What’s your time worth?

When you’re a business owner, your working routine becomes split into administrative tasks and billable hours.

Billable hours represent the time you actually spend doing clients’ work, i.e. the time you charge out to your clients.

Administrative tasks (or whatever other term you want to use) represents everything else you do in the business. This doesn’t just mean completing necessary paperwork; it covers everything you need to do in order to win, process and keep clients, i.e. the tasks you must complete that will lead to or underpin those billable hours you can charge for.

For example, if you have commercial premises where customers/clients attend, administrative tasks include keeping the property clean and well-maintained. They would also include the marketing techniques you must adopt and apply to attract business to you. They even cover:

  • Staff recruitment and training, and the resolving of ant HR issues
  • Following up with clients and instilling good customer service
  • Business development and planning
  • Prioritising, goal setting and diversifying
  • Widening your network
  • Evaluating your marketing ROI
  • Ensuring your business is as streamlined as can be, inc. regularly assessing suppliers' prices insurance policy renewal quotes and utility costs
  • Market research, price checking and regular analysis or your competitors
  • Self-development

All of these things have an impact on your billable hours. Don’t get me wrong, every single one of these actions is vital for a business to not only maintain its current customer base but also achieve growth.

Your time has a value, however. Your business will arguably benefit more from you attending a networking event than if you were to set about cleaning the customer loo—yet both need to be done. Of these two tasks, one can easily be carried out by someone else, whilst it’s much more effective if you, specifically, do the other (guess which one is which).

In a growing, scalable business, the aim is that even the billable hours are eventually done by someone else, and you, as owner/founder, concentrate solely on steering the ship forwards. Only you know where you want the business to be and have all the information and wherewithal to make changes, to diversify or create new lines/services, to decide what’s working and not working within your company.

If you were to evaluate your working routine, you’ll see that there are so many tasks that you could outsource to someone else. Of course, outsourcing comes with a cost attached, but you must look at the value of your time to see the return. Time is finite. If you insist on doing everything in your business, your business can’t scale up because you will have no more billable hours available to sell—they will all be taken up with administrative tasks.

Take this example: you spend an hour of your time networking, in which you’re introduced to a new contact who’s in need of your services. Or you spend that hour chasing warm leads, which results in three new customers. Or, you spend an hour reconciling your receipts.

The networking hour introduces £1,000 of new business. The chasing of warm leads and the bringing on of three new customers results in £10,000 of extra revenue. The reconciling of your receipts doesn’t really bring a return on investment (it may help you avoid a fine from the taxman, granted, but it could only loosely be described as a productive task).

It's the same hour. Sixty minutes. But two of the three suggestions will move your business on and create revenue. Costs that come from outsourcing tasks that don’t need to be carried out by you need to be deducted, of course, but it’s better to earn some of something (in respect of a productive task) than none of nothing (with regards to a time drain).

Multiply this many times, and you will have a thriving, growing business.

I understand that not every networking meeting, nor every hour that’s spent chasing up leads, will always lead to new business, but it’s very likely. Balancing your receipts will rarely (if ever) lead to additional revenue or business growth.

Because time is finite, you should be careful what you do with it. If control is an issue that stops you outsourcing tasks, learn to get over this, before you strangle the life out of your enterprise.

Look for tasks that will create the most revenue and growth in your business and dedicate yourself to these.

Need to talk through these tasks and which ones can you really get rid of then give me a shout

email: chatwithme@pippamell.com or

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