I have an entire chapter in my book devoted to the "It took me HOW long?" question. If you're familiar with my blog, you might know that my book helps entrepreneurs address the mistakes they commonly make when running a small business. I have lots of experience running businesses. And trust me, plenty of experience in the mistakes department! So when I finally discovered what I was doing wrong — why I was so crazy busy, yet was always worried about money — I decided I could help other business owners like me by explaining the process I used to figure it out. One revelation I had is that I wasn't even close to correct when it came to tracking how I spent my time. If you want to improve your bottom line and have more money to show for all your efforts, you should definitely take a look at this.
Of course I can't fit a whole chapter here, so I'll try to give you the quickie Cliff's Notes version so that you can at least pass your test on Monday and fake your way through a conversation about time tracking and sound like you know what you're talking about! It's a lot of questions, but hopefully they'll get you thinking about all the easily forgotten ways you spend your time that you should be billing for. It's the ask-your-way to improve your bottom line method. Here goes...
Lawyers know what they're doing when it comes to billing!
If you've ever gotten a bill from a lawyer, you know that they're experts in time tracking... and billing for it! We can all learn a thing or two from them. When you talk to your clients, how long do you chit chat first before discussing work? How much time do you spend on back & forth e-mails? What about behind-the-scenes work that's a necessary part of whatever service you provide — things like research, making copies, preparing presentations? Do you meet clients in person, do errands related to a job? Then add in drive time (and if you live where I do, that can be a big number!). Do you delegate certain tasks to an assistant? Don't forget that person's time. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.
The behind-the-scenes stuff… Is it work or something else?
I know I’ve mentioned it a million times that my brain is very ADD. I can be researching a certain kind of fabric I need to dress a table with at an event, and that fabric leads to custom chairs (that I don’t need!) so I browse the furniture pics a while, and the image contains a piece of artwork that looks cool, so I click on that…. you see where I’m going with this! It’s oh-so-easy to get distracted. And that goes double for your employees! Lost time costs you money! If you really want to see, in cold hard detail, where your time goes, Hubstaff time management software can monitor and track everything from Internet activity and how long you spend on each site to keyboard and mouse usage! The ingenious technology even lets you screenshot active applications! It gives you a brutally honest picture of where your time is going!
The good news is that once you have a better handle on accounting for all your time, you can reflect this in your billing. And if you bill clients according to an up-front contract or package, then you can more accurately specify what's included in that package. Once your clients go beyond the parameters of that package, you can bill them for it. You need parameters for your proposals and contracts. Tracking your time will reveal the parameters you need to set in order to improve your bottom line.
Be Oh So Quotable This Week!
I always say running a business means the work never ends! Ain't that the truth? I bet your to-do list is a mile long! Make sure that the items at the top of your list are the things that relate to being more profitable. Everyone is so proud of being so "busy"...But Are You Making Any Money? Don't be too busy to focus!
I hope you liked the roundup of quotes we had this week to get you thinking about how to improve your bottom line. 21 Suggestions for Success by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. gives us great habits that anyone who wants to find success should adopt. For more inspiration, take a look at One Minute List.
Check out the summary of last week's business tips and motivational quotes from my Instagram page which you hopefully got to see in real time! If not, let's make sure we're following each other on Instagram!! So...here is this week's roundup of Instagram images of My Top Business Tips and Motivational Quotes.
Improve Your Bottom Line – Tip #1:
"Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life."
Improve Your Bottom Line – Tip #2:
"I may not bet there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday."
Improve Your Bottom Line – Tip #3:
"Be forgiving of yourself and others."
Improve Your Bottom Line – Tip #4:
"Tracking your time will reveal the parameters you need to set in order to improve your bottom line."
Improve Your Bottom Line – Tip #5:
"Join a business network to get discounts from their preferred vendors on products and services you already buy."
Let's talk! I want YOUR stories on how you've been able to improve your bottom line!
I'm sure you have tips about how to improve your bottom line. Which tips above did you find helpful? I would LOVE to hear from you!
Anyhoo...I publish these business tips and motivational quotes to get you fired up for your work week! And, if you want more business tips, get my book, But Are You Making Any Money? or contact me to really take your business to the next level!
P.S. Of course that's not all we've got! Searching for more tips about running a business?
Then definitely take a look at these:
I'd love to hear your ideas! So please comment below and then SHARE!