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The Simple Trick that Saved This Small Business Owner 10 Hours a Week

When I started TEND Strategic Partners in 2006, there was only one person handling the company’s administrative tasks: yours truly.

Like many business owners just starting out, I handled all the emailing, scheduling, planning, and coordinating on my own. But as our reputation grew, more and more people requested time to meet with me.

So, I began using email more frequently. My inbox quickly flooded. Hours were lost to endless replies, and without realizing it I had become buried in the very email chains that were supposed to be keeping my company afloat.

But then I applied a simple change and saved hours every week: I hired a company to handle TEND’s administration – and my calendar.

Change the Rules of the Game

Here’s the biggest change I made: Everyone who wants to meet with me now gets a set of communication rules. In enforcing these rules, I’m tactful but firm. If people want to schedule time with me, I tell them to go through Kristen, my assistant. Or I have Kristen contact them directly.

Now people know that if they want to get in touch with me, there is a method. And the reason they know is that it’s spelled out in the rules. It’s clear, cogent, and above all, communicated.

Hire an “Enforcer”

Communication is one of the critical elements for business success. I’m not the only business owner who finds a benefit in using communication rules; every business owner should build a set of his or her own.

How do they do this? Easy. Hire an “enforcer.”

This enforcer keeps people in line with your rules. Mine is virtual office staff, with Kristen at the helm. Basically, the “enforcer” focuses on gently guiding people to follow the communication rules you’ve set.

With this gate-keeping force in place, you’ll finally have the time to work on important projects and still accomplish the goals of email blasts from the past.

So trash your color-coded email management systems. You’ll have truckloads of time left over, and the time you do spend working will be infinitely better spent.

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About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.


  1. Abby Cahn Anton on 06/02/2014 at 12:14 PM

    Okay, I’m biased – David is my big brother. Nonetheless, he’s truly an all-around great person, and I’m glad to finally see his personal story here. Go, David!!

  2. David Shriner-Cahn on 06/02/2014 at 2:34 PM

    Thanks, Abby. Always nice to hear…and you’re doing great things in your business, http://www.supersimplesuperfoods.com.

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