Make Time for Business

Channel Strategy
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Time is a fleeting and elusive resource. We all need time to contemplate and execute, but always find that there’s never enough. Controlling time requires a plan, and here are four steps to better time management.

Call it what you want: A lack of time, not enough time, time always running out. From what I hear from solution providers, time is their second biggest concern right behind money (which is logical since time is money).

There are never enough hours in a day to do everything you need to do. There is no time to work on new business or even to grow current business. Organisations are stretched to the limits. For many solution providers, it’s beyond doing more with less; it’s more like doubling up with half the resources. Often there is no time to balance what the right hand is doing with the left.

Take a deep breath. There are ways to increase the efficiency of the hours you are already spending. Here are a few tips to help add a little time to your day, get a few extra things done and, most importantly, improve your business.

1) Start with a plan
The odds are against you if you believe you can reach your destination (goals) without having a map to get you there. At one time you had a plan to start your business. If you have not updated your business map, now is the right time to dust it off and revise your goals and objectives. Begin each day with a review of your daily plan and objectives, and schedule time regularly to review and update your business plan, goals and the programmes you are running to get there. One hour spent on planning a day can save your business.

2) Measure. Evaluate. Measure again.
No one can expect every marketing or sales program to work the first time round. Every programme you run should have measurements for success defined. Set measurement points and again, adjust as necessary to drive the success planned for. This is called market once, measure twice. One hour spent on measurements a day can save wasted resources.

3) Network. Outsource. Partner.
No one can do it all. Keep involved in your networks. Build new networks. Outsource to subject matter experts what you cannot do in house. Partner to take on what your networks cannot do. I am not advocating that you partner with your competition. I do advocate strategic partnerships to increase your portfolio of offerings. It takes one hour a week to build a LinkedIn community. Two hours a week to join your local chamber of commerce or other business associations. Maybe another hour a week to monitor and update your Twitter and Facebook. Four hours a week spent on networking and partnerships can drive incremental revenue and customer retention.

4) Listen
It’s amazing how much time we spend doing each day and the limited amount of time we spend on listening. Listen to your customers to understand their business concerns and objectives. Listen to your networks for new opportunities. Listen to the feedback you hear about your competitors. Once you hear what’s being said, you can do something to respond and drive revenue. An hour of listening each day can add new business and prevent costly mistakes.

There’s no magic marketing solution that can add more hours to a day. There’s no secret organisational skill that will drive business revenue to new records. These are basic business strategies that have served companies both large and small through rough economic seas. Building in these foundational practices can save your organization time and money while driving new growth and incremental revenue.

Kathleen A. Martin is the special projects coordinator and channel marketing columnist for Channel Insider US.