Finding startup capital is always a challenge – can you dip into savings, borrow from a 401k, or sell some items you no longer need? Articles such as these are often disappointing, pointing entrepreneurs to imaginary funds that they don’t in fact have. Most of us have enough to get by and little extra for launching a whole new business. But let’s suspend the idea of capital in the way you’re familiar with it for a moment. Let’s not focus on hidden pockets of financial wealth that you’ve yet to tap into, because in reality, they may be sparse or non-existent right now. Instead, consider capital in a broader sense – what resource are you currently wasting that you have plenty of?
Psst!…it’s time. Time is the ultimate untapped resource in your small business. It’s your greatest asset that you probably haven’t been utilizing to the fullest. And it’s not your fault. There are so many tasks a new business owner takes on alone – building a website, developing marketing campaigns, dealing with vendors, designing and managing a brick and mortar location, training employees – the list can go on forever. However, you still only have 24 hours in your day, and some of them must be spent sleeping. That leaves you with 16 hours to eat, exercise, see your family, and handle every little detail of your business. That’s a lot to cram into your waking hours.
Thankfully, there is another way to tame your hectic to-do list and uncover an untapped resource in your small business.
1. Trim Your Schedule
For every minute you spend fiddling with your website design, you’re wasting a minute of real productivity. Ask yourself whether the kind of tasks you spend your time on will have a huge ROI, minimal ROI, or none at all. For those that have none, work toward cutting them out or delegating them. For example, managing payroll is a must-do, so you can find assistance in that area. On the other hand, spending an hour searching for the perfect blog font is not a must-do and has virtually no ROI. Employing help from small business consulting services is a good idea if you’re still a solopreneur. Thus to really tap the untapped resource in your small business (aka, time), you need to prioritize.
2. Stop Putting Off The Big Stuff
Once you’ve cut out ineffective tasks and delegated some of the important tasks to others, you can finally use your time wisely. Surely, you have some business ideas bouncing around in your head – ideas that you’ve been meaning to implement, projects you’ve been meaning to start, improvements you’ve been meaning to make. Harvard Business Review says it best:
“Eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones. Our research indicates that knowledge workers spend a great deal of their time—an average of 41%—on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others.”
Maybe it always seems as though there isn’t enough time, but in fact, the big goals are the ones you should prioritize. It’s not the menial, day-to-day drudgery that will take your business to new revenue heights. Once you carve out time to work on these meaningful projects, you simply have to get into the habit of valuing your time.
3. Value Your Time
It isn’t a temporary process, but rather a way of life. Even when you’re not at work, valuing your own time is a sign of self-respect and a good habit to adopt. Business owners who get into the habit of valuing their time excel in productivity – and not just busy work, but real productivity. So how can you do this? Again, you can look at time in the same way you look at financial capital. A startup that received millions in investor funding will use that funding in the most efficient way possible. The same goes for your time – think of time as your version of capital. For a more practical approach, determine how much money your time is actually worth. By breaking down your earnings, figure out your hourly rate. That number can provide motivation and serve as a reminder not to waste time.
What is one thing you can do this week to cut down on wasted time? What is one thing you can do to secure success in the long-term? Start viewing time as a pivotal untapped resource in your small business. Once you do this, you can stop taking it for granted and start bringing those game-changing ideas into reality. Before you know it, your small business management strategy will begin to take direction.