Time is a Scarce Resource

More than ever it seems that time is a scarce resource. Running a business is a delicate balancing act between fulfilling all the various responsibilities. It is even more complicated if you have an active personal life, for instance a family. To be successful in all areas of life takes intention to set your priorities and discipline to act on them.

Fifty years ago, advertising consisted of putting ads in newspapers. The times have changed.  Now, you must stay on top of Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and many others in order to stay relevant. Technology is an amazing tool that can simplify tasks, however, it is constantly changing and keeping up with it is not keeping it simple.

We may try to accomplish everything we have to do, but the truth is that we spread ourselves too thin. We may check everything off of our to-do lists, but we might not have done any of the tasks as well as we could have.

When I think about the time it takes to manage and grow a business, I think back to Macro-Economics 101 in my undergrad. Consider the supply and demand of time. As a small business, there are many tasks, let’s call them demands that must be accomplished. Because there are only 24 hours in a day, time becomes a scarce resource and the supply part of this equation. You probably have a high demand for this scarce resource, and thus your time becomes ever more valuable. You must choose the most important tasks to handle yourself with intention. To meet the remaining demands of running a business you must increase the supply of time, but you have 24 hours in your day, and I bet you also want a personal life and some sleep, too.

Here are a couple of ways to increase the supply of time:

1)      You can contract someone to perform tasks that you do not want to do or are not an expert in. One example would be to hire a bookkeeper at an hourly rate. This may meet some of the short-term demands, but it really depends on the skill of the individual. Hiring an hourly employee can get costly if they make mistakes or spend a lot of time researching complicated accounting and tax questions. Ask for and check their references.

2)      You can work with an experienced consultant.  A CPA or bookkeeper with good references will get the work done correctly and won’t have to spend as much time researching complicated issues. Eventually you will need a CPA whether it’s for filing your taxes, compiling financial statements to raise financing, or one other of the many professional services that a CPA can offer.

Your time is valuable. How you choose to spend your time is incredibly important for both your business and your health. Small business owners often want to do it all themselves, but it’s not realistic and the results are generally mediocre. It behooves you to be intentional and to decide how you can best contribute to your business and have professionals supply the time to do the rest.