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A Time-Management Case Study: The Team Approach Ignites Elsewhere

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RISMEDIA, Jan. 17, 2008-(MCT)-On any given day, Michael Lemieux could be on site setting up tents for a wedding or at his store, Ray Rents, ensuring delivery deadlines are being met.

Ray Rents, which he co-owns with brother David, rents and sells equipment for the home, construction projects and special events.

For small business owners like Lemieux, wearing several different hats is common. With only so many hours in the day, figuring out how to manage your time effectively to complete significant tasks is where the challenge lies.

For Lemieux, time management takes assistance. That’s why it’s key for him to have a responsible team of managers and employees.

“I can’t handle every task,” he said. “I have to delegate that and let them have it and let them go with it… You’d work 75 hours a week if you didn’t have those people.”

So Lemieux hands off responsibilities to different people at the business. For example, his accountant will handle correspondence, letters, special orders and more. The business’ event coordinator handles event inquiries, linen orders and works with customers to match equipment with events.

When it comes to the business itself, Ray Rents employees keep track of deadlines for delivery and maintenance on an events schedule board.

For special events like weddings and festivals, Ray Rents offers rentals for tents, tables, chairs and other party equipment.

Staffers will usually go out to the site at least two months in advance to check out what they are working with.

“A lot of people like to get their planning out of the way because a lot of things can come up along the way,” Lemieux said. “There are more event details than just us.”

Decorators and caterers, for example, rely on Ray Rents to have equipment set up so they can do their job, Lemieux said.

One-man band

When Reggie Luther established software and Web site development company Tracsoft in November 2005, he was a one-man band.

It wasn’t until June 2006 that he hired his first employee. So for the time in between, he handled tasks by himself.

Luther said he manages time by prioritizing.

“As a small business, you’re doing so many tasks that you’ve got to manage your time well to make sure you’re doing the most important task,” he said.

He also groups his tasks together based on context, or where he is.

“What are the things I need to do while I’m in my office?” he said. “What are the things I need to do when I’m by my phone?”

Luther said it has worked pretty well for him. Sometimes it requires him to merge his business and personal life. For example, if he is driving to get lunch and needs to pick up something for the business, he will stop by to get it.

Today, he has three employees. He hands off certain projects to one employee, while the rest work on programming and coding at the office.

“My biggest challenge is trying to make sure I’m working on the things that are most important,” Luther said. “There are so many things to do and you may not get them all done, so you need to make sure you do the things that are most important.

“Know what you’re shooting for,” he added. “So then whenever you’re trying to lay out your tasks, it’ll be easier to focus.”

Efficient with customers

For David Epperly, owner of Tire Pro in Columbus, managing time for customers is important as well.

The Goodyear tire dealer services vehicles at two locations –one on Milgen Road and the other on Whittlesey Boulevard.

“We get, as you can imagine, lots of demand for cars to get out quickly,” Epperly said. “Customers don’t like to wait. Everybody’s pressed for time. Even though we have nice waiting areas and we have popcorn for them and drinks, they don’t like to wait.”

That’s why the dealer is in the process of implementing a service called “The Fast Lane.” The Fast Lane places a 15-minute wait or less guarantee for services such as flat tire repairs, oil changes and tire installation.

Up to three auto technicians will team up to complete the job in 15 minutes or less. The service should be in place at both locations by spring.

Epperly said he makes sure time is managed effectively by having enough employees on hand.

“We have extra staff just to get the cars in and out on a daily basis,” he said.

Copyright © 2008, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Ga.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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