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The Value of Your Time

Topic: Entrepreneur Evangelist | Comments (1)

Posted on January 11, 2010 by admin

Asking QuestionsOne of my recent posts was about asking the right questions at different stages of your business maturation — there are some questions that you should ask when you’re getting started, and others that you ask several years in. But as many of us are focusing on getting 2010 off to a solid start, what questions matter for today?

Jason Cohen of Smart Bear Software posted a follow-up to his previous article on VentureBeat in which he asked several new questions, and this time the theme was around managing an entrepreneurs time and priorities.

“If you were forced to hire someone today, how would you define her job such that she would contribute enough revenue to cover her expense?”
This is a great question, because it removes the knee-jerk, “I can’t afford to hire anyone” excuse. Instead, it requires really considering what it would take to make an employees role pay for itself. It may not be possible just yet, but defining what this would look like is a huge step to getting your business to a position where it’s possible.

“Which of your business operations do you hate?”
I particularly like this one because it’s an important reminder that some things we spend time on are such energy drains that they actually will bring down our overall productivity, even on tasks we enjoy. One of the things that entrepreneurs need to understand is how to manage their own energy levels in order to effectively manage my time.

“What initiatives could be done half-assed without significant impact?”
This is a great question because it’s the type of thing that no one ever wants to admit they consider. And yet, to Jason’s point, it’s something that we always need to keep in mind. Every task has a ‘point of diminishing returns,’ where the time and effort you put into it starts to exceed the value that you will get out of it. It is always important to be mindful of that threshold, because otherwise it’s easy to get caught in the cycle of perfectionism that will consume your time with no return.

“If you could get one solid hour of advice from a guru you respect, what would you discuss and what would be the goal of the meeting?”
This question is well-worded because, again, it is forcing you to consider how you are spending your time. It’s not, “If you could ask them anything, what would it be?” It is specifically, “If you could get one solid hour…” Period. Prioritize.

No one has endless time and resources. The people who are most successful are the ones who figure out how to maximize what they have, and work around what they don’t. And one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to remember is that the single most scarce resource you have, is usually you.

Alora Chistiakoff is an entrepreneur, content strategist and project manager who has been developing online business and technology for startups for more than a decade.  She co-owns The Indigo Heron Group, Inc., a content strategy firm in Austin, Texas