How do you spend your time as an Entrepreneur? Working IN or ON your business?
Small business owners typically always have a shortage of 2 things.
It’s pretty universal. This is one of the primary reasons why it is extremely important for entrepreneurs to make sure that their time is being allocated appropriately because it has a significant impact on their earning potential. As an entrepreneur, how do you spend your time? This is how I generally spend the time allocated for my digital marketing consulting company, Symmetrical Media Marketing: Marketing & Content Management 40% Client Relations & Sales 40% Research 15% Administrative 5% Let’s consider how that time is spent-
Marketing & Content Management 40% Since I am managing a digital marketing consulting company, it shouldn’t be surprising that the marketing of the company as well as the creation and curation of content consumes a significant amount of my time. These tasks include (but are not limited to): producing thought leadership content, making website updates, scheduling content, creating images and presentations, participating in/guest hosting Twitter Chats, making media appearances, attending industry-related events, attending networking events, identifying and sharing curated content, engaging with brands that I’ve worked with and more. I’ve been managing this business for over 7 years and throughout that time I’ve seen the value of creating and maintaining systems to save time and increase efficiency. Most of the tasks that I’ve listed are manual, so I continuously try to identify how to simplify and quicken my processes as I tackle each task. Client Relations & Sales 40%
Every business has some form of client relations or sales tasks that they need to participate in to be able to attract customers. Prospecting, following up with new contacts or referrals, reaching out to professionals on LinkedIn, scheduling introductory calls, making visits and securing sales are all part of my client relationship tasks. I try to simplify the processes as much as possible, while also focusing my time and energy where I foresee the most high-impact opportunities being. Ultimately B2B (Business-to-Business) relationship management and sales are generally more challenging and have a longer sales process than what is typically seen with B2C (Business-to-Consumer) brands. Being aware of the pain-points, concerns and needs of your prospective clients, listening to their concerns and coming to the table as an objective and helpful source of information are some great ways to approach sales and professional relationships. Once the sale is secured, the remainder of the time is spent creating a custom digital marketing strategy for the client and providing on-going assistance to them as they see fit, so that their needs are being met in a way that will allow them to achieve their marketing objectives and business goals.
Research 15% The digital marketing landscape is changing rapidly!! I’ve witnessed many changes in the industry since I launched Symmetrical Media Marketing, just over 7 years ago. Major changes such as Microsoft purchasing LinkedIn and most recently Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter have taken place. We’ve also witnessed some social networks disappear such as Google+ and Vine, while platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat and Pinterest have surged. We’ve also seen the rise of short-form video, podcasts, livestreams, live audio events, platform-facilitated interactive webinars, E-commerce, digital products and more. Regardless of what industry you are in, it is advisable to invest in yourself by continuously sharpening your industry knowledge and business acumen so that you are staying up to date with industry trends and are aware of the technology and best practices that industry leaders are leveraging. In my case, I have taken online digital marketing trainings with industry leaders such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and (I highly recommend the Inbound Marketing and Frictionless Sales program from) Hubspot. I also regularly read digital marketing and business content from Social Media Today, Hootsuite, Hubspot, Buffer, Entrepreneur, CNBC and on LinkedIn News. Administrative 5% The administrative part of the business is primarily comprised of basic recurring tasks like recording financial transactions, issuing invoices, reviewing bills and identifying appropriate services/suppliers. Try to streamline and automate these processes as much as possible since they typically don’t contribute towards your revenue.
Now that you’ve clearly identified how your time is being allocated, consider how much time you spend working IN your business versus working ON your business. Working in your business is extremely important in an operational sense, but what will the future of the business look like? Sometimes it is hard for entrepreneurs to take a step back and look at the bigger picture since they are ‘boots on the ground’ in the business all day. Take a day to step back, look at the bigger picture, identify your short and long term goals and consider if your business is going in the right direction. Then consider what adjustments it would take to ensure that your business is going in the direction that you need it to.
Are there things in your business that you could automate? Could you outsource a task using a professional service or could you teach an employee or intern how to handle it so that it can be delegated? How effective are your business systems? Are competitors operating more efficiently? What learnings would help to take you to the next level in your industry? Review these considerations and identify a few key opportunity areas, then create a plan to make improvements accordingly.
Let’s connect on LinkedIn and Twitter! I write a variety of blog articles on topics such as marketing news, digital marketing resources, small business insights, entrepreneurship and the labor market. Andrew C. Belton, MBA is a Marketing and Financial Services Professional, Writer and Owner of Symmetrical Media Marketing where he helps small businesses to create effective digital marketing strategies. He has been featured in LinkedIn News, LinkedIn Pulse, Startup Stash, Venture and Business2Community. He is a Philadelphia native, West Chester University of Pennsylvania graduate and is passionate about helping small businesses, education and challenging the limits of technology and communications.