Time is rarely the friend of an entrepreneur or small business owner. In business, there is an advantage to being the first to market with an offering. You also don’t want to waste time getting to a positive cash flow or growing. There is a useful way of segmenting tasks that have to be done that helps maximize time.
The primary challenge facing us is the limited resources on hand. These resources can be money, time, people, etc. What we often find ourselves doing is wearing multiple hats and just working longer hours trying to accomplish all that we need to do.
I’d like to focus on working smarter, not harder. Obvious first steps here would be to set your goals, deadlines, etc. But I’m going to look at this challenge from a different angle in this article.
Consider that your business, like any other, probably has three tiers of jobs and value. There are the $1,000/hour jobs, $100/hour jobs and $10/hour jobs. The $1,000/hour jobs are the most vital at creating value, growing the business, creating the business identity, etc.
The $100/hour jobs are the “business framework” of your company. These jobs are dedicated to making important decisions about the details of operations, HR, working on creating marketing campaign materials, measurement, reporting, etc.
The $10/hour jobs are dedicated to keeping the lights on and answering the phone. The cleaning staff, receptionist, etc. hold these types of jobs.
Since you’ve launched your own company, you likely have a few exceptional gifts that the company is based upon. Building upon these, creating the big picture, delivering results, etc. are probably where you should be spending most of your time. Your value in these roles is akin to the $1,000/hour jobs and you’re making the best use of your time.
Professionals in finance, accounting, management, customer relations, etc. do the $100/hour jobs. They keep the business functioning and compliant. These jobs are critical and you need to have them done, but you probably don’t need to do them all yourself. In fact, if you have to spend lots of time learning how to do these jobs, it’s a waste of your time. Every hour you spend here is an hour lost at the $1,000/hour jobs.
The $10/hour jobs are even less valuable for you to be spending your time on. You can hire people to do these roles or out-source them. You may be able to automate many of them as well.
Don’t misunderstand; all three levels of jobs are valuable, as are the people that perform them. The challenge is to find people who are fulfilled at those levels or whose career is at that level currently. But you don’t want to spend all of your time in these roles; you want to focus on creating and growing your business. As you focus your time on the higher-level job, you’ll be creating more jobs overall at the same time, which will enable you to serve even more people.
Take the time to sort out roles in your business and how you spend your time. Are you maximizing your talents or are you spending too much time in activities that others could do (probably better too)! When you find yourself doing less valuable work, try to brainstorm a way to remove it from your responsibilities. You can hire support firms, like CPAs to help with your accounting, virtual assistants to help with phones and busy work, professional managers to run the firm when it is the correct size, etc.
Remember, time is a finite resource. Don’t think that just because you have the time to do something, that you should be doing it. Every activity you do means that you can’t be doing something else. If the activity you put off is critical to your success, you may want to consider ways to free yourself to do the most influential tasks in your firm.