Time and money: which would you like more of?

Time and money: which would you like more of?

Work Smart Not Hard Tip No. 1 in a series written for Indie Cambs

A while ago I asked a group of business owners: “If you could only have more of one, which would it be – time or money?”

These are the two things that small businesses typically struggle with and they seem to be inextricably linked.

“If I had more money I could take time off.”

“If I had more time I could make more money.”

They can also be linked in more subtle ways. The more we feel under pressure with time, the less likely we are to make good decisions about anything.  A recent post from Indie Cambridge member Dennis Harhalakis quotes Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman: “Anything that speeds people up instead of slowing them down is going to cause more impulsive and uncritical behaviour”, so the more time pressure we’re under the more likely we are to make bad decisions about money as well as other things.

Time is finite

The vast majority of people who answered my question said they’d prefer to have more time which is a bit of a problem as time is finite. We all have the same amount and while we talk about wasting it, spending it, and saving it, this is never the same as doing these things with money.

Perhaps a better question to ask is, “Which scares you the most, losing time or losing money?”

I bet the answer most people would give to that one is money.

Money isn’t limited

And yet money is unlimited – we can always make more. The most important thing about money in business is that it can buy time. When we make more money we can hire people or install systems to do the things we don’t like doing or don’t need to do ourselves so that we have more time to do the things we really want to do.

If you want to work smart, focus on the things that make you the most profit. Automate everything that can be automated, especially repetitive tasks, and outsource or delegate all the things you don’t need to do yourself. Try to avoid swapping your time for money and look for ways to create something once and sell it on repeat.

Pricing is an art not a science so looking at price increases is always a good place to start. If you’re in any doubt about how much people will pay for seemingly low cost items, check out whether a single ice cube could be sold for $8: The $8 Ice Cube

In the time v. money question, the smart thing to do is start with how to make more money and then look at how you can buy more time.

If you’d like to talk this through and find out what would work for you, get in touch and let’s chat. 

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