Some years ago, I met a bloke who was having problems with his business. He was clearly stressed, but after some discussion he said to me, with more than a hint of exasperation, “I’m too busy to improve!”
Just think about that; he’s got problems, problems that are holding him back, problems which if he could remove would lead to success. But he couldn’t convince himself to do something about them. He was like a hamster on a wheel; running fast, going nowhere!
Problems are a time trap. They eat up your available time, time you could use to do more profitable things for your business. And they cause stress; you end up spending more and more time at work, and less time with family, and doing the things you enjoy.
Is there a way out of this maze? Recently I came across an article by Hunter Leonard of Blue Frog Marketing “Time is a Tender Trap”. In it, Hunter offers some simple, but very effective tips for you to avoid falling into a “Time Trap”.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some very important tips on the use of time as a business owner.
In our experience working with business owners ‘time management’ is often the biggest issue they run into. But it isn’t necessarily about ‘time management’; it’s about ‘time investment’.
I’m exactly like you and can share that, I’ve had times when time was my worst enemy and times when it’s been my best friend. But if you feel trapped by a lack of time; it’s not fun.
So here are 5 ways I make the best use of my time in running my business:
Probably one of the most important things you can do is to learn to say no to the thieves of time. In my business, marketing advisory, I get a lot of people reaching out who want to ‘have a coffee’ with me to ‘get some advice’ on their marketing.
I have found they are rarely high-value prospects, and unwilling to then move from a chat to a paid engagement on their marketing strategy. I also get a lot of radio and TV media salespeople who want to ‘drop in’ with their latest ratings and ideas. I found these a waste of my productive time, so I say no to most meetings of this sort. And I engaged a media buyer to be the go-between with all other media.
What meetings, travel, coffee catch ups, or other things are demanding your time but not adding value? Say, “No!”
Easy to say, right? But not easy to do. I find the absolute best way to prioritise the important stuff is a process called ‘Big Rocks’, I’m sure you’ve heard about it. Mentioned in Steven Covey’s, "7 Habits of Successful People"; referencing an old professor of his if I’m not mistaken.
‘Big Rocks’ represent the things that are important to do, and important to you. The way I do this is to schedule in time in my diary for ‘Big Rocks’ each week first. Then I find I have less available time to do other non-valuable stuff. And guess what; it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get done.
But if you don’t make the time, other things will creep in and push out the ‘Big Rocks’. The number of times I talk with business owners who are running around busy and say, “I just don’t get time for strategy or planning.” That’s just a cop-out; make time for the important things.
You used to have to put on a part-time or full-time staff member to take things off your desk, but these days with online ‘tasking’ sites and off-shoring and other options you can have a very flexible approach to outsource the ‘knucklehead’ stuff off your desk.
You must put a value on your time as the business owner. And as much as possible, don’t do the low-value stuff, if it is stopping you getting to the high-value stuff. I understand you may have limited budgets, but to expand and be a successful business owner you have to do the important things.
I use a free online time tracker called “my hours”. I recommend you track all your time for a period of three to four weeks and then notice how much time is being wasted on low-value tasks. It will open your eyes on what you actually spend time on. In this way, you can rearrange your schedule and put in the high-value stuff first.
Apologies in advance, but I’m going to be blunt in this last tip. Knock off the whingeing about not having time. You are the business owner, and you’re in charge.
Stop doing the stuff that gets no results and focus on the things that do. Invest your time in the things you want to do and the things you have to do. Reorganise and take control and stop being a victim.
There you have 5 ways you can make the best use of your time as a business owner.
If you’re mature age and about to start a business, you’ve now probably got an inkling of what other business owners run into, and you can start off right, and never fall into the ‘Time Trap’.
Thanks, Hunter. That is very useful.
There is no one silver bullet solution to time trap problems. Rather, it is a matter of steady, incremental continuous improvement. Improvement will take off the pressure being felt. As Hunter suggests, take these steps, and invest in your time so it adds value to your business..
Making more productive use of your time creates time.
If you would like to have a chat with me about the tools I use to help businesses create time in their business, book a Strategy Consult here.
© Copyright 2017 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective
Some profit losses are pretty obvious - so you fix them.
BUT, what if you don't know profits are leaking, cash out the door?
Possible leaks could be anywhere.
Are there some clues or symptoms that are tell-tales?