Business Time Management: Where to Spend your Time

New and growing businesses should plan every aspect of their operations to encourage maximum success. Often, that planning revolves around assets like finances and staffing as small business owners decide where to spend their money and where their employees are most effective. Aside from this kind of planning, entrepreneurs should also plan their time with the same level of detail and attention. In this article we'll talk about the place you should avoid spending your time and the place you should try to spend most of your time.

When you list your assets and strengths in a business plan, you’ll likely list your available money and well-trained staff as two resources you can use to leverage your success. But your time is a valuable asset as well and although you spend a lot of your effort on budgets and staff, you should spend the same amount of effort managing your time.

You need to know that this is not a time management article. We’re not going to show you how to better schedule your time. Instead, we’re going to tell you where you SHOULDN’T spend your time and where you SHOULD spend your time.

  1. Spend your time on things that help you earn money. There are only two things that earn money: acquiring customers and providing service to them. Your time management decisions should be prioritized toward these critical tasks. That means you’ll want to constantly ask yourself, “Does this activity help me acquire and service customers?” If the answer is no, you may want to re-think whether it’s as important as it initially seems. Specifically, as a business owner, your time should be focused on such issues as improving customer service, ensuring your customers get the highest value possible for the money they pay, making sure your sales process is as efficient as possible, that your sales staff is supported and motivated adequately, and lastly, to make sure you’re out marketing your business to the world. These are the most important tasks to spend your time doing because they directly support the acquisition and servicing of customers.
  2. Avoid spending time on the things that don’t earn you money. Are there tasks that you shouldn’t spend your time doing? Absolutely! You shouldn’t worry about doing anything that doesn’t directly relate to finding and servicing customers. Granted, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore these issues and never spend time on them. But you should always default to the customer-generating tasks first. As for the rest of the tasks, you can delegate, sub-contract, or (in some cases) eliminate them from your to do list. What are some of these non-essential tasks? I’ve seen business owners spend way too much of their effort on what color of shirts their staff should wear or what computer program their accounting department should use or whether the hiring process should include two interviews or three. Are these important items? Yes. Are they critical to your day-to-day operations? Yes. Do they help you get and keep customers? No. Therefore, they are probably items you can have someone else decide without a major impact to your business.

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