The importance and cost of time.

So I’ve spoken about time so often before. Many view it in different ways, but to me its absolutely a commodity and a unique one at that!

Just think about it. You always wish you had more, you’re angry when its wasted, its finite and yet we all give it away freely but you can’t ever get it back once you’ve lost it. Time without doubt is precious to us all but when you translate it into a business or to a business owner and manager, it is invaluable!

You’re not banking your time!

For me, everything I do is targeted to give more of it back. In fact when I’m asked what my business is about, I tell them I trade in time! Whilst I’m perfectly aware that the ‘time commodity’ is like selling unicorns, but it’s hard to find an industry in more need of it that that of hospitality.

All you have to do is look at the typical day of a restaurateur:

You work in the kitchen and come into work early to prep for lunch. Staff start to filter in and the phone rings with a sales call, which you take but give the caller an alternative time to call back. As you start to go back to the kitchen to prep for lunch a staff member wants to discuss annual leave with you. By the time you’ve finished another staff member raises concerns that the receipts from last nights dinner service have not been put away and they think some receipts are missing. As you find the missing receipts behind the bar you realise that a staff member from last night has not arrived yet so you take to Facebook to beg for someone to do a shift from your fellow restaurateurs. As you go back to do the kitchen you realise that lunch service commences shortly and you’ve not finished prepping. At this point you know that if there is a large number of customers you’ll quickly sink and potentially provide substandard food and loose custom.

Get a grip of your time!

Up to 25%, that’s a quarter of a managers and owners time is spent on staffing concerns. That’s an insane figure and whilst you may not be spending the full 25% on staffing concerns it is likely to be high. Equally it is unlikely the remaining 75% would be spent on the business only.

Whilst this is one example of high usage of time — its most commonly not the area most entrepreneurs ever expected to spend their time when they started the business. Lets face it, how many owners and entrepreneurs do you know who started a business solely so they could employ and manage people…I don’t know any!

As with the example above entrepreneurs struggle to delegate and trust others in their business when it comes to the running of their baby. However, your time is likely to be more valuable than some other staff members, so delegating tasks that others can do just makes sense.

Equally if you do not have the skills in your business and you do not have the skills yourself either — seeking outside help could prove critical. These functions may only be required every now and then but will make such a difference to your time. If your not great at keeping your accounts and submitting them formally, its likely you will need an accountant and at a minimum a bookkeeper. The same would apply to HR (people management), plumbing, electrics, and even cleaning linen.

Saving time means trusting the ability to delegate to others both inside and outside the business.

The issue here though does not stop at the volumes of time your spending! As with all commodities it has a cost too.

Average weekly hours x the value of your time = total cost of time

Lets look at an example: A restaurant owner who works on average 80 hours per week. Their time is critical to the business and therefore the value of it will be high. (It’s important to remember the value of time is not always the hourly rate or take home — its value based on the importance of that individuals time in the business). In this case the hourly value is say £50 per hour. The total cost of time is £4k per week. Or an insane £208k per year!

If we return to the amount of time spent on staffing concerns you realise the cost of this time is £1k per week or £52k per year! Lets just put that in perspective. The cost of the time you spend in a small business on staffing issues, of which you probably find frustrating, uninteresting, legally complex and for which you have little experience is costing you the equivalent of a senior wage in most businesses.

With such a large proportion of your time on staffing issues, what difference would it make if you had any of this returned to you?

Even a modest return of time to you is significant! If you take that time and spend it on increasing your marketing, improving your menu or social media then the value of it has increased due to the added value.

The balance of giving back volumes of time, reducing costs of time and increasing the value of time saved, for me is critical and is precisely why I trade in Time in all areas of hiring, firing and all that’s in between!

Do you think there are better ways?