Brought to you by Bright Arts Agency — We design and implement smart strategies for service businesses and their owners. So they can grow more, work less, and enjoy life.

How Service Business Owners can Save Precious Time and Maximise Results

What do you value more: time or money?

Since starting my business and a family, I’ve come to realise the true value of time. Time is finite. You can get more money, but you can’t get back the time you lose. Time that could be spent enjoying the company of friends and family. Time that could be invested in top-level business ideas — the ideas that grow our companies and improve our lives.

Strapped to a Business Rocket

The movie Interstellar brilliantly touches on the preciousness of time, especially the fleeting time we share with loved ones. Do you ever feel like Matthew McConaughey’s character? Strapped to your rocket (the business) with life rushing by?

I know I do.

So, how do we stop losing precious time?

By getting smarter about the way we grow, work, and live.

I’m here to help you do that.

Aside: Take our smarter business quiz today

Making You Smart(er).

As a successful business owner, you’re already doing a lot of the right things. But you may not be maximising your time, your business results, and your quality of life.

Let’s look at what a smart(er) business owner believes, does, and gets…

A smart business owner believes in:

  • Spending more time on high-impact tasks
  • Wasting less time on repetitive, pointless, and low-level tasks
  • Reducing the number of tasks they have to do

How a smart business owner does it:

  1. Determines clear business goals
  2. Creates a coherent strategy for achieving those goals
  3. Intelligently delegates tasks to team members (gives them the right systems, tools, and motivation)
  4. Creates systems that shorten the selling cycle and make it easier to close deals
  5. Implements a system for attracting and qualifying the right people (leads)
  6. Automates as much of their business and processes as possible

The results a smart business owner gets:

  • More time to spend with the people they love
  • Less time spent on low-level, repetitive, and pointless tasks
  • Less time spent on marketing and sales
  • More deals won
  • Happy, focused, motivated, and ever-improving team
  • Qualified and educated leads who are ready for business (fewer timewasters)
  • Err…More money!

Are those the kind of results in business and life you’re looking for?

Do the methods and approach used to get these results make sense to you?

I hope you said “yes” to both of the above.

Isn’t Getting Smarter Going to Be Hard Work?

Now, you may be thinking…”Andrew that’s all well and good, but isn’t achieving those results going to require a huge amount of effort and investment?”

Here’s my answer. You can get some of those results with a small amount of effort… and the rest of the results with a significant amount of effort and investment.

But, if I may be so bold… What’s the alternative?

Do you want to stop wasting time on pointless, repetitive tasks?  Do you want to max out your time, business results, and quality of life?

I’m probably labouring the point now.. .so let’s move on to how you get these results.

How to Become a Smart(er) Business Owner

I’m going to share two different approaches you can use to smarten up your business.

Approach One, is much quicker to do but less detailed. Approach Two is more comprehensive but requires a significant investment of time.

I suggest starting with Approach One and moving on to Approach Two once you’ve made some progress.  

Approach 1 — Take Our Smarter Business Quiz

Overview

Time required: 10 minutes max

Effort required: Low

Requirements: None

Result: Identify wasted time and weak points in your business + get actionable ideas for fixing those weak points

Instructions

  • Take our smarter business quiz.
  • Get your quiz score in your inbox immediately.
  • Plus — I’ll send you a video (made for you and your business) with personalised suggestions on how you can fix your time leaks and weak points.

Approach 2 — Track time, Find losses, Action Improvements

Overview

Time required: 2 months to ongoing

Effort: High — all day every working day

Requirements: Paid time-tracking app

Result: Detailed list of where you spend time, report of where you wasted most of the time, action points for eliminating that lost time

Instructions

For this approach, there are five steps you’ll need to implement:

Step 1: Track where you spend/lose your time

Step 2: Learn what time leaks are costing you most

Step 3: Prioritise what to improve

Step 4: Set improvement goals

Step 5: Measure your success

I’ll walk you through them…

Step 1: Track where you spend/lose your time

Start by installing a time-tracking app on your computer (and/or other devices). You can use tools like Toggl or Everhour to measure the amount of time you and your team spend on tasks.

You simply install the app in your browser and use it every time you start, end, or switch tasks.

To get the most out of these apps I’d suggest combining them with a productivity and task management app such as ClickUp (that’s the one we use). These will help you split bigger projects and tasks into smaller (sub)tasks — it’s good practice to measure the time you spend against highly specific tasks.

Step 2: Get actionable insights on your tasks and time

Once you’ve collected a reasonable amount of data, it’s time to filter and sort the data so you can get actionable insights.

You want to learn where significant chunks of time are:

  • Completely wasted, e.g.:
    • Facebook
    • Poorly qualified leads
    • Random initiatives
    • Unproductive meetings
  • Generating the most revenue
  • Generating the least revenue
  • Adding no revenue
  • Spent on one-off tasks
  • Spent on long-term investments
    • Building processes
    • Documenting procedures
    • Training
  • Spent on historic processes/tasks that nobody gets (why are we doing this?)
  • Spent on repetitive tasks
    • Sending invoices
    • Manually creating reports
    • Sending emails to new leads

Apps like Toggle allow you to tag your time and tasks with the above criteria, so then you can easily view a report and learn which tasks and processes are costing you the most time and money.

If you need more fine-tuned reports you should be able to export your reports to CSV and sort the data in a spreadsheet of your choice.

Step 3: Prioritise what to improve

Now that you’ve had a look at the reports, pick five tasks/processes/pain-points that are hitting your time/money/life the hardest. Determine whether these can be reduced or eliminated.

You should end up with a list like this:

  1. Reduce the time we spend writing long complex emails
  2. Reduce our sales cycle to 30 days (eliminate unneeded meetings)
  3. Reduce time spent with non-qualified leads
  4. Eliminate time wasted on one-off bespoke projects
  5. Reduce proposal creation time by 50%

These five will become your improvement objectives.

Step 4: Objectives and Key Results

At Bright Arts Agency, we’re big fans of OKRs — that’s Objectives and Key Results.

Objectives are your top-level goals, and Key Results are supporting goals and/or actions that move you towards those main Objectives.

I’ll add clarity by sharing examples with you.

Example 1

  • Objective: Reduce time we spend writing long complex emails — The top level goal
    • Key Result: Implement video message responses — Supporting action
    • Key Result: Use an automated transcription service — Supporting action

Example 2

  • Objective: Reduce our sales cycle to 30 days — The top level goal
    • Key Result: Automate the follow-up process — Supporting goal
    • Key Result: Automate meeting booking process — Supporting goal

Example 3

  • Objective: Reduce time spent with non-qualified leads — The top level goal
    • Key Result: Introduce application process  — Supporting goal
    • Key Result: Educate leads better in marketing materials — Supporting goal

Example 4

  • Objective: Eliminate time wasted on one-off bespoke projects — The top level goal
    • Key Result: Productise the core service — Supporting goal
    • Key Result: Educate leads about how our core service helps them  — Supporting goal

Example 5

  • Objective: Reduce proposal creation time by 50% — The top level goal
    • Key Result: Create proposal template — Supporting goal
    • Key Result: Create automated delivery system — Supporting goal

Right, enough theory. It’s your turn now.

Write down at least one Key Result that will help you achieve each of your timesaving Objectives.

If you find your Key Results are non-actionable, you’ll want to drill down until the items become actionable. For example:

Example 4

  • Objective: Eliminate time wasted on one-off bespoke projects — The top level goal
    • Key Result: Productise the core service — Supporting goal
      • Key Result: Create a list of common deliverables — Supporting action
      • Key Result: Design two productised services using items on list — Supporting action
    • Key Result: Educate leads about how our core service helps them  — Supporting goal
      • Key Result: Create a video case study — Supporting action

Then, you’ll need to work with your team and action those Key Results.

Step 5: Measure your success and goals

After you’ve actioned and achieved your Key Results it’s time to see how those timesaving improvements worked out. It’s best to wait at least a month or two before you do this, otherwise you won’t see any noticeable impact.

How do you spot improvements?

By carrying on with time tracking, and comparing the time you used to spend on certain tasks and the time you’re now spending. You could also compare how profitably you are spending your time. Or whether the time you are spending on one-off tasks has decreased.

All being well, you should see some positive improvements.

What to do next?

Repeat the process — find the next five areas that you can optimise in your business.

Keep repeating the process until you feel that you have thoroughly optimised the processes and tasks in your business.

More Than Time Saving

While the method outlined above will help you save time, if you go deep and wide (on every part of your business) with this process, you’ll also get additional benefits like:

  • Better qualified leads
  • More deal wons
  • More time doing stuff you love

Can’t make sense of it? Take our free quiz and I will personally explain how your business can optimise its processes and achieve the above benefits. Side note: I really don’t care if you choose to work with me or not — I’m here to help business owners like you get more time for the things and people they love.

How to Motivate Your Team

Another thing to remember: The benefits that you get from smartening up your business don’t only help you the business owner, they’ll also help the rest of your team. They’ll have:

  • More time to spend with the people they love (less time at the office)
  • Less time wasted on low-level, repetitive, and pointless tasks — a motivation killer
  • More time talking with quality leads, which naturally leads to…
  • More deals being won (which might mean bigger bonuses)
  • More energy to focus on enjoyable high-level tasks

When you begin smartening up your business, let your team know that they will personally benefit from this process. This is a surefire way to get them on board.

Lost Among the Stars

Let’s return to Interstellar. What an epic film. I hope you’ve seen it. [Spoiler alert coming up.]

At the end of the film, Matthew McConaughey’s character is finally reunited with his daughter after being away in space. But here’s the catch: time for him has moved at a different pace. So when they’re finally reunited, his daughter is now an old lady, while he’s only aged a few days.

It’s a beautiful moment, but so sad — he’s missed so much of his daughter’s life.

As overly-dedicated business owners, we also risk our lives slipping by. Especially the precious time we could spend with our loved ones or doing the things we love.

You’re Not Alone

That said, there is one key difference between you and our Interstellar hero.

Matthew McConaughey had to go on a mission to rescue humanity (more or less) by himself.

What do you have at your disposal?

Your team, brilliant time-saving technologies, the methods I shared with you in this post (including our quiz), and the help of expert time-saving consultants (ahem!).

You don’t have to go it alone. You can gain back your precious time.

You can grow, work, and live smarter.  

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