Chances are you’ve heard this statement in the workplace before. It is a cliché that too many bad bosses and business coaches use to create motivation. The other day, one of my team members noted that small business owners had two primary concerns: time and money. More specifically, how to create more of both.

As I thought about that statement, it occurred to me that time and money often do share a link, but not the way my old boss used to think. Sure, my billable time meant money for the company, but the relationship was not always accurate. If we were inefficient or working out side our scope of expertise, our time often cost as much money as it created. For many small businesses, trading time for money can become a very limiting factor.

This happens as a result of several culprits:

Bad customers – Remember the saying ‘the customer is always right’? While it is important to keep customers happy, not every customer is ‘right’ for your business. Many small businesses are so eager to get a new opportunity they don’t stop to consider whether that opportunity is a good fit. A customer that slows down your organization or makes it inefficient is a bad fit. A customer that cannot be satisfied can damage your brand. It is your job to determine what makes a prospect a good fit for your organization and then weed out the ones that are not a match. The result will be a more efficient operation that operates profitably and delights the customer. This leads to more money and more referrals.

No Process – Having a repeatable process creates business success. Not only does it help set expectations with your customer, it also allows your organization to become efficient. There is a tendency in small business consider ‘flexibility’ a benefit and resist structured processes. This is a mistake. Today’s marketplace is defined by niches of excellence. Trying to be all things to everyone often leads to very mediocre results. Stop and consider the process (or processes) your customer goes through as they work with you. Take time to define exactly what you do and how you communicate that to your customer. They’ll appreciate knowing what is going to happen and the structure will set a standard for your team to execute.

Scarcity Mindset – Famed sales guru David Sandler trained his students that before every sales presentation they should recite in their mind ‘I am independently wealthy and do not need this sale’. He realized that too many sales opportunities are lost because the salesperson felt desperate or needy. This is true for companies as well. When sales are down or flat there is often a desire to create a new product or reinvent an idea. This is a scarcity mindset and it is dangerous. It can lead to wasted time and resources. If business is not performing at its peak, consider the circumstances. Focus on what has historically worked rather than trying something new and untested just to feel busy.

In retrospect, while it is true that time and money are valued outcomes, the ability to generate both in abundance requires planning, strategy, and hard work. If you are struggling with any of these elements, we’d like to talk with you. Please leave a comment or sign up for a free conversation with me using the button on this page.

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