Robyn Pearce is a time management expert, helping people turn time challenges into high productivity. Visit www.gettingagrip.com
If you’ve got the desire to build a big business, if you see yourself as a budding entrepreneur, and you’ve never read ‘The E-myth’ by Michael Gerber, rush out and get it immediately.
One of the key points Gerber makes is that being self-employed is not the same as being a business owner. If you’re good at what you do and decide, based on that skill, to go into your own business, all you’ve done is buy yourself a job.
A business owner, on the other hand, isn’t wedded to the service or product that’s provided. They see themselves as separate from what the company does and if they’ve done their job well, the company can not only operate quite well without them, but is also an entity that can be sold.
Not sure what you can delegate? Don’t know if you can afford it? Try writing down a list of all the regular tasks you do in a week and estimate the amount of time spent on each activity.
Now, pretend you’re paying someone a wage appropriate to each task and put a dollar value beside each item, based on the ‘guestimated’ hours spent. For example, bookkeeping might be worth $35 per hour. If you’ve spent two hours this week doing the books you’d put $70 beside that one. If, on the other hand, you’ve done data entry, that may be worth $15 per hour. You’ve taken 30 minutes, so $7.50 goes in the column.
Now, ask yourself: “What is my hourly rate when I’m engaged in income-generating work? If I were able to free up some of these other tasks, would I be able to do
more of my work, and if so, what income could I generate?”
If it’s higher than the value of the miscellany of tasks you’ve spent your days ploughing through, you’re doing the wrong work and you’re underpaying yourself. Find a part-timer or contractor until you can afford to pay more wages and keep your focus on your work.
Or if someone else could do the work far more efficiently than you, leaving you free to focus on the work you’re best at – find them.
Every start-up business goes through this soul-searching. The need almost always comes before we have the money to pay for help, but if we don’t take that step we’ll never have the money to pay anyone, including ourselves!
As I talk to business people in all industries and at all levels it seems that interruptions are the single biggest issue.
We’ve come out of the dark ages where managers never communicated anything to their underlings, through the development of open communication and empowerment, to the point where many people feel they have to be available all day.
Open plan layouts compound the problem. It’s easy to communicate with your team, problems can be shared rapidly, expensive floor space is saved and internal partitioning is relatively inexpensive. But they create another whole raft of problems, headed by interruptions. Open and free communication is great – but not that great! However, there are ways to minimise the down side.
How much more work would you get done if you had one uninterrupted hour a day? Does this sound good?
It’s easy to achieve. Create a company culture of Red Time. Translated, this means that everyone gets an hour a day when no one is allowed to interrupt. Colleagues take your calls, no interruptions are allowed from either internal or external sources, and you can concentrate on the ‘real’ work, or the ‘thinking’ work, impossible to do when fifty thousand people keep interrupting you.
As more and more people in a company adopt the idea it becomes easier to implement, for others start to experience the benefits.
A basic rule for Red Time is you must be meticulous about quickly returning calls and attending to people’s problems when you’re done.
If you have a lot of concentration work, try two blocks – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. And look for a time that impacts as little as possible on other people.