16 Mar 4 Ways Small Business Owners Can Save Money: Part 4 – Time
We have been talking about ways for small business owners to save money but let’s be honest, if you have been in business for yourself for more than five minutes, you know time is your most valuable commodity.
We can talk about cutting different expenses or tactics to increase sales all day long but if you aren’t using your time wisely, you are losing.
“Time is money” is quoted way more times than is helpful as you bust your butt trying to get it all done and then some and still squeeze a few hours of sleep in somewhere. Jim Rohn, one of America’s foremost entrepreneurs said, “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” I think this captures the sentiment and urgency more accurately.
But again, you are a small business owner and if you don’t get it done, who will? Isn’t that the joy of being your own boss? No one can tell you what to do. But if you don’t “do”, no one else will. So what’s a small business owner to do?
We have written a few other pieces on time management on the Two Roads blog (see here and here!) but it is worth revisiting for a money-saving angle. As with Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this particular blog series, let’s look at three areas that can help you evaluate your own unique business. No one will be able to prescribe an exact recipe for success that fits every entrepreneur and small business owner BUT let’s talk about some key components and ask how they may be affecting your financial well-being.
Unless you have super-human powers, you simply can not be in all places at all times. You can’t solve every crisis, micromanage every detail AND carry the vision and momentum of your company forward. If you didn’t guess it, that last one is THE most effective and profit-driving use of your time. You are the heart and most likely the brains behind your company.
If you hired someone to do all that you did when you started your business, how much would you have to pay them?? Let’s just say you would probably be out of business because of the exorbitant fees. But do you treat yourself like this kind of expert?
This is why we emphasize that the way you spend your time can either be a further investment into your company or something that runs your ragged, leaves you burnt out and ends up costing your company. Here are some areas that will always prove a valuable investment of your time AND increase profit generation.
Love Your People
- In part one of this blog series discussing labor, I talked about the importance of training your team. When it comes to capitalizing on your time, it is not just a matter of great training and thorough systems, as important as those things are. You need to build a team of experts. Are you taking the time to know your team, recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and then equip them to excel at what they do?
- As the business owner, your goal should be to build a team that you can trust to do an excellent job with the day to day running. You should aim to be spending your time on driving the vision of your company forward, meeting with other experts in business community and building the vision of your company into your team. Are you taking the time to instill your vision into your team of experts so that you can trust them to carry out the heart of the company?
Love Your Business
- Another incredibly valuable use of your time is to step out of the weeds and look at the big picture of your business. Do you know your industry trends and the marks you should be hitting to keep you competitive in your marketplace? Do you know your own financial trends over the last 12 months so that you can plan to capitalize your profits and strengthen your losses in the next 12? It takes time to mine these specific details but they can be powerful forces in driving your business to the next level.
- When was the last time that you took a day or a weekend to have a vision casting time for your business? Whether you run a franchise or own a unique retail space of handmade goods, it is vital to the success of your business for the leadership of the business to know WHERE and WHY they are leading the company. As you talk about your vision and where you want to be, let your team (even if that is just you for now!) talk honestly about the things they feel are hindering you from getting there.
- It would be nice to sit on the beach, Mai Tai in hand. But that isn’t an option for lots of small business owners. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight to make sure you are getting the valuable time you need to invest in yourself, your family and your community as an individual. If your mind is in a constant mode of stress management, you actually lose your ability to process the problems you encounter with the same clarity and focus as when you are rested and mentally well. This doesn’t have to be out of reach on some distant beach. Maybe you have to work some nights, maybe you have to work Saturdays but how are you at setting a boundary around family dinner time? How are you about finding time to take your wife on a date once a month? When are your “out of office” times during the day or week when you aren’t checking emails and your mind feels free to fully engage in other activities?
- If your team is looking to you for direction and leadership, you need to be able to offer them solid, well-thought out and engaged guidance. This type of leadership will prove to be highly beneficial to the success of your company. It will build confidence in your team and model for them the way you want them to engage with problems in the company. Fully present and engaged, not frazzled and fraught. Better problem solving equals happier customers equals better returns for you!
Do you see the pattern here? If you take time to build an expert team with a strong sense of company culture that you trust, you have the freedom to spend your time on honing the bigger picture and direction of your company by digging into the financial details and vision that drive you forward. When you know you have a solid team and you are confident in the direction you are taking your company, you can have the peace of mind to boundary your time and keep your company’s greatest asset (you and your team!) at your sharpest.
All of this adds up to a company that is not perfect, but purposeful. One that is able to address the weaknesses and bolster the strengths, respond to problems as they arise instead of living in a state of reaction, and develop their company and their people to drive innovation and profits forward!
Investing your time in these ways will infuse your company with life and only grow your ability to strategically increase your profits with a clarity and confidence.