It seems like there’s a multitude of areas I can and should be spending my time on. Where should I be spending my time in developing my business? How does one really know what they should be spending their time on?
There’s no better time than the present to make this determination. Everyone seems to get a burst of energy to change for the better just before the first of the year. The rules for where you should be spending your time as the owner of the business are fairly simple. As the president and owner of your business 80% of your time should be spent in entrepreneurial strategic work and 20% should be spent on managerial strategic work.
In The E-Myth Point of View, we talk of the mind sets of the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician, and the fact that the small business owners usually have some of each mind set. Your internal entrepreneur is the part of you that sees the opportunities, has the vision of what the business could be, and understands all its many possibilities. Your internal manager is the part of you that creates order, does the planning, directs the activities of others, and is the pragmatist within you. And your internal technician is the part of you that does the work of your business, the hands-on, do-it-yourself worker.
How does this apply to you a, nd where you should spend your time?
Strategic work is entrepreneurial. The principle accountability of all business owners is (or should be) to develop their business and shape it to match their "entrepreneur’s dream" and the Strategic Objective that gives shape and dimension to the dream. Entrepreneurial work is creating the vision and the Strategic Objective for the business. This includes establishing high level "rules for your game" and policies for the business, and developing strategies that shape the business. This type of work is the work of the owner and perhaps later, those who also inhabit the president’s position. So as an owner you need to concentrate on high-level tactics in order to achieve your vision. That's why 80% of your time should be spent here.
Strategic work is also managerial. Managerial work is getting results through others. It includes work such as the development of specific business systems, planning, organizing, supervising, mentoring and training, setting goals and standards, budgeting – any kind of work that directs, regulates, and elevates the work of others and develops and installs systems that are operated by others. As an owner
20% of your time should be engaged in managerial work.
Tactical work is the actual hands-on, "direct" work of producing and delivering your company’s products and services or doing the administrative and support work of your business. So doing the bookkeeping, ordering the office supplies, baking the cookies, assembling the bicycles, delivering the pizzas, restocking the shelves, tailoring the suits, paying the payables, collecting the receivables, writing the advertising copy, handling customer complaints – doing the work and operating the systems of the business – are tactical work. Tactical work is the work of the technician or non-manager. As an owner you shouldn't be spending much, if any of your time here.
Of course, in a startup business, or one that is very small, or one whose owner doesn’t understand business development, the mix is very different. Often, the owner will do almost no entrepreneurial work, not much management work, and mostly technical work. It’s the curse of the "entrepreneurial seizure" (when a technically competent person thinks technical expertise is all that’s needed to run a business and doesn’t recognize that business development and management are distinct, and essential skills).
Now that you understand the definitions and where you should be, how are you doing? My bet is that many of you don’t know how you are doing or how much time you are spending in any given area of your business. That in itself is a real problem. It’s one reason we require E-Myth clients to spend two weeks measuring where they are spending their time, log each and every activity. Why do we ask them to do that? Precisely for the reason this person asked this question, so that they gain awareness and thus make a conscious decision to change. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to change your focus and concentrate on strategic work? If you’re not, don’t expect your business or your life to change this coming year.
The other reason to complete this time log exercise is simply to get a true understanding of what you value most. You spend your time on what you perceive to be most important in your life. Why don’t most business people want to do this exercise of recording where they are spending their time every minute of every day? Well most will tell you it’s too time consuming," I couldn’t do that, that’s monotonous, it’s crazy. I don’t have time to right down everything I do; I’d never get anything done." In the countless clients I’ve worked with the only ones who are truly prepared to make a difference in their lives, to be willing to accept the changes they need to make, and the task that is before them, step up and measure their time. If you plan to quantify your business, and you know that change comes from you as the owner, then doesn’t it make sense to quantify where you first are spending your time? Most of us are afraid to face our reality. We don’t want to see what is actually happening in our business. So we avoid seeing reality, and the biggest place this is evident is in where we are spending our time.
So how motivated are you to change this next year? Are you willing to face reality and see where you truly are spending your time? Take the two week challenge and measure your time and activities. One of my clients helped create an Excel Spreadsheet that is a particularly effective tool to take much of the pain out of time logs and then summarizing where you spend your time. We provide that tool when you engage in the E-Myth Program. There is another tool that measures where you are spending your time now versus how much your time is actually worth that only requires you to spend one day in measurement. Unfortunately, for many business owners even that is too much for them to do.
Send for this tool by emailing us (see instructions in lower right hand column of this newsletter) and get started determining where you are spending your time. Then continue to do this quarterly to make sure you ar, e making progress.
Are you afraid to find out what you truly value in your life? You vote each day by where you spend your time. Make a decision to be more strategic, have more freedom and begin enjoying the pleasures that being in business were intended to provide you. Begin your time log study today!