Why the time spent on your business may not be enough

As a business coach for over twenty-five years, I have lost count of how many business owners I’ve talked to put in that work 60, 70 even 80 hours a week in their business. They are working non-stop, stressed and still not able to make any progress in their business. And by the time they come to me, they are at their wit’s end and often a little skeptical of anything I suggest. Because, they have no way of doing more work. So any tips, tricks or systems I recommend will just put them to the side and add more to their already full plate. Know known? you are not alone You have no more time to work. But there is a significant difference between the time that most of us are working on our business each week, and the time we should be working on our business.

time vs. good time

Business owners are like scuba divers. You have a limited amount of oxygen (aka time) and what you do with that oxygen makes a difference. You could spend seventy hours this week answering customer service emails and boxing orders. This week you can spend thirty hours paying bills and filing your taxes. All those tasks are time spent on your business.

Or you can spend thirty hours this week accessing that new account that will double your profits over the next six months. Or you can spend twenty hours finding a rock star COO who will help maintain and grow your team’s scale. You can give your sales team ten hours of training to help them increase their conversions and grow your business. Those tasks will be considered time well spent. And the difference can mean the difference between growing or ending your business.

Feed your winners, starve your losers

When it comes to allocating your time, we call this technique “feeding your winners and starving your losers.” Your winners can be strategies that are working, products that are paying, or training or mentoring a team member. It may be procedures that seem to be more efficient. Strategies in your marketing that are actually generating results. Whatever you have is working, you should focus more of your time on that.

You must be constantly on the lookout for what is working and ask, if I feed it more resources, will it be better? If the answer is yes, then you have to decide, where will those resources come from? Can you outsource the help, sure. Can you give that winner more time, sure. But you have to give up some in return, which is where the hunger part comes from. The needle won’t do 80% of your daily tasks. Therefore, you should identify those activities and stop doing them, or delegate them to someone else on your team. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference by delegating those low level tasks to someone else. But when you turn those hours of working on things that really move the needle you’ll start to see the difference.

And as an added bonus, you may find that you actually work less and create more value for your business. So it’s a win-win situation.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.