Time is undisputably the small business person’s most prescious resource. As a result, our success is, in large part, dependent upon how we utilize that time. We want to use time as efficiently as possible – that means maximizing results (your output) while minimizing the time and effort (input) used. In short, you want to leverage your time.
The starting point for leveraging your time is understanding what it is that you do best and always looking to spend most of your time in that area. Conversely, you should delegate those tasks where you are not at your best to someone who has that as their ‘sweet spot’. This means surrounding yourself with people who have strengths in those areas where you do not. This can often be difficult financially for the small business, but it is a critical component of leveraging time. No one expects you to be able to off-load everything, but there should be an ongoing evaluation to see what and when you can off-load the tasks that you are less-than-great in.
The next point in leveraging your time is to remove all distractions when you are working in your sweet-spot. Working in your sweet-spot is akin to being in the ‘zone’ in an athletic competition. When you are in the zone, you don’t want to be disturbed, you don’t want to be derailed, you don’t want your efforts watered-down in any way. When working in your sweet-spot, close the door to your office, and tell the people you work with that you do not want to be disturbed. Go off-site if it helps. Get away from the distractions of your workspace. You want to make every minute count. Starts and stops from interruptions will just slow you down and make you that less efficient…and remember, to maximize your leverage, you need to be as efficient as possible.
The last point in leveraging your time is making sure that you are going after new business that is worth your time. Oftentimes it takes as long to solicit a small piece of business as it does to solicit a large one. Why spend seventeen intense hours on a $5,000 piece of business when you can spend, say 20 hours trying to land a $15,000 account? Aren’t you better off with the $15,000 account? Isn’t it a better use of your time? Always seek larger accounts. As time goes on, with the added revenue, you will be able to delegate the solicitation of the smaller accounts to someone whose time is less valuable than yours.
Always look to leverage your time. It is a scarce resource. You want to make sure that you get your maximum output on minimum input.