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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Time Management: How to Spend Your Business Time or Day

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

One of the questions that I get asked on a frequent basis is a variation of “Should I do ‘X’?” where the ‘X’ is some business related activity.

Macro Focus

Several months back, an entrepreneur wanted my advice on an opportunity that had come her way to host her own radio show in a relatively large market. Certainly being a radio host sounds sexy, but it is, in fact, an activity that takes effort and time.

I asked her what her overall business goals were and she answered, “I am not sure”.  I told her that if she didn’t know what her goals were, how could either of us have any idea whether or not the radio show (i) supported her goals or (ii) was the most effective opportunity to support her goals?

I told her to get clearer on the end-goal and then we could evaluate the radio show to see if it was an effective tactic for her.

Micro Focus

Another entrepreneur wanted my feedback on spending his time.  He was supposed to go to an industry event to meet some companies to see if they might be potential future clients.  The problem was that he had several current client projects due and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to finish them right away if he went to the event.

Now, both items were important, but in terms of his priorities, it was a no-brainer.  He had clients who loved him, so getting those projects finished would get him paid immediately and further cement his existing client relationships.  This was much more important than chasing down a potential opportunity at the show.

Moreover, the reason the potential clients were attending the industry show was to sell their products, so the chances that they would be focused on someone looking to service them were greatly diminished.  He could streamline his business development efforts by reaching out by phone after the event to gauge whether it would be worth spending more time trying to develop a relationship.

How should you focus your business efforts?

As you decide how to spend your time, whether in your business as a whole or a specific daily task, use the following guide:

1-Does it further my goal?:  If what you are doing isn’t directly related to accomplishing what you have set out as your business goals, don’t do it.

2-Does it produce revenue?: Everything you do in your business should be tied to the goal of producing revenue.  Sometimes, it’s near term; sometimes, it’s long-term.  Sometimes, it directly will produce revenue; sometimes, indirectly.  While all are important, you want to prioritize those near term and direct opportunities.

3-Is there another way to accomplish this?: There are usually many paths to get somewhere; some more direct than others. If you are evaluating an opportunity or task, even if it serves your goals, take a look at whether there is a better, faster, smarter and/or more cost-effective way to accomplish and reach your goals.

Spending your time more effectively should pay off exponentially for your business.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth