Time is the one commodity we can never get back.
Yet I hear stories every day of small business owners wasting it like they have an abundance. Giving their time away for free or just not putting a value on it.
I had a coffee with a lady a few months ago. She was struggling to make profit and was unsure how to get her business to the next level. Before our next coffee I asked her to complete our Productivity Tracker. A tool to identify where her time was being spent.
When we sat next, it showed that she was travelling from Leeds to Sheffield twice a week for a networking event and had been for many months.
“What return are you getting from the event?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” She questioned.
“In value terms, how much new business have you generated since you started going?”
“Nothing yet, it’s slow burn!” (rolls eyes)
I questioned whether the room was full of her target market. Decision makers. It wasn’t, it was full of sales people from her target clients – people looking to sell, not buy. The first penny dropped.
I asked how much she would charge for her time when with a client. “£100 per hour she said proudly.”
She told me that the two trips were taking her four hours each at best which, even with my maths O Level is eight hours a week.
I explained that she was wasting eight hours and effectively £800 per week on networking that was unlikely to deliver a return. I asked if she had her debit card. She did. “Go to the cash machine, withdraw £800, then throw it in the air and watch it blow down the street.” I said.
“Don’t be stupid!”
I suggested that was what she was doing every single week. You won’t throw £800 of withdrawn cash in the air but you are prepared to waste £800 of time and lost revenue every week.
Another penny dropped. She stopped that networking activity that week.
I hear stories like this weekly and it breaks my heart.
Sometimes, you need to reframe the situation. Look at the situation through a different set of eyes or have somebody do that for you. Value what you are not valuing before it is too late.
Don’t waste the most precious commodity you have. Every hour wasted is an hour lost.
Put a value on your time and look at every single use of it – meetings, travel, networking, prospecting, admin tasks, social media etc as an actual value of what you are worth or what you would charge.
If you charge £50 an hour, use that. If you charge £250 an hour, use that. You get the picture.
You will soon stop wasting it.
If you feel there’s never enough hours and you are never getting on top of your long to-do list, perhaps looking at where your time is going would be a good start. You can access the Productivity Tracker here.
You’ll be surprised how much time and money you are wasting.