The Gift of Time

TIME - we all have the same amount of it, it's what we do with it that counts.

When you're running your own business it's easy to get caught up in everything and you end up running round like a headless chicken! This often starts because you are time-rich and cash-poor in the early days and it feels like it's cheaper to do jobs yourself rather than pay someone else to do them. That might be the case when you have time to spare but as things pick up and your time gets more precious (the clue's there!) you need to rethink the view that your time is cheaper than someone else's just because you're not having to part with cash.

In another article I will talk about the physical value of your time (ie. in money) but today I want to share with you a short story that has been around for a long time and you may well have come across it before, but it's worth another read just to remind you how valuable your time is and that it's worth taking a second thought about what you're doing with it.

Imagine there is a bank which credits your account each morning. It carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day. 

What would you do? Draw out every penny, of course! Well, every person has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. 

Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever you have failed to invest to good purpose. 

It carries over no balance. 

It allows no overdraft. 

Each day it opens a new account for you. 

Each night it burns the remains of the day. 

If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. 

There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow". You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success! 

The clock is running. Make the most of today. 

To realise the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who has failed an exam. 

To realise the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby. 

To realise the value of ONE WEEK, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper or a football manager. 

To realise the value of ONE DAY, ask someone who is on minimum wages and has just been made redundant. 

To realise the value of ONE HOUR, ask a starving child in Africa. 

To realise the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who has missed the train.

To realise the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who has just avoided a serious accident. 

To realise the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics. 

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it today with someone special, special enough to have your time.

And remember time waits for no one . . .  

Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present! 

If you want help to work out what you're actually doing with your time, which tasks you should be delegating and how you can do that (particularly if you don't have a team) join my FREE online 'Find Your Time Challenge' here.

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Choo-choo ... All Change?

I'm back out on the road again - smack in the middle of a two week trip.  In light of my experience last month I've been more static this time but today was travel day and on my way I was passing close to a heritage steam railway.  

Steam trains have been so inbred in me I can't not go and see them if I'm in the vicinity, so I popped in to Bluebell Railway just in time to see a train leaving the station.  I had a wonder round the loco shed and the museum they have put together in one of the station buildings and then I got collared by one of the curators, who was obviously curious about why I was there - I clearly didn't fit in with the other train spotters hanging around on the platform.

So why was I there and what's it got to do with business?

b2ap3_thumbnail_BlueBell-Steam-Railway.jpgAs I mentioned, steam trains are inbred in me.  My dad loved them and so we always had to visit steam trains on holiday, when the Flying Scotsman or the Mallard came to Sheffield we had to go down the bottom of the road to see it pass by and there were pictures in the house of steam trains.  So I go in part because it's traditional for our family and reminds me of holidays when I was younger, but also I think I go on behalf of my dad.  I guess if he was still alive and going to these places himself I might not be so bothered about going, but somehow I feel I'd be letting him down if I didn't go and get excited about a good old fashioned steam training puffing down the line!

When I was walking back to the van I got to thinking about the saying "if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got" and whether it's always bad to do what you've always done and good to always be doing new things?

I know that there are definitely times when we should make changes to enable us to strive and achieve new things (in life or business) but we have to be careful that we don't make change for changes sake.  I for one am I nightmare with "new shiny object syndrome" when it comes to software and I've had to stop myself constantly changing to the next new thing I come across - I was driving my team nuts!  

And that piece of marketing that works and brings in customers - don't stop doing it because you feel you should try something new.  Try something new by all means, but keep doing the thing that works!

So I think it's about getting a balance - keeping the "old" things that work or have a purpose (as long as they're not holding you back) but be brave enough to try new things along side them to see where they can take you.

Isn't that called having the best of both worlds!


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Are you a mind reader?

As I write this it's the hottest day of the year so far (Tuesday) and it's getting late in the day so my brain is getting a bit frazzled.  I therefore thought I'd cheat and find a funny video to share with you for this week's email and so I popped onto Google and typed in "hot office videos".  Suffice to say, I won't be sharing any of the videos that came up in the results!

But it got me thinking, do you know what your prospects are looking for when they're looking for your service?

What are they typing into a Google search and will your website come up in the results, either natural or paid?

What do they need to hear when you're doing your 40-60 second spiel at a networking event that will make them sit up and think, "I need to speak to that person"?

We all know our businesses inside out and it's easy to assume that everyone knows what we do, or to describe it in a way that involves too many technical or industry-specific terms that doesn't mean anything to anyone else.

I remember many years ago, when VAs where not common, thinking that describing myself as "a secretary who works from her own office instead of yours" would made it more understandable for people.  What I eventually discovered was that unless you'd had a secretary in a previous 'life', nobody really knew what a secretary did, so it didn't help at all!

So if you're struggling to get people to buy into what you can do for them, have a real think about how you're putting yourself across.  Try and put yourselves in the shoes of your prospects - what are they actually looking for and how would they describe it, not having inside knowledge of your industry?

A big part of this is the features vs. benefits issue that many people struggle with:

  • Features are what you actually do, ie. "process all your receipts and invoices and make sure your accounting information is up-to-date"


  • Benefits are what it means to the prospect, ie. "you will have valuable information on which to base decisions in your business; you will not get fined for late submissions; you will have more time to spend with your family & friends"

I'd love to hear what you think you do for your customers and I'll happily feedback what I think that means and see if it's what you actually do.


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