time.