in Order to Make More Profit
Tom owns his own small business. His type of company allows
him ample “desk time” in his office. Tom is interested in news that
affects his business directly, government policies that affect small
businesses in general and he enjoys reading anything related to hot
topics. Like most businesspeople, Tom gets his information via
e-mail from various sources, particular Internet sites and certain
TV news programs.
When he took a look at how much time it was costing him each
day to sift through (and digest) all of the information that
interests him, it came out to about an hour and a half a day. That’s
seven and a half hours a week! Tom realized he had to make a change
to the information overload that was taking time away from his
business. Still, he found that certain pieces of information could
be really helpful to his strategic business decisions. He needed to
find a way to get the information he needed without sacrificing so
much of his time.
Whether a topic that interests you directly affects your
business, indirectly affects business in general, or is a current
hot topic in government policy, the Internet, e-mail, and “ump-teen”
television channels has made many of us into “TMI” people – “too
The problem? Reading/watching/listening to all of it (even if
it’s interesting and/or directly affects your business) can take up
so much valuable time. Wouldn’t you rather have that time to put
toward high-yield activities that return the most money-per-hour?
Much of the time taken up by reading/watching the interesting
news and information that comes your way could be spent on
activities that increase your sales or decrease your expenses
(thereby contributing to higher profit). You might be thinking,
“But buried in all of that news and information I go through, there
is usually a “nugget” I’m able to use for my business’ benefit. I
don’t want to miss that.” If you’re thinking that, you make a good
How do you make a change? What if there was a way to get the
information you need (the “nugget”) without spending a considerable
amount of time doing it yourself? And what if, with the extra time
made available, you were able to change your activities to either
directly or indirectly increase sales? What if it made your net
profit increase by, say, 10 percent? If it cost you a small fraction
of that profit to make a change, would it be worth it?
Finding the bit of information you really need can be
outsourced to a variety of people. Consider the following list of
outsourcing possibilities, according to the sophistication level of
the information you receive and regularly read or watch:
assistant (VA) based in your country who has a certain type of
background for which this task fits nicely
outsourcing company, such as Brickwork (b2kcorp.com), oDesk.com,
or Elance.com (Elance for both foreign and U.S.-based)
students (juniors or seniors) majoring in business, political
science, English, or another related field
What should you give this person? (the “Admin”). Whether
delegating to an employee or an outsourced individual, they will
description of what you are looking for. (What is the “nugget”?)
subscribe to free e-zines or news outlets that arrive by e-mail,
have the Admin subscribe, too.
If you have a
paid subscription that arrives by e-mail, forward those e-mails
to the Admin.
online information sources you want the Admin to check daily.
periodicals (newspapers, magazines, newsletters) that don’t have
an online option, having a local Admin read through them is your
best bet. If you don’t have an Admin employee, the college
student option is great for this task.
Give the Admin
clear examples from your information sources of what you are
looking for and how you want it communicated back to you.
What do you want from the Admin? You want the Admin to
deliver a summary version of the “nuggets” they find that are
directly related to what you need to know. This means a “copy &
paste” of text (either to a document or in the body of an e-mail),
without links! Links will just put you back into TMI.
The first few times your Admin performs this task for you,
the result may not be exactly what you want or need. Take some extra
time up front to communicate again with your Admin about what you
want and what you don’t want. He or she is certain to get it right
in a short time.
How do you know you’ve succeeded? Once you and your Admin
reach an understanding regarding what you want, you should be able
to read the “nuggets” in 15 minutes a day (on average). That’s a
little more than one hour a week of your time. If you’ve been
spending between 30 and 90 minutes a day on information, you could
save up to 7 hours a week, which is now freed up for more profitable
TMI = More Stress
Freed-up Time = More Profit
More Profit = Less Stress
Which do you prefer?
What can you
begin to do next week to get rid of too much information, and turn
the timesavings into more profit?
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