No other aspect of business is less under our control than time.
You can't pay to increase the supply of time. To speed it up or slow it down.
Too much or two little time by itself can't put you out of business, but it is a component of every other logistical issue, any one of which can dramatically effect your future.
You are probably more aware of time than any other logistical element other than possibly money.
However, just like every other aspect of running a small business, time is commonly something reacted to rather than carefully planned into our marketing efforts.
For instance, my business partner of 26 years used to joke that he wished the trade show producers wouldn't wait until just weeks before the show to set the date of the annual show. This while we scurried around making last minute preparations that would have been better and cheaper had we taken the time earlier to plan and execute.
In the advertising specialty business (promotional products), successful suppliers all have standard turn around times of three days with one day capabilities at an extra charge. How is it possible that so many intelligent owners of businesses are so disorganized that there is a need for three day turns on imprinted magnets. Or that three days may not be enough and you have to pay substantially extra for next day and overnight delivery.
I have walked into business after business that fails to understand that a DAILY sales and profit analysis or break even number is the most important number in their business. We have literally turned around failing businesses, just by establishing that number and making hitting that amount the highest priority.
Dollars per day, units per minute, monthly payroll cost, cash burn per quarter, yield per hour, leads per trade show day, calls per hour, closes per day per sales person, website visitors per day, and on and on the list goes. And I know it is a duh, but it doesn't make it any less important to say: you can't get the minute, hour, day, month, year back. Playing catch up gets to be harder and harder as periods pass that are short of goals set.
During my career i have tended to appreciate those employees who had an appropriate sense of urgency, and be less inclined to promote those who didn't understand the relationship between time and marketing success. But it is also up to the manager or owner to establish expectations, and to make these expectations realistic.
Do you feel that this post is just way to obvious or derived from common sense? Or was there a wake up call for you regarding your business? In working with over 400 small businesses in the last 7 years, my experience would suggest that you are likely kidding yourself if you think you've got this subject covered.
Action steps for day 25:
- Determine those things in your business that should be time sensitive.
- Set up a calendar with deadlines for the incremental elements that need to be completed.
- Create goals that and analytics that allow you to track results in a timely way
- Instill a sense of urgency in your staff without turning it into an obsession - it is a fine line
- Have backup plans for when time runs out
- Incentivize timeliness that doesn't sacrifice quality standards