The one commodity most of us want more of is time. This is especially true in business, when there never seems to be enough time to do everything you want to do to grow your business and keep the home fires burning with your existing client base.

The to-do list always seems to have a few un-checked items on it, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, prospecting for your small business can often be one of those un-checked items and this is one thing you cannot afford to fall by the wayside. If you wait for more time to magically appear in your day, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Here are some ways to make more of the time you have. By maximizing your day, you will be able to fit more prospecting and customer relationship management activities into your day.

1. Make and adhere to a strict prospecting schedule.

Discipline is the key to effective time management. Allocate time to prospecting in an appointment format and set a reminder so you know that is time to stop what you’re doing and focusing on prospecting activities.

2.Track your activities and be accountable for goals.

Every salesperson should set goals for prospecting and customer relationship management. Do you have a way of tracking your activities to see if you’re achieving your goals? Define how many people you will reach out to each day and then analyze whether or not you’ve made that happen. Use a simple CRM and sales tracking application that can help you track your deals and contacts.

3. Find more than one way of reaching out.

Don’t think that prospecting and business development relates to cold calls or face-to-face appointments alone. Other activities can equate to success as well, such as sending out targeted mass e-mail that engage multiple prospects at once. The most important thing to do is to generate action. Most salespeople and small businesses can’t simply sit and wait for the phone to ring.

4. Focus.

When spending time on prospecting and managing your sales pipeline, don’t allow yourself to get distracted by people or technology. Shut the office door, turn off the email, and shut off your mobile phone. Focus on the task at hand and you’ll be amazed at how much you can actually accomplish in a short block of time.

5. Start earlier.

Coming into the office an hour or two early can result in a big productivity boost due to what can get done in a quiet and uninterrupted environment. This can open up more time for prospecting activities during regular business hours. Instead of planning to do your prospecting and follow-up activities at 3:00 pm, start on it first thing in the day instead. This reduces the chances of it not getting done because the day got away on you. Set a second block of time for later in the day, too, if you have trouble reaching people during that first time block.

6. Delegate.

There are certain things that need your personal touch. There are certain things that don’t. Look at delegating or outsourcing tasks that can be done by someone other than you so that you can focus on what is going to bring you the best results for sales generation and customer retention.

Even a few minutes a day spent focusing on building relationships and on generating new leads could really pay off. If you could double or triple the time you spend on prospecting, it could bring you a huge return on that investment. The big thing is that you have to make the time to do it.

Happy Prospecting!