Guest post by Tim Jones MBA, leading UK specialist business advisor to the UK’s Care & Construction sectors
Decision made. You’ve done it! You are going to fly solo and build a successful business for yourself. Smart move.
But here’s the thing. Your dream will end in tears, heartache and big financial losses unless you master the most important thing: Your time.
Before you roll your eyes and sigh: “Yeah, I know”, trust me when I say that if you want to run a thriving business that gets you great results, it’s essential that you take control of your time.
Worryingly, it’s estimated that an average employee is “productive” for just 2.4 hours per day!!
That means an employee's working week provides a business with less than 15 hours of high-standard work. You cannot afford to be unproductive, can you?
Whether you’re launching or running your first business or whether you’ve owned many businesses before, you’ll realise that each day needs to be highly productive.
Master your time – or time will master you
As business growth experts, Kaizen Business Consultants, guide their clients to develop a robust, sustainable and profitable business that works really well... without them having to be there.
This means that the value of their business is strengthened significantly. Each client saves around 15 hours of work per week, increases their turnover by 45% PLUS profits by 61% each year.
What would this mean to you?
Kaizen’s key areas of focus include the unique T.R.U.S.T.E.D. Process that provides clients with the business structure and tools to master their:
- profitability & cash flow
- marketing & sales
- systems & processes
- recruitment & retention
- teamwork & culture
Plus, they enjoy the journey building the business that they always dreamt of owning.
- their business operating to a high standard without them even being there, gaining them valuable time and freedom
- more and more profit each year, which also gives them financial freedom, and
- having a great team behind them who are passionate about the success of the business and their clients, which gives them the peace of mind they crave.
My 3 key pieces of advice to give you enough time to create your dream business
Do you want to avoid feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and overburdened? Here are my tips and advice, which are really easy to implement and will make a massive difference to helping you overcome overwhelm.
Miles Davis, the great American jazz musician once famously said: “Time isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing”. His wise words don’t just apply to music.
Have you accepted that you will never be able to do everything you want?
You need to because there is just too much to do. Acceptance of this fact is key and means that you can focus on the three things that are in your control:
- your feelings
- your thoughts and
- the actions you take.
1. Your Feelings
How often do you get to the end of your working day and think, ‘Where on earth did the time go?’. You’ve been flat-out, yet the important stuff you wanted to get done is still there waiting for you.
Despite all your best efforts, you’ve been dragged all over the business, holding unexpected meetings, firefighting problems, mopping up disasters. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Some of those tasks have been on your ‘to-do’ list for too long – and when was the last time you actually took some time out to think strategically about your business growth?
Anxiety builds as tomorrow’s list is growing even longer.
So, here’s what you do.
Do the worst, hardest thing you are dreading before 9am. Maybe it’s calling a client who has made a complaint, reconciling the expenses or posting on social media.
This mentality is called “Eating the Frog”. By using this method, you’ll feel much more productive and positive about the day ahead. And it’ll still only be 9am!
Next: have you ever noticed that there are a few hours each day when you feel pumped and energetic? At certain other times you hit an ‘energy wall’ that puts the brakes on?
Consider what time of day you are most in flow and you get most done. If you are like most people, you’ll find that it is between 9am and midday, with a lull at 3pm.
Work out what times are best for you. Then set a simple rule. During your ‘on fire’ time, put in your diary that you’ll complete the hardest jobs then. And get them done.
This means that when you hit the wall, you can sweep up the less important tasks that require less energy.
2. Your thoughts
Remember that you have 24 hours in each day. Changing that is not something in your control.
So how you use them will determine how well you perform. But you’re now feeling much better each day, so you will be much more productive.
To get the most out of each day you need to plan ahead so you can think clearly, with focus.
So, here’s what you do.
To ensure you hit the ground running each day, on the night before, spend just 10 minutes putting all your tasks on an app such as Trello or Notion.
Then briefly review your task list. When was the last time you split up a big task into a few small, more manageable, tasks? Divide to multiply! Trust me this works and you’ll think differently about the days ahead.
Then prioritise what you need to do in order of importance. It’s a fool's bargain to think you can have five priorities at any given time. It is not possible, so order them in a sequence. This stops you wondering what you have forgotten or missed.
3. The actions you take
Have you ever wondered how closely matched your skills and enjoyment are to the activities that need to be done in your business?
You may be great at sales, but the quotes never seem to be sent out. This means you are leaving cash on the table. You may be strong at managing expectations and communicating with clients, but updating your CRM system never gets done...
Whichever areas you are strongest at, there are likely to be other areas you are not comfortable in mastering. That’s because you're human. You just need a process!
So, here’s what you do.
When you review your task lists, identify each task as either ‘critical to your business growth’ or ‘not-essential’.
If the task is critical, categorise it as either A or B.
A is business critical. It must be done by you. Eat the Frog!
B is important and must be done once all the As are complete.
There will also be tasks not categorised as an A or a B. Create a short list of tasks you can delegate, defer to another time, or put in the bin as these add no meaningful value to your business.
Delegation is what you need.
I get it. Delegation worries people. So, consider: "What is the worst that can happen and can I live with that?"
If the answer is "Yes", delegate the task to someone else. This frees you up to focus on your “A” tasks.
If you are still not convinced, consider the cost of NOT delegating tasks within your business.
Using invoicing as an example, use this winning delegation process in your business to save you time and money:
Step 1: Provide the person responsible with specific details of how you want them to complete your invoicing to your expected standard.
Step 2: Empower them with the responsibility and to add further value to the business.
Step 3: Give a clear, specific timeframe for the invoicing to be completed by.
Step 4: Explain the expected outcome you want from the invoicing.
Step 5: Share purposeful feedforward so they know if they are delivering the invoicing task to the right standards.
Clients that we support are naturally concerned about the cost of outsourcing tasks.
But once they populate the Kaizen Time Tracker (see pic) they can see that by investing £15 per hour for their invoicing to be completed by a specialist for two hours a week means that they value their time to spend with prospects, delivering their service, creating action lists, eating the frog, being with their family and friends.
Your time IS worth more. A lot more.
Implement these improvements in your time management and your focus, business growth and productivity will follow.
The benefit of the team at Subkit
Finally, if you’re thinking of going solo and setting up your own business or service on your own, you are in safe hands with Subkit.
Their core values are focused on enabling you to operate on your own while still achieving work independence on your own terms and enjoying long-term success.
Plus, they’ll help you achieve a work-life balance so you can spend your time wisely. And thanks for investing your time in reading my article. Have fun!
*Tim Jones MBA is an award-winning specialist advisor who supports businesses across the UK. For more information, please contact Tim on firstname.lastname@example.org, 07588 321898 or visit kaizenbusiness.co and LinkedIn.