Author J.W. Oliver Jr. – Managing Partner at SupportDDS
As an entrepreneur, business owner, leader, or manager, time is one thing money cannot buy.
There are scores of books, blogs, videos, and seminars, all centred around using your time wisely. I have picked up "tidbits" of helpful information from dozens of sources throughout my career. I have invested money (and, coincidently, time) into these resources to make them more fruitful and to better organize and utilize the time we have been given. Just today, I read a verse in my morning devotional that made me think of this very subject.
" …MAKING THE MOST OF THE TIME…" EPHESIANS 5:16.
I must admit that this is taken a bit out of the context of the writer, but it simply stood out as I was gathering content for this editorial. But the bottom line is–we are simply BUSY! Most would agree that we are too busy to make time for the things that matter.
The tasks that take up most of an entrepreneur's or leader's work time can vary depending on the stage of their business and the nature of their industry. Here are some common activities and responsibilities that typically take up the majority:
Marketing and Sales
Hiring and Managing Employees
Administration and Operations
Overall, entrepreneurs need to wear many hats and manage a wide range of tasks to build and grow their businesses. The specific tasks that take up the most time will depend on their business's unique needs and priorities. Finding your role and surrounding yourself with others who can help elevate you and your business to the next level is most important.
Our companies, SupportDDS and ZimWorX, subscribe to the EOS Model (Entrepreneur Organizational System) developed by Gino Wickman. There is even a dental business-specific version called "DEO MAP," (highly recommend it for any business, however, there are many options.) This focuses on attributing your specific skill set to your organization and staying in your lane. For me, I have been a serial entrepreneur (many failures, I must humbly add) and, for many years, tried to perform multiple roles that began to be devastating to the business. This behavior leads to distrust and puts your leadership in a position where they can feel emasculated to make day-to-day business decisions. This creates confusion, but more importantly, it leads to hitting the inevitable "ceiling.”
It's real, and I have experienced this multiple times. In the EOS model, I am the visionary. I am skilled at creating new ideas for sales and marketing the business, creating leaders and a culture that others will rally around. (Yes, I am that “Rah Rah” guy.) But what I am not good at is the details of operation manuals, accounting, process development, follow-up, etc… What I have found, however, are people who are great at those roles. We have an amazing Implementer who can lead and drive the areas with particular skill sets in, with which I am not blessed.
ELIMINATE, DELEGATE, AUTOMATE, CONCENTRATE:
Rory Vaden wrote a really good book, Procrastinate on Purpose. The concept that stuck out the most for me is that every item we are tasked with falls into one of the four categories:
1. Eliminate: Do I need to do this? Will it bring me closer to the goals I have set for my day/week/month/year/ life?
2. Delegate: Is this something I need to do? Could someone else be better skilled or suited to complete this task? Even if they can only complete it with 80% of the effectiveness of what you can let them do it. This gives you back time to fill your role the most effectively.
3. Automate: Is there software, a process, or something in your CRM that would allow this task to be automated?
4. Concentrate: If you are going to accept the task, then allocate the proper time to complete the task or project effectively.
Rory Vaden states that even if it takes you 30x times as long to train another person or automate a task, it is still an amazing ROT (Return On Time). Are you taking the time to evaluate each task/ project that comes your way to see if you need to be doing this one? Maybe you do, but is that now? (Rory has a 5th one, "procrastinate", hence the book title.)
SupportDDS has found success because we have filled the roles in a dental office that can help "elevate your team and grow your business.” This outsourcing function is performed by remote/ virtual, highly qualified, university-educated, dental-trained team members who speak "Queen’s English.” (Feel free to substitute "King's English" if that floats your boat…smiles)
These roles include:
Director of First Impressions
Revenue Cycle Management Etc…
Personally, our remote/virtual center has allowed me to become a better leader and visionary with three roles that previously took 115% of my time. (Ok, slight exaggeration, but it was a ton of my time.) These roles can be performed at 50–70% savings with our center in Zimbabwe and Costa Rica.
Executive Assistant: Handles all my meetings, calendar, emails, travel, return calls, etc...(Kudos to Clara for putting up with me for 5 years.)
Brand Manager: Helps promote my brand within our company through social media, blogs, website, speaking, podcasts, and more.
Project Manager: These are large projects that take tedious time and effort (and a better skill set than mine). For example, we opened a center in Costa Rica for our Spanish-speaking teams. Our project manager handled the details and did it well. That project alone lasted six months (and took a ton of time).
Now hold your horses before you start saying you cannot do that, it costs too much, I wish, etc... Maybe not all at once, but start small and grow. I didn’t start with these three roles, but over the past five years, we've grown into them!
PRIORITIZE "THIS IS HOW WE DO IT":
I recently heard former HIP-HOP icon Montell Jordan (now a pastor) and his wife Kristin speak on marriage (a good book they wrote, This Is How We Do It! Making Your Marriage A Masterpeace), it was how to prioritize what’s most important. Yours may be different, but you can use this as a guide:
Work and Career
Whatever system you use, there are a few tips I have learned through my career that I believe you, too, can find helpful:
Creative time: Needs to be early while most are rested, and you must clear your plate and stay focused. This is when you can master and complete those projects/writing/ideas that advance your business and personal lives.
Phone Calls: Do this back-to-back. Also, ask yourself, do I personally need to make that call, or can someone else?
Emails: Do not check them every time it "DINGS." Check them all at once. (I am terrible at this, but I did turn the "DINGER" off.)
Meetings: Decide if you need to have one, or if you need to be there. Let others lead 90% of these, and let them decide and send you the summary. Promise, you and your business will not die/fail! It may just GROW!
Time is all we have. We cannot buy more, and we cannot get a refund for the time wasted. Develop a system that works for you, write it down, review it daily, and share it with your "confidants" (close friends, spouse, and God). This will allow you to live your passion, enjoy life, focus on what you are good at, and do what you love.
Fire the bad clients/patients: We recently had to fire one of our larger clients. We took a significant hit on revenue, but they did not align with the "Mission and Core Values" of our organization. Promise you one thing, 2% of your clients will cause you 95% of your problems!
J.W. Oliver Jr. is the Managing Partner for SupportDDS – ZimWorX, with support centers in Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. ZimWorX has the vision to employ 20,000 team members by December 2031.
His passion is assisting organizations to leverage growth, increase productivity, manage costs, and free up time by utilizing remote/virtual teams. He is proud to be a Christian-led entrepreneur while adopting a Win-Win-Win philosophy. Creating professional opportunities, and helping businesses be their very best, all while making a Global Impact for the kingdom by donating 51% of profits to global ministries.
J.W. has completed two ½ Iron Men races, and twelve Half Marathons, hiked 6 days from Cusco to Choquequirao to Machu Picchu, and trekked to Everest Base Camp, all after the age of 48. He is a private pilot, philanthropist, ordained minister, author, and podcast host, and he loves to sing. He works hard to see others laugh and smile, and he desires most of all, to uplift and encourage all he encounters to show them the love of Jesus. He has been married to his amazing “bride” since 1994 with two awesome adult children.