I just started a new sales class last week and as I often do I open the class with a few questions. The first question that I like to ask is: “What is our most valuable commodity?”
I am always amazed at the answers I get. It’s not that they are right or wrong. After all different things are valuable to different people. But it’s interesting to see the process that people go through when they think about what IS their most valuable commodity.Some of the answers I get are information, relationships, money, reputation, clients, employees and so on.Let’s face it all of these things are important to a businessperson today. Take information. Today we need the right information immediately. But in truth we are drowning in information. In fact the Internet and technology has blasted us with so much information that we don’t have the time to wade through it to figure out what information is important to us!Or how about relationships? Anyone who knows me would agree that I’m always going on about how we’re living not in a technology age but in an age of relationships. This is true yet why is it that people just can’t seem to find the time to get together anymore. How many times have you heard, hey we’ve got to get together sometime? Yea right when I have SOME TIME!Then there’s money. Right the almighty buckaroo. You know if you have enough money you can buy anything. Right? Sure if you can find the time to spend it!But there is one commodity that is special and unlike any other in that it seems to be getting more and more important yet there is less and less of it available.That is time.What’s so special about time?”Time is precious. You can’t get back the time you wasted yesterday. Those who can extract value from their time will make a huge impact on their business.”Those who focus on the proactive activities or what I like to call the “big stuff” (a very academic name) will ensure their success first rather than simply dealing with the most urgent issues of the day.If you think about this it really does make sense. If we are spending the majority of our time working on the urgent or reactive items, then we will never have time for the critical or PROACTIVE items.These proactive activities are those that permit us to bring about positive change and give us a competitive edge. These are the things that bring value to our reputation and with our clients, employees and biz-partners. And these are things that allow us to strengthen relationships and deliver inspiration to those in our sphere of influence.What keeps getting in your way of devoting time to these activities? Most of us have experience with this. We keep setting the same goals over and over again, yet we sabotage our own success by letting other less important activities get in the way.Here’s my advice:
* Make a list of what gets in the way and what you will STOP doing.
* Go to your day timer or Pocket PC, Palm Pilot or whatever you use to organize your day, and start recording the activities that you will do to achieve the big stuff.
* Plan specific activities and the time you will commit to these in each day of your planner.
* Hold yourself accountable to working your plan.
* Try delegating all of the urgent tasks so you can stay focused on the critical.
* Plan one day a month where you seclude yourself from the phone, email and day-to-day issues to focus on catching up on all those critical things you’ve been meaning to get around to but never seem to have time for.I recently found a wonderful little verse that demonstrates the value of time. It goes like this:To realize the value of:
ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade
ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
ONE WEEK, ask, the editor of a weekly newspaper.
ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
ONE MILLISECOND, ask the silver medallist at the Olympics.What’s your BIG STUFF?Where should you be investing your time?Don’t wait until later. Later never comes.Go do it. NOW!Help our readers learn a little something from your experiences and we’ll give you a reward. Tell us your stories about how you stopped just dealing with the urgent to focus on the critical. What kind of “big stuff” did you get done and how did it impact your business? Everyone that gives us a good story will receive our two disc set of the Best of the Small Business Hour.I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .Mark Deo