04 May How to get more done in less time
As a small business owner, you only have so many hours in the day. During that time you need to:
- find new prospects
- close sales
- service existing customers
- handle all the administrative stuff that makes the business run
As anyone who’s been in that position will tell you, 24 hours in a day isn’t enough to stay on top of it all.
So stuff slides. You ruthlessly prioritize. You get the critical stuff done to keep a customer happy or get a new sale. That maintains the illusion that things are great for a while.
This is like the person who cleans by jamming everything in the nearest closet. Works great in the short term. But eventually all that stuff is going to explode out of the closet and make a huge mess.
All that stuff you aren’t doing in your business is going to make a huge mess.
How can you magically create more hours in the day?
You have no one to delegate to? Time for your first hire. An assistant.
Hire an assistant? I can see the sweat beading up on your forehead through the screen.
I can’t afford an assistant
The first reflexive response I hear from small business owner is they can’t afford one.
The real question is can you afford not to have one?
I get it. Cash is tight. But, opportunity cost is a very real thing.
Try this exercise.
Spend a week keeping track of all the time you spend doing things that someone else could do for you. If you’re like most people, this is going to add up to a pretty significant chunk of time.
For our example, we’ll say that adds up to about 10 hours per week. It’s probably a lot more than that.
What if you spent that 10 hours building relationships, having sales meetings, or doing other high-value things to build your business? How much would that increase your sales?
Let’s say it lets you increase your sales by $500 per week.
Let’s say anyone you hire would take twice as long as you to get anything done. So you’d have to pay for 20 hours of labor to free up those 10 hours. This is often true at the beginning, but after a few months, your assistant will probably be faster than you ever were on those tasks.
You pay your assistant $20 per hour. That’s $400 per week to increase your revenue by $500. You just increased your profits by $100 and made your life easier.
I don’t know what an assistant could do
The other response I hear is from owners is they don’t what tasks they would delegate.
Here’s how to fix that.
While you’re writing down the hours you spend doing tasks you could delegate, write down what you’re actually doing.
By the end of the week, you’ll have a good start on the list of responsibilities for your new assistant. Keep that up for a month, and you’ll likely have a very complete list.
I’m the only one who can do it right
As a coach, this is my favorite response to delegating. It’s my favorite because it creates an opening to talk about leadership and the hidden assumptions and attitudes that people bring into their business.
The short version of this is leaders get things done through others. Period. Understanding and living this is the most important transition a small business owner can make to grow their business, grow as a leader, and grow as a person.
It’s a simple idea, but it’s not always an easy change to make. But it’s a change you have to make to become a leader.
Once you’re ready to take the leap, you’ve got all kinds of options.
You can hire someone directly or you can use any one of many personal assistant services. You can find someone to deal with live, or you can work with a virtual assistant located anywhere in the world.
Need help sorting through the options? Worried that you’ll get hung up on the “I’m the only one who can do it right” idea? Let’s talk.