Charting My Course

Working with professional service providers and small business owners who want to do a better job
marketing themselves and their services.

Friday, December 14, 2007

How Are You Spending Your Time?

Knowing how you are spending time can mean more to your business than almost any other factor. There is a tremendous difference between just working hard and working hard on tasks that will drive your business to the next level. For example, I attended every networking event I could find when I first started my business. It took time to figure out which ones were “social events” and which ones were actually interested in helping business owners succeed. I also spent time with unqualified "potential clients" that wasted my time and theirs. The reality is that you are spending time in your business the same as you are spending your money. Are you budgeting both of these assets?
As a business owner, you have to be selfish with your time. If you are spending hours a week on tasks that are more social than business, you may need to reevaluate what you are doing. (You may even need to evaluate whether or not you really want to be in business for yourself.) You get inundated with networking meetings, volunteer opportunities, meetings with potential clients, sales, marketing, and personal errands. How much time are you devoting to training that will teach you how to be more effective in your business or to market better? I don’t have time for training, marketing, (or take your pick of other tasks that may drive your business to the next level). This is something that I hear from business owners over and over again. When I dig a little deeper in what is taking their time, I find they are doing things for the local chamber, going to a sports event or concert, meeting with potential clients that will never produce any real income, or volunteering for everything that comes along.
I am not saying don't volunteer your time and efforts to these events and worthy causes, but manage your time wisely. Discover what is really important to you and your business. It is very important to volunteer, be involved in your local community and to give back. So find a way you can contribute to your local community, have a social life, and still run your business. Find a way to do all of these things effectively. It takes a little effort but the payoff in the long run is tremendous.

Here are a few tips to help you make better use of your time:
1. Find a way to benchmark your efforts.
2. Be selfish with your time.
3. Volunteering is great and I encourage you to do this but budget the time you spend on these tasks.
4. Take 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon (or whatever day works for you) to plan your week.