Every morning, you are handed 24 hours – one of the few things in this world you will receive for free. Even if you had all the money in the world, you still couldn’t buy more time. The question each day is: what will you do with this treasure? This is a question that is relevant to anyone, but – on a professional level – especially relevant to professional service companies, such as a PR agency.
Retail stores, restaurants and any consumer-good front store invests major efforts and time into preventing theft and shoplifting. A responsible person wouldn’t consider eating at a restaurant without paying or pocketing electronics in a store; so, why is it that when it comes to service providers, people think its ok to steal our product – TIME? We sell time, hours in the day, to produce client results and get paid for it.
Perhaps it’s a lack of awareness to the significant role of time to service-based businesses. Unlike individuals or businesses in other industries, service-based businesses like my PR firm, 5WPR, make the most of two elements that create success: the human resource, and the time resource. Time is the platform on which we create, design and “manufacture” our invaluable goods; it is our “assembly line.”
If you ask us to spend time preparing a presentation, then have the courtesy to reply? If after numerous meetings we pitch your business, then at least have the decency to call us back. Be constructive: take 5 minutes to explain why our services weren’t a match for you.
Time is something I’ve personally learned to manage systematically. The way meetings are run, the way I communicate, and the tools I use to maximize productivity during the day reflect my appreciation for and value of my time. Time, in service businesses, is a component that determines the position of a business in its industry, its stake in a market. In turn, it determines how many of its leads will turn into business opportunities.
There are three business techniques I use to optimize my time: be assertive, be confident, and work on your communication skills. There is no need for elaborate explanations, no need for long meetings that go well outside the agenda, and certainly no need to waste a business provider’s time if you have no intention of ever engaging the service.