revenue ups and downsToo much to do. Too little time.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs often feel this way.

Many businesses sell time in one way, shape, or form. It may not be direct. But there is a direct correlation between time invested and units of production.

All businesses face challenges getting the best from their time. They find themselves on a revenue roller coaster.

Going bananas for time

Sometimes it’s helpful to look at things through a different lens. Let’s make these units of time more tangible. Think about your time as if it were units of inventory.

Think about a grocery store. More specifically, think about the produce area of the grocery store.

Can you see the apples, the lettuce, and the broccoli? Oh, and there’s the bananas!

Grocers have to sell these things before they go bad. Otherwise, they aren’t worth anything. Unlike canned goods, produce has a very limited shelf life.

So it is with our time. We all have 86,400 seconds as an asset at the beginning of every day. But this second is gone. Now this one.

The seconds turn into minutes; the minutes into hours. When you look back on your day, did you get the most out of every hour?

What percentage of the time were your people productive and billable?

Like the grocer’s bananas, time has a short shelf life.

“I don’t have time”

Sometimes we’ll say “I don’t have time.” It’s a statement of priority, not fact. If something is important to you, make it a priority and carve out time for it.

Do you have time for your most profitable customers? Or do you occasionally find yourself so tied down by low-profit projects that you don’t have time for your most profitable ones?

If you’re not sure, track it. We know – you don’t need one more thing to do. But you don’t have to do it forever. (Although if it’s critical for the success of your business, maybe you should.) It may be tedious, but the understanding you gain will be worthwhile.

“I don’t have time” is one of the reasons business owners see their revenues swell only to retract. They get so busy, they don’t have time for marketing. Next thing you know, they have plenty of time because they don’t have any sales!

They stopped doing those important activities that created the sales in the first place. This cycle gets repeated over and over.

Make the most of your time

To make the best use of your time, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Have you set your direction? You have to know where you’re going to use your time effectively by doing the right things. What do you want to accomplish? You may know the answer. Do your employees? If you haven’t communicated what you want to accomplish to your people, they won’t be as effective as they should be. Time will be wasted.
  • Are you working efficiently? Do you and your people use technology enough (or too much) to get things done expeditiously? A very simple example: Do you still play telephone tag when a quick e-mail would allow for a firm appointment? Are there tasks you perform yourself that could easily be done by someone else? Remember urgent is not always important. The things hitting you in the face may best be delegated to someone else. Are there entire processes or functions which neither you nor your people excel at? There are more options for outsourcing today than ever before. Are you capitalizing on them?
  • Are you focused enough? Ambition is a wonderful thing. You may like to have a lot on your plate. You may want to push yourself and your people. But here’s a really important principle to understand: If you try to accomplish too much, you risk accomplishing nothing! Focus on no more than three major goals at a time. Break them down into quarters or months. Then you’ll know what you need to accomplish every day and every week.

Make sure these goals work together. You can’t drive in more than one direction at a time. You and your people will grow incredibly frustrated if you try.

Focus on doing a few right things the right way so you make more money, more dependably!