The importance of time (and money) to a business owner

Business owners tend to do everything when they are first starting out. Many times, they don’t have a choice because money is tight. And while business owners should watch their pennies, sometimes they can be penny wise and pound foolish. They waste valuable time doing things they aren’t good at it (so it takes them longer) instead of focusing on what they are good at, which is what makes them money. For example:

  • overworkedThey do their own marketing because they don’t want to pay professionals — because creating a flyer is easy, right? Just use Microsoft Word! And free clipart works just fine for a logo.
  • They do their own hiring — and then wonder why no one works out.
  • They do their own bookkeeping and accounting, spending hours upon hours trying to figure out new software and laws.
  • They do their own sales because who could be better at sales than the owner? That’s true on one hand, but not when the owner has no time to go out and sell.
  • They read book after book about leadership but are too tired and undisciplined to put any of the principles into action.

But if they would shift their focus from saving every dime to making some dollars, they will soon see a shift in their revenue — and their sanity. After all, when business owners don’t have a secretary, they have to do secretarial work. When there’s no bookkeeper, the business owner has to send out invoices. When there is no marketing help, the business owner spends hours upon hours trying to write something that doesn’t even turn out well and is ineffective.

Yet they see no way out. There’s no money — at least, not for the ridiculous professional fees that service firms charge or for a new employee. No siree bob!

Unfortunately, business owners don’t often see is the value of time — their time. If their time could be freed up to spend more time leading their businesses or on their core business, things would really start moving for them. This is where the word “investment” comes in. They enlist the help of professionals — and their business gains as a result. Once business owners see the full picture and how all of this really works, they start to outsource more and more — all while maintaining complete control of their own business (because now they have the time to!).

Last week, Brad Farris wrote about how he uses a writer (me) to help him with his content marketing. Here is a man who is educated and smart, but he needs to spend his time on things other than spelling and punctuation. So he gets his thoughts out in some sort of written form and then I polish it up for him. And while he pays me for that service, he SAVES his own time, which has a value too.

Are there any things you do that a professional or new employee is better equipped to handle? What’s holding you back from seeking their advice?

Bridget

Bridget Ingebrigtsen owns Write On Command, a company that provides writing and editing services to businesses and not-for-profits. Bridget describes her six-year stint as Anchor Advisors' writer/editor as being "mutually beneficial" -- she helps Anchor Advisors keep their written projects on track and Anchor Advisors helps her keep her business on track. When she's not running her business, Bridget is running after her four children, two dogs and the latest in entertainment news. Connect with Bridget on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    I believe that every business owner should have an specific and refined hiring process that weeds out anyone isn’t the best of the best for the position they need filled.

    Most business owners are in a hurry to start spending any money they have on bringing people in to do work they don’t want to. They put the highest priority on positions that are Overhead – accounting, secretaries, janitors, etc.

    And because they’re in a rush to get the “dirty work” off their lap, they end up with little to no money to invest in profit generating hires in the marketing, sales and fulfillment department.

    If you want to have a world class business, you have to think highest, first.

    You have to be an employee snob and screen for the best.

    But when you do go to hire, how do you know if you’re dealing with a star candidate or not?

    There’s a couple of qualities you want to look for . . .

    1st: They’re a driver

    A driver is a person who likes to take responsibility for creating results – good or bad.

    They like to drive projects, people, and results.

    Most people are not drivers. They don’t like to take the wheel of responsibility. Most people deflect responsibility and point fingers when things don’t go the way that makes them look like a hero.

    Driver’s light up when asked to take on the responsibility of driving a project to completion. They like challenges. If you hand off a project to them and they hit a snag and need to ask you a question, they’ll email, call, and finally if those don’t get your attention they’ll stalk your office to get the answer they need.

    Someone’s who not a superstar would probably only send you one email and then blame the failure on you for not getting back to them.

    You want drivers around you at all levels.

    2nd: Look for aspirations

    You want to be looking for people who have ambitious personal and professional goals they’re actually working towards.

    The way he gets to this is by asking, “Where would you like to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?” This tells you whether they even have a goal or not. Most people don’t.

    Most people’s goal is to get to 5:00 so they can go home, have a few drinks, hopefully sneak in a nap, eat dinner, watch their shows, pass out and wake up to start the whole cycle again.

    If someone doesn’t have a lofty and SPECIFIC vision of where they want to be in the future, they’re not motivated. If they’re not motivated to drive the most important thing in their lives, themselves, what the heck makes you think they’re gonna be motivated to drive your business to greatness?

    These are two qualities you want to be looking for with anyone you welcome into your inner circle – both personally and professionally.

    The highest leverage we possess as humans is the people we surround ourselves with and this is why I can’t think of a more important skill that a business owner could have than that of building personal relationships with superstars outside of your work and refining the process of only hiring super stars.

    The one guy who REALLY has a kick butt system for doing this is Brad Smart and put all of his insights into an awesome book titled “Top Grading”. I can’t recommend this resource highly enough to any business owner looking for help. :)

  • brid3532

    Wow – thank you for your thoughtful response!