Posted by Admin on October 21, 2016


I’ve had this post bubbling away in my head for a little while. Now we are firmly into the traditional business planning season (quarter 4) I thought it the right time to share.

Where has the year gone?

Here we are in October 2016. The year (for me at least) has flown past – seems like it was January just yesterday. Do you feel the same?

Most people I talk to seem to be in the same boat – and businesses I talk to, who had great plans for 2016, are reflecting on what they have done, what they haven’t done and the business results they’ve seen.

It’s not uncommon to hear “we didn’t’ do that”, “there just aren’t enough hours in the day” or “we’ve just not got round to doing that yet”. It’s no surprise when I hear these businesses go on to tell me “profits are flat” or “sales haven’t been as good as I thought”.

So, what’s the problem?

What’s stopping your business growing?

Well, I believe a lot comes down to business planning (or lack of), effective use of time - what to prioritise to make the biggest difference to business results, and also a realistic view of how much time there actually is to do stuff.

Time is precious; use it wisely to get the best business results

Some time ago I read the book Polar Bear Pirates, by Adrian Webster. There is a great paragraph that really brings into focus how little time we actually have to do anything.

“Planet Earth is widely believed to be approximately 4,600 million years old. This is an unimaginable timescale, so for the sake of sanity, let’s pretend that Earth is only 46 years of age. This being the case, mankind arrived here just hour hours ago, JFK was shot about 17 seconds ago, Elvis died within the last 12 seconds and if you live to be a hundred you will only get 44.4 seconds. What you do with your go is of course entirely up to you…”
Polar Bear Pirates by Adrian Webster (pg 22)

After reading this, I got thinking about what this means when running a business.

Working this through, how much time do you really have to work on your business?

You only have 230 days in the year to work in (or on) your business

If we assume you work in your business 5 days per week, take some holidays and account for public holidays during the year, that leaves you with only 230 days in the year to work in (or on) your business.

This is only 57 days each quarter.

Now, I know a lot of business coaches who run 90 day or 100 day planning approaches to help businesses deliver results. But, unless you plan to work 7 days a week then you don’t really have 90 or 100 days a quarter – it’s closer to half that.

And have you ever thought what 57 days a quarter really means?

Less than 3 weeks per quarter. Less than 12 weeks per year!

To bring the reality of how little time there is, assume you work 8 hours per day – that means you have 456 hours per quarter. That’s the equivalent of just 19 24-hour days! That's less than 3 weeks per quarter. Less than 12 weeks per year!

So, it’s little wonder that many business owners (and small business owners in particular) work more than an 8 hour day and it’s also little wonder than they don’t grow their businesses as quickly as they would like – there just isn’t the manpower; there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

The purpose of this post isn't to freak you out about how little time there is or to suggest that you will only work 2-3 weeks a quarter as this just isn't true. The purpose of this post is to emphasise that with such little time it's critical to business success to prioritise, plan and work on the most important activities that will help you grow your business.

To help you prioritise and plan to work on the most important activities to your business here are a couple of posts that will help you with how to go about planning. I hope you find them helpful.

6 things business owners can do to make better use of their time and get business results faster

What goes into a marketing activity plan?

7 ways to make sure you hit your business goal

You only have less than 12 weeks to grow your business in 2017, what are you going to do with yours?

I'd love to hear your plans for the coming year. If you're a bit stuck feel free to contact me to help you make the most of your time.

Remember to ask us for our FREE Business Fitness Test and free follow-up phone call.

Jane Cuthbertson is a Chartered Marketer based in Stirling, Scotland.

With a diverse marketing background, she specialises in setting strategic marketing plans with long-term goals and is skilled in implementing integrated marketing programmes that deliver sales results.

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