Does any business owner really have time to work on their business? If you said no then you are doing it wrong. As many of our readers know I was a scholar in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses program this winter. The program is coming to an end and since January 1st I have put over 200 hours into the class and the growth plan that I am writing. That is a lot of time! Over five 40 hour work weeks of my time in the past four months has been spent on working on growing our business. How and why would I commit that much time to working on growth?
Finding The Time
My phone rang last week from an unknown number and I answered it. It was some guy out of the Manhattan area asking me about his interest in buying a bookkeeping service back there. At one point he asked me the following question that stuck out, "Matt, do you really think that there is time to work on the business as you say in your blog and still make enough money?" I answered quickly, "Yes absolutely, no doubt." I wish he would call me back because my answer would be: how can you grow without making the time to work on your business?
Setting aside time to work on your business every week is incredibly important. If you are a small one man show you should still set aside at least a few hours a week to work on concepts to grow your business. Scheduling the time on your calendar and actually using the time to work on growth related activities is important. Some helpful tips I have are to turn off your phone, close your email, and really focus on what you are trying to accomplish. Remember non-billable time spent on growth related activities is important as well because it is what fuels new sales.
Non-billable Time Fuels Growth
If you spend all of your time on the billable operations of your business you will plateau, it's as simple as that. There are only so many hours in every day, week, month and a lifetime...don't spend them all working. If you try and do everything in your business eventually you will max out and probably crash. If your goal is to build up enough work to fuel only you, then so be it. The only issue with that is if you are good at what you do eventually you will grow organically through word of mouth and you will have to turn down business. If you are ok with turning down business then you will be fine, I just can't say no to people that are a good fit for our services. Spending time on growth planning, marketing, networking and sales are all important non-billable activities. Remember non-billable time fuels sales and future growth so make sure to give it adequate time every single week.
Write It Down
One eye opening revelation for me through the Goldman program has been how much good stuff I have in my head. The problem was that it was in my head, not on paper. So every time I wanted to share my growth ideas with a fellow employee, bank, business investor or someone in my trusted business network I had to tell them about it. I guarantee you things changed each time I told someone about an idea. The Goldman Sachs program gave me the structure and deadlines I needed to create a formal growth plan on paper. Now when someone asks me I can just hand them my formal plan, which is well thought out and written down. Additionally I have a five year forecast that details out where we will be based on our growth plan. I had some of our key employees read it and they are stoked. They got in my head, they see the vision, and they have goals. Now every time they are doing something business related they will ask themselves, "Does this support our five year goal?" If the answer is yes they continue if not they will stop; keeps things simple and everyone will align internally to work towards a communal goal.
So back to the original question and the point of this article; does anyone really have time to work on their business? If you agree with my points above your answer should be a resounding yes. Now get back to work.
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