|The One Business Strategy That Will Change Your Life
The One Business Strategy
That Will Change Your Life
With the millions of books, tapes, strategies, methods on being successful, have you ever stopped to wonder which one of them is most important? Which discipline or skill will have the single greatest impact on our personal and financial success? Which one contributed the most to Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Sam Walton, Donald Trump, Michael Dell, and any number of other mega-successful business men and women?
I don’t believe anyone can say for sure, but I do think there is one skill, one strategy, that is at the core or at least tightly linked to every other skill or discipline that is critical to success. I believe that this skill, once mastered, can have the greatest impact on not only your quality of life, but also on your business and your financial success. I also happen to know that it is one of the most difficult skills to master.
What is it?
The discipline of investing your time wisely.
After all, what is the core talent of any business owner if not the ability to convert knowledge and ideas – through the investment of time - into money?
We all know that we only have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Time is the great equalizer; no one person can gain an advantage by manufacturing more time. While we all know that “time is money”, very few entrepreneurs or business owners actually understand the TRUE value of their time and treat it with the respect and value it deserves.
To prove my point, let me ask you a question: do you really know what your time is worth? I’m not necessarily talking about market place value as in how much you could actually charge someone for an hour of your time. I’m talking about the value of your time being based on how much you can leverage your ideas, talents, and assets to make money.
Now let me ask you a second question: over the last week, how much of your time did you spend worrying about or doing things that you could have hired someone else to do for you? How much of your time did you spend on tactical, day-to-day mundane activities, putting out fires, or dealing with problems that could have (and should have) been prevented from happening in the first place?
As a business owner, our biggest strength of taking charge and getting things done quickly becomes our biggest enemy. We create our business from scratch, do it all, and develop the “right” way of doing things. Once you get into the habit of doing it all yourself, delegating to others becomes difficult. After all, you KNOW no one can do it as good as you can, right?
Maybe and maybe not; either way, if you mire yourself down with the day to day running, operations, and tactical work of the business, you are severely limiting the amount of money you can make. Let me give you an example…
Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonalds franchise, never went to work IN McDonalds. Instead, he went to work ON McDonalds and made money on O.P.E. (other people’s efforts). Ray Kroc understood the value of his time. He knew that he would be far more successful if he focused on the strategy, planning, and building of McDonalds rather than getting behind the counter to work IN the business. After all, there is a physical limit to the amount of work any one person can do. Focus your time and effort on the wrong activities and you’ll end up making very little or no real progress.
If you look at all wealthy and successful business owners, you will find the same common theme. These people have been able to accomplish great things by focusing their time and attention on only those activities that they do extraordinarily well while strategically and aggressively building systems, hiring employees, and outsourcing those activities that they do NOT do well, that are routine, and mundane.
So why am I, a computer consultant, writing about the value of your time?
As a business owner and entrepreneur myself, I have devised a program to help my fellow business owners divest themselves of one major area of frustration and time-wasting activity in their business so they can free themselves and their staff to focus on more productive, business-building activities that directly contribute to the bottom line.
The area of the business I’m talking about is (of course) the technology that runs your company. E-mail, databases, word processing applications, web sites, access to the Internet, and any other number of business application you use in your business are critical tools that you rely on day in and day out. If these tools stop working, all productive work in your business can come to a grinding halt.
Unfortunately, there is no software, network, or even a stand-alone PC that will function completely problem-free over an extended period of time. If you’ve owned a PC for more than 10 minutes, you know that computer problems pop up unexpectedly and usually at the most inconvenient times. That’s because the constant changes and growing complexity of technology and daily development of new threats such as spam, viruses, spyware, and hackers, make it necessary to perform on-going maintenance from a highly-trained technician - even if you only have a small, 2-user peer to peer network.
Obviously the costs of hiring a full-time IT person are not always feasible, even for companies with 20 to 75 workstations. Up until now, you only had two options for computer support:
Option #1: This option is the most common; you designate the most technically-savvy person on staff (or yourself) to be your make-shift IT manager and only bring in outside help when your “internal guru” runs into a network crisis they can’t solve.
Problem is, you are pulling this person away from the real job you hired them to do AND unless they have the time to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in IT support and management, they don’t have the skills or knowledge required to properly support and secure your network. This goes back to my argument earlier about focusing your time on ONLY business-building activities; obviously this is not one of them. To make matter worse, trying to do your own in-house IT support inevitably results in a network that is ill-maintained and unstable, which then results in excessive downtime, overspending on IT support, and expensive recovery costs.
Option #2: This is really foolish but we see it every day: businesses that use their network until it “breaks” and then call in the experts to repair or replace whatever stopped working.
This reactive model of network maintenance is a surefire path to extensive downtime, lost data, and excessive spending on IT support, not to mention major disruptions in staff productivity, sales, cash flow, production, and customer service that can never be recovered.
Lee Iacocca once stated that he figured the top CEOs might average only 45 PRODUCTIVE minutes per day – the rest of their day was spent fighting off time-wasting activities like a frantic person swatting futility at an attacking swarm of angry bees.
If you are not performing regular maintenance on your computer network, I can virtually guarantee that your computer network will end up being one of those “angry bees” that shows up on a regular basis to distract you from focusing your time and attention on the more important aspects of growing your business.
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