Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase “Time is Money” more than 260 years ago, but in a world where we’re constantly tied to our cell phones and seem to be connected to work almost 24/7, that phrase is more relevant than ever. If you’re a small business owner, you know the value of quality time. You didn’t open your business because you wanted to work 80 hours a week. You opened your business because you saw an opportunity to provide a better product or service AND have the flexibility to live a better life.
So take a minute to sit down and consider this… If you were getting paid a regular salary for your job, what would your salary be? When you think about the number of hours you work, are you satisfied with your hourly pay? What is your hourly rate? If that number is lower than you’d like, you need to cut the trivial tasks out of your day and focus on growing your business.
Have you ever taken the time to consider what your time is worth? Most owners never assign an hourly rate to their time. As a consequence, they don’t value, respect or protect their own time … they spend it foolishly. While they work hard, they typically do the wrong type of work. They seldom differentiate between the real value of daily tasks and end up costing the company money – and themselves some sanity.
Our coaches often run this exercise with their clients – asking them to assign a value to their hours. We know from experience that most business owners could safely double whatever number they wrote down and that would be closer to a true worth per hour number. Because most owners are handling so many menial tasks on a daily basis, they undervalue themselves.
Whatever number you came up with at the beginning of this post, examine it, challenge it and revise it. Now that you have a solid number in your head, you need to learn to delegate tasks that are below the value you came up with. For example, if you’re working on payroll, ask yourself, would I pay someone else the amount I should be making to do this task? If the answer is NO, then you shouldn’t be doing that task.
As a strategic business owner, that task is not worthy of your time and odds are, others can do it better and quicker than you can. The same goes when you do IT, paperwork, collections, administration, shipping, customer service, surfing the web, answering the phones, accounting, basic marketing and selling, scheduling, training, handling most fire drills, etc.
Whatever your hourly rate, start holding that number up to the value of the tasks you are doing on a daily basis and ask if that task you are about to start is truly worth your time. If not, delegate, outsource or eliminate that task. Learn to value, respect and guard your time.