By Susan Guillory

I get it: you’re super-duper busy in running your business. You can’t possibly do it all. But here’s the frightening truth: some tasks, like the ones on this list, are essential, otherwise you put all that hard work in growing your business in jeopardy. These are absolutely necessary to keep your business running smoothly.

1. Marketing

I know it’s easy for me to wag a finger, given that I’m a marketer myself, but let me just emphasize the importance. Even if you’re doing really well today, you need to be marketing now to ensure you keep having a steady stream of customers coming through your door. The recent Recession should teach us all a lesson: we can’t count on always having solid business, so marketing helps mitigate that risk.

The Cheater’s Shortcut to Success: If you don’t have time or aren’t interested in doing your own marketing, hire someone to help. Even having an intern managing your social media marketing 5 hours a week is better than nothing.

2. Accounting and Taxes

Let me guess: when tax time rolls around, you go into panic mode. You haven’t updated your expenses in your accounting software in a year, and the truth is, you never really learned how to use it the right way. This situation is begging for you to pay more than necessary in tax fees: if you file them incorrectly, you get penalized. If you pay late, you get charged a fee. Save yourself the hassle of overpaying by being more organized.

The Cheater’s Shortcut to Success: Again, you don’t have to go it alone. Smart business owners delegate what they’re not good at, and having a bookkeeper or accountant on your team can make your finances a lot more manageable.

3. Customer Service

You’re too busy putting out fires to pay attention to current and past customers. Your focus is on those new sales. After all, they’re bringing in the money! Actually, you need to spend more attention on your other customers because repeat business is the key to longevity.

The Cheater’s Shortcut to Success: A lot of the interaction with past customers can be automated. Email marketing, anyone? Set up a drip campaign to check in with a customer after the sale and get feedback on the order. Then move them to your newsletter list so they hear from you at least once a quarter.

4. Organization

A clean desk (and desktop) is a happy desk. If your desk and office are filled with piles of paperwork and things you keep putting off, it can mess with your head. If you’re not feeling productive, how can you be?

The Cheater’s Shortcut to Success: I know the more stuff that’s on my desk, the more stressed I am. So I try to organize everything at least once a week and then straighten up. Doing so more often makes the job faster and easier.

The more you plan ahead and the more strategic you are at handling these tasks, the better you’ll be at succeeding with them.