What would you do with the gift of time?

Written by: Penny Cooke | Posted on: | Category:

Time. That most precious of assets. And I can give it back to you. A few months ago, one of my clients called me his very own Time Lady – because I created time for him.

How many business cards have you amassed over the years? What have you done with them? Do you have to play hunt the business card when you have to send an email or a letter to a contact?

How long might it take you to create a spreadsheet with the contact name, company name, email, website, landline, mobile of all your various contacts? Let’s change the question a little. How long might it take you to enter the details from just one business card? A minute, two minutes? Don’t forget to put the dots in the right place for the web address and not include it – perhaps – when you're typing the first name last name of the email address (penny.cooke@ and not pennycooke@).

What a dull, time-consuming job, but wouldn’t it be useful to have all those details in one place? What might take you a couple of hours, a VA can get it done in probably half that time. How long have you wasted starting that that pile of business cards? Time that you could spend doing something more productive and gives value to your business.

How long does it take you to send out your invoices every month? How long do you wait to see if those invoices have been paid? And how long does it take you to find out if they’ve been paid?

And then there’s chasing for payment. Whether by email in the first instance, and then by phone (pulling those numbers out of that non-existent Excel spreadsheet above), it all takes time. Do you have the time to spare? Do you have enough money so that you don’t need to spare the time? I doubt it very much. I certainly don’t. And it’s got to be worse, hasn’t it, if those people who’ve not paid their invoices are personal friends or close acquaintances? It’s taken your precious time and energy to get those people to use your business in the first place, right? Do you then want to be the one that asks for money (even though it’s owed to you)?

Awkward doesn’t quite cut it, does it? What if you got someone else to make those calls, someone who is polite, professional but, at the end of the day, quietly determined to get your invoices paid?

How many times have you come away from a meeting and can’t make head or tail of the notes you’ve half-scribbled in a notebook? Gosh, wouldn’t it be a lot simpler if you could just record a business meeting and then type those notes up? But how long might it take you to getting around to typing those up? And then how long might it take you to go through the recording, and type it all up? I’d suggest that you find someone to give those notes or that recording to, and have them transcribe into a nicely presented record of that meeting, for both you and your client. And that, of course, saves both time and any potential misunderstanding.

Of course, you could use voice-to-text software, but even the best doesn’t do as well as the human ear and brain. It can’t pick up on the nuances of language. And accents can thoroughly confuse.

True story. Occasionally, I will use software – as a back-up, when there are three or more people talking. I very recently had to transcribe a meeting, and during the initial social chitchat, hospital visits were mentioned. One of the speakers mentioned having to visit a particular ologist. Whatever he intended, it came out wrong. What the software went with was “demonologist”.

Do you write reports, or newsletters, or even a blog? Not only do all those take time to do but, afterwards, you need to make sure that there are no mistakes – mistakes in spelling, or grammar, or clarity etc – and finding those can be tough if you’ve written it all and read it through maybe three or four times. It’s very difficult to spot your own mistakes, especially as the mind will often see what it wants to see, and not what’s on the page. It needs a forensic eye looking over it, proofreading it. Yes, you can get a colleague or a friend or family member to do this for you, but some people may not even notice the odd error. But, please, trust me that there will always be someone who will. Someone who – like me – will see that typo, that convoluted sentence, that misplaced comma. Attention to detail is key.

But then there’s typing in general – letters, emails, quotes, etc. Are you a Point & Peck typist? How many words a minute can you type, error-free? (My speed’s around 75 words per minute, in case you were wondering?!) Do you have the time or inclination to type in the first place? Have you ever read anything that’s been produced using voice-to-text? It’s good, but it really isn’t that good. Even the very best voice recognition software can interpret one name, one word, into several versions. And see above re demonologists!

Those are just a few of the time-consuming jobs that many business owners have – time-poor but administrivia-rich business owners, like you.

What would you do with the gift of time?

Perhaps you might be able to get on with the really important stuff - growing your business, making it the success you know it can be, should be, will be if you only had the gift of time.

Here’s a timely thought… how about getting in touch with your very own Time Lady? Give me a call. See what I can do for you – help you focus on what you do best, and leave the rest to me.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke / Pixabay

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