Entrepreneurs need to attract resources like people, energy, money, time - and sometimes they need to decide to let them go. In this article we explore the time resource and the art of managing it.
Adding the extra hours
The time resource is the one most often drawn on as an entrepreneur, next to energy covered in last article. Time is always there and seems easy and free to use. You may not have the staff you want because you can’t afford it yet – you rely on your own extra hours. You may not have the tools and systems that would simplify the job yet because they are expensive – you rely on your extra hours and working hard. You may not have the money to buy services – you rely on your extra hours to get book-keeping done, website built and office cleaned. It is ok for a while but do keep an eye on yourself. There will be a time where other options are a better use of your time.
Being ready to step in and do every task in your business can be a success factor but it may also turn into a blocker if you are busy doing things that takes you forever instead of using those hours to service customers, earning money. Time isn’t unlimited. We all get 24 hours and some if it we need to spend on sleeping, eating and other basic needs. Make sure to choose wisely how to spend the rest.
As a start-up you may have more time than customers needing it. Still there are choices to make. Every time you decide spending time on doing something there is something else you don’t do. Spending time polishing that website yet another round may take away 3 hours of active sales work. Which is right now more likely to take you further? There is no easy answer – it all depends on where you and your business are right now and the way your business model is developing.
When things get busy most entrepreneurs just add the extra hours on work day. That is usually an effective and good starting point but can turn into a trap. If done without considering length, profitability and resilience you may end up draining yourself. In coaching I have seen all kinds of self-deceit going on – writing in different places to avoid seeing double-booking-ambitions, tricking oneself in actual time needed top do a task there are a lot of ways to avoid facing the trap you may be building, ending in you creating an impossible situation at work and then trying to do it anyway.
Don't do it all alone
Sometimes there is more to gain in attracting the time of others. There are plenty of examples of businesses shortening down development stage by adopting a habit of early proto-typing. Digitalisation can help make customers spend their time filling in their data instead of holding your time too while you are asking them and filling your customer system.
Employing staff to do work for you is also one way of attracting the time of others by offering a salary in return. Networking can be an excellent way of time saving exchange when you are able to attract those who quick and easy can get you connected with whom or what you need while you do the same for others but if you find yourself pouring time into helping others while getting very little in return you should consider whether this network is attracting or letting go of time and how useful it is to you.
Invest your time wisely
Have a good look at how you are spending your time. Is it purposeful? Is it the best use of your hours and are you putting the extra hours where they benefit you the most or are you letting them go without reflection? Knowing when to hold and when to give away your time is one of the core competencies of a successful entrepreneur.
Want some extra inspiration? Listen to entrepreneurs and coaches talking of time management in our free webinar monday may 7th.