There has been popular demand for me to write about my insights into the biggest challenges faced by companies in Wales in 2017. So over the next few weeks I will be talking about my top three:
- Cash flow
For each of these I will talk about the common issues faced by business owners / senior managers and what we did to overcome them.
Today, I will start with Time.
By far the biggest concern of business owners and senior managers in 2017 is the amount of time they spend in work and the impact this has on their families. All too often, they work late evenings and weekends ‘just to get through this rough patch’. Some are lucky to have loving partners who patiently support them through this, while others are reaching their wits end as the ‘rough patch’ has become their norm!
Some of the signs I see for a problem starting are e-mails piling up, with the number unread getting bigger every day. This is often followed by irritable behaviour, being short of patience and often snappy. Inevitably, the long hours follow with extra effort but often to little avail. The problem is rarely the volume of work, but instead relates to the lack of true understanding of what is important to their success.
This often comes of news to owners / senior managers as it is their business, how can they possibly not know what is important! Well, the business grows and changes, as does the environment in which it operates. All factors which need to be constantly monitored and addressed, taking corrective action to keep the business on track.
Where growth is involved, the processes and systems which once worked wonders no longer appear to be as successful. Is it any surprise? As you grew from childhood to adulthood, you outgrew your shoes many times. On each occasion you bought new shoes for each growth spurt. Business is no different.
The answer to getting your time back is a simple one…revisit your strategy and the systems and processes which will get you there! This is because focusing on criticality and efficiency performs two functions:
- You have a plan, so you know what has to be done and also what doesn’t need to be done. Suddenly, you realise many of the tasks you were working on add no value so no longer need to be done. Similarly, the urgent tasks you used to work on are replaced with important tasks. This distinction is important as it enables you to work on your business rather than in it
- Between one third and half of the costs in a typical business are not contributing to added value. Reviewing your processes from a lean management perspective to identify ‘waste’ is the starting point. Utilising process flow and value stream analysis to remove waste and build a lean and efficient process is the final part to ensuring you get your time back
I will be back next week with part two – Cash flow.
If you’d like help on time management and how to get the very best from your time, please don’t hesitate to contact me here