Last week, I had the privilege of working with a group of new entrepreneurs from the Right Management Fast Trac program, and one of the discussions raised was the issue of balancing time as a start-up. As an entrepreneur, whether solo or in a group, you are ultimately in control over your own time.
This can be a great thing (because you’re the boss!) or can be the worst thing that ever happened to you; if you can’t effectively manage your time you will find yourself sucked into various projects and left with the feeling of never having accomplished anything. Entrepreneurs in a start-up phase are usually pressed for time and have to do everything themselves. In corporate America, when you are working for a company, your schedule is often predetermined by your work hours, meetings, travel etc and you have the luxury of having others to delegate and support you.
In the world of an entrepreneur, however, you are both the boss as well as the employee. There is an old adage that says “Treat your business like a job until it starts treating you like a business” and if you think about it, it will help you divide your activities into working ON your business vs. working FOR your business. Since there are only a limited number of hours per day and you are ultimately in control of those hours, it helps to plan your week by how many hours you want to work ON your business, doing activities like strategic planning, networking, marketing etc.. After you have decided how many hours you have for those activities, you must determine what you need to do FOR your business, ie client work, administrative duties, inventory etc. By analyzing your time in week-long increments, you can begin to get into a routine and better manage your time.
Ann Marie and I divide up responsibilities for the upcoming week during our business planning meetings, and the few minutes that we spend doing this saves us hours during the week. In addition, we have one another to keep us on track to accomplish our weekly goals. So, our advice to you is to set a weekly goal, divided between time spent working on vs. working for your business, then hold yourself accountable to meeting this goal. At the end of the week, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done!