As a business person, one of your biggest challenge will be to find the time to focus on things that are important. It’s easy to get too involved in the daily details of running your business.
Once upon a time, it felt like I was working so hard and struggling to keep afloat. I had a lot of ideas which I would like to put in place. I knew these ideas would help us grow. But I didn’t have the time to think the ideas through and install them. Thus I had no chance of discovering the viability of my ideas.
We were not moving forward as an organisation and we were not meeting our customers needs. We were losing clients at a rate that equalled or was greater than we were acquiring new ones.
As the person leading the organisation, I felt overwhelmed and dissatisfied. Something had to change, but I couldn’t figure it out.
What I did figure out was that I needed to create more free time or thinking time to work on the business.
“Where would I find the time to work ON the business”; I thought to myself.
Time is a created thing. To say “I don’t have time” is to say “I don’t want to. Lao Tzu
How about you? Are you busy doing the work as against getting the job done?
Have you got the time to think through how you want your business to grow and evolve over the next few years?
Have you got any ideas about how you will evolve over the next 3 to 5 years or are you leaving it all to chance?
Many say that the rate of change in the world today make long-term planning and plans worth little. I tend to disagree with this. I think that it is only the planned and prepared who will be able to respond to the changes that the world present to them.
So where would you like your business or organisation to be in the next five years?
As a small business, five years may seem long time, and it is a long time. The challenge is that those five years will arrive and you will still be doing what you are doing now. And you probably will blame the environment or competition for your lack of growth.
It’s time to take responsibility for your growth.
Create the time to Grow your business
Let me ask you this question? Of what value would an extra hour a day of free time be to you?
Free yourself of current obligations. Think about what you can do with an extra one hour a day. Here are some suggestions:
- Get some extra sleep or rest
- Start a new business
- Practice your presentation skills
- Learn a new language
- Work on your business
Whatever you do with your time is up to you. The aim of this exercise is to help you realise that you can and should make the time for what is important to you.
So here are three things you can do to create the time you need to grow your business.
3 Things You Can Do To Create Time
You will also notice that these three things are in themselves business growth strategies. So while you are creating time, you are growing the business or organisation. Think about it, you are doing less and achieving more by using these time creation strategies.
Reflect on your daily, weekly and monthly routines or tasks. Then take some time to prioritise the important things.
There are some things you can and should do, and there are many things you can, but shouldn’t do. Knowing the difference is key to your success and growth as a business.
So what does it mean to prioritise? To prioritise is to do things in their order of importance. Here is a simple exercise.
- Make a list of your daily, weekly and even monthly activities.
- Arrange these activities in order of importance.
- Automate, delegate or drop some of these tasks.
Automation and delegation will get you some free time. It would help if you also had some method of valuing your time. Put some monetary value on your time.
Are there things on your list that someone else can do cheaper and better? Consider batching these tasks together and see if they are worth delegating or outsourcing.
I once had an assistant put together a report on a monthly basis. The report preparation was time consuming and this person was spending a large part of their time entering and retrieving data.
To make matters worse, I could not verify the information because of the many steps involved.
So I decided to simplify and automate some of these processes. I signed up to try a Software as a Service (SAS). This decision made a massive improvement in the running of our business.
You may not find a software solution for everything at a price point you can afford. But no matter your industry, there is a software service out there that can free up your time and reduce your cost.
Delegation is a valuable time saving method. To delegate is to work smarter and not harder.
It’s amazing how many people are afraid to delegate routine tasks out of a fear of losing control.
There are people within your team who can get things done better, faster and cheaper.
Small businesses get caught in what I call the ‘time and money trap’. A way of thinking which says:
“I haven’t got time to train someone.”
“I can do it better and quicker.”
“I haven’t got the money to hire an assistant or outsource this work.”
My charge to you is to break out of this growth limiting mindset. Allow other members of your team to get involved in essential tasks that will create more time for you. Focus on what is necessary to grow your business.
- As you go out today, commit to working on freeing up your time.
- Start making and using lists to help you prioritise and focus on essential tasks.
- What aspects of your business can automate by subscribing to a software as a service. Do some research and sign up for a trial period.
- Escape the time and money trap. Delegate. Get someone else to do some of what you are doing. And give them the time and space to grow into the role.
That’s all for now and until next time, continue to growing yourself and your business.