Having control and boundaries around your time and the allocation of that time is KEY to you progressing. You may want certain freedoms, more of some things and less of others - to make this happen you need to free up time.
As a firm grows the available time and access to a partner gets thinner and thinner - a little bit like cashflow. As a business grows cashflow gets tighter and an emphasis needs to be put on freeing up cash to fuel growth. The same goes with your time.
The biggest excuse I hear to any change is: “I don’t have the time.” But that’s like the chicken and the egg. The line needs to be drawn in the sand at some point.
Small firms need to become resourceful - because you don’t have the capacity of a large team and healthy cash reserves. This will involve burning the midnight oil but doing it strategically, knowing that when you hit certain milestones you can hire that person or re-home some clients you took on from day one that don’t suit the business at day 365 or put your prices up.
Established firms can benefit from a time audit. A boring exercise but insightful. For the next two weeks set a timer on your phone to go off every 30 minutes and document what you are doing. At the end of two weeks summarise your findings. Grab a sheet of A4 paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side write your summarised findings (things like client meetings, emails, tax reviews, invoicing, social media posts etc.) and on the right side write down your short-medium term objectives.
Now put a line through any tasks that don’t contribute directly to your objectives. Calculate the total time spend on tasks with a line through them. Reflect on the opportunity cost.
You might need to start handing off client relationships to a Client Manager (or hire a Client Manager). You might need to stop doing any individual returns and stop doing any GST/VAT work. Perhaps you completely remove yourself from tax altogether. You may need to hire a Client Support person to delegate all the low value low skill repetitive tasks too. You may need to re-home some clients that are low profit and an emotional and time drain on you [no time for that].
In the below video I finish on two important topics that pop up often:
- “We’ve always done it this way…” - which is self explanatory
- “Sunk cost fallacy” - you haven’t fully realised the investment in something and won’t let it go
I challenge you to get REALLY TOUGH on your time because that is what needs to change and you need to be open to that.
Until next week,