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How to balance your time and build your profit

 

Are you getting things done, or are you just staying busy? Paradoxically, with all of the so-called time saving technology available to us today, many entrepreneurs are still running ragged. It's not surprising when so much of the technology we use, oriented towards increasing communication, simply increases our sense of urgency. What once could be done in a couple of days now needs to be done in a couple of hours. Or does it? Where is the balance in your business?

The key to creating balance is to concentrate on what many consultants call your core competencies. For instance, you may excel at designing new products, perhaps in the fashion area. But that doesn't mean you have to package it, ship it, label it or even manufacture it. Some of the best companies are virtual organizations. All of the work, except for the main tasks the company does best, is farmed out.

But, you may ask, how can a small company afford to do this? You must simply determine to make the investment, and do it. If you plan to earn $100,000 in a year, that's the equivalent to about $60 an hour. So anyone who can do a job for you that costs you under $60 an hour represents an investment that will pay off. By hiring them, you gain more time to market your products and services, develop new products and undertake long term planning. Why drive across town to deliver something to a customer when a courier can get there for a small price? Why spend hours calculating GST when a bookkeeper can do it in no time? Smart entrepreneurs orient themselves towards revenue generation. Average entrepreneurs only think about costs.

Successful entrepreneurs are also the ones who allocate limited resources the most effectively. The two resources we all have in limited supply are time and money. Most people are good at trying to save a dollar, but how many pay the same attention to saving a minute? Remember, every minute you save is another minute that can use to create additional balance in your life. You need time for fitness, family, friends, spiritualism, intellectual pursuits, learning and hobbies. Not to forget eating and sleeping. Time spent in those areas will help you be a better business person.

Always ask yourself, what am I really good at that can earn my company increased profits?

After delegating non-value added activities, another strategy is to take your revenue generating activities and put them on automatic. Perhaps you are a software programmer, and you've spent a lot of time developing an application for a customer. Ask yourself what other customers would benefit from the same application? Or, perhaps you run a consulting business in home inspections. How can you make the inspection so automatic that you can do it more efficiently than any of your competitors? Develop standardized systems and procedures for repetitive activities in your business. Run your business so that someone else could run it. Imagine having an employee whom you could delegate to, even if you can't afford one. Then imagine that you are that employee. What could your boss do to make your job as efficient as possible?

Finally, stay focused on those activities that are most consistent with your mission. A number of new entrepreneurs are tempted to run two or three businesses, in the hopes that diversity will be profitable. You can always tell because they have more than one business card. Don't fall into this trap. Stick to your core mission. Use spare time for extra marketing, not a second business. Retailers who have slow days are missing a big opportunity. They wait for customers to arrive at their door. Instead, they should be out delivering flyers, or at the very least, going through the phone book (by street) and letting potential customers in the local are know they exist.

Balancing your time is not only healthy, it's profitable.

Mark Ellwood is a productivity consultant dedicated to improving people and processes through consulting, training and facilitation. Reach him at mark@GetMoreDone.com or www.getmoredone.com.

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