By Veronika Tondon

Times are changing and so is the technology that runs businesses. Well, this may be more like everything is getting simplified. But there are some interesting implications of the dynamic cloud-centric world.

In a world of tools, content and mobility the commodity that becomes most scarce is time. As as an entrepreneur, I may have access to global technology, workforce and of course capital. But, I may run out of one critical resource. That resource is today’s ever more competitive world, is time. How does that hold true?

Let’s take an example. In a 20-hour week, Business A may be able to reach a significant goal in six months, while Business B may do so in one month. Now, both of these businesses have the same number of employees, provide the same service and invest pretty much the same amount of money.

The idea goes much beyond productivity. It is about the mindset of the business owner. Time has always been currency, but probably not so much as today. It’s not just because we have time tracking tools, but the many tools that literally swamp us to become more productive. If we do not understand the value of time as much, then the competitor will and the chances are, we lose out in a big way.

A business owner has to look ahead and look back at every step to know exactly how the business is doing. That exactly is the ROI of time. Here is a list of things to help you with your return on the time that you invest:

  1. Man Hours vs. Revenue – This could be a daily or a monthly activity. The revenue you generate divided by the man hours spent on the project gives you the ROI with respect to the time that was invested. You can give more weight to the time spent by senior employees to bring in more accuracy.
  2. Benchmarking – Create a benchmark within the teams and the organisations vis-a-vis the expectations of the expected ROI in terms of man hours. You can go beyond and have it as a part of senior employee KPIs.
  3. Cost of Tools vs. Time Saved – You are definitely using lots of tools in your business from email marketing, project management, and ERP. Cloud computing tools should be used and implemented after good amount of research for cost benefit analyses. The benefit here should be understood not just in terms of the product features but the man hours it’s going to save.
  4. Product/Service Costing – Your product/service cost is dependent upon the raw material and the electricity used and so on. The time spent should be added to your cost so you can price the product/service appropriately.
  5. Simplify – A business process can be made much more effective when simplified. Creating greater autonomy and flexibility for employees helps them become more efficient. Understanding what they can do best and then setting them free with it helps. Moreover, the accountability has to be result oriented rather than task oriented.
  6. Ideas – We rarely incentivize our workforce for ideas. The best way to improve collaboration and productivity is come up with time saving ideas. Creating a work culture that fosters time saving ideas is one of the best ways to improve returns to the invested time.

How do you make sure you protect the cost of your time as a small business owner?