Business Management, Time Management

The Conflict Between Time and Money in Business


In my experience talking with business owners it’s not uncommon for them to work long hours.  It really brings it home when they work out an hourly rate for their work and realise they’re not the highest paid person working the fewest hours in their own business.  In the business they own.  This results in the conflict shown in the diagram:  the conflict between the time required to run a business and the desire to spend more time with the family and pursuing hobbies.  The details may vary but it usually comes down to something like the one shown in the diagram.  It goes like this:

  • In order to have a better quality of life I need to grow my business so that it makes more money for me and my family (and my employees).
  • To do that I need to work more hours (because I can’t afford to pay someone else to do the work if I’m going to make more money from it).
  • However, in order to have a better quality of life I need more leisure time to spend with my friends and family.
  • In which case I need to work fewer hours.

As you can see there is a clear conflict as shown by the two diametrically opposed needs. As a result of this conflict, many business owners resign themselves to either:

  • forever working day to day in their business and working long, long hours, or
  • giving up on growing their business any further and never realising its full potential or their dreams.

In reality then, they own a job rather than owning a business.  The business won’t function fully if they are not there, and as a consequence, the business never really becomes the financial asset that it should be.

As I say, it’s relatively common, and while the solution is simple, it’s often not easy.

Here’s a simple three step process to break the conflict:

  1. Make the work more profitable to increase cashflow.
  2. This creates options for bringing people into the business, even part time, so that more work can be done to further improve cashflow.
  3. The third step is to start documenting everything that goes into running the business so that ultimately anybody can do it.  This step usually ends up improving processes as well so that they are more efficient.

Then as the profits grow you can start to step away from the day to day operations of the business safe in the knowledge that everything that needs to happen in the business can be done by someone else.

Simple right.  But not always easy.  It takes a certain amount of time, planning, prioritisation, commitment, persistence, a system and sometimes additional knowledge and skills.  Someone to hold you accountable to stick at it often goes a long way too.

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