Time / by Chris Weigl

None of us had any idea how precious our time was until we formed a small business.  Your free time that you had dedicated to other lofty pursuits is now spent checking your notifications on Twitter and seeing who updated their Facebook status.  The things you wind up doing feel small and silly.  Does it really matter if fifty people re-pinned something on Pinterest?  Who cares how many likes you get on Instagram?  It feels like a dragnet setup by a rival company to drain your resources and as a small business owner your number one resource is time.

The time you spend on social media is time that you’re not spending developing new projects, marketing your existing projects and thinking through the big picture of your business.  Oftentimes the most important moments in the life cycle of a business are the moments spent in reflection.  It is true that we cannot change the past nor should we try to, but we should try to understand why we did what we did and how that decision-making process will affect us in the future.  This is the kind of high value functionality you want to get out of your business.  In this situation you’re thinking big picture about cause and effect.  You’re also thinking through how you make decisions which is the most important thing you will do as a small business owner.

The catch with owning a small business is that you aren’t swamped with business so you have time to focus on the little things, but at the same time you oftentimes have to focus on the little things so that you can focus on big picture items later.  That slows down the development of your business.  If every little thing you do is compartmentalized perfectly you can probably get away with working two jobs and working on your business in your spare time.  It’s feasible that one could do that.  It is also feasible that you will drive yourself mad because you will need to plan out every little detail of your day.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is an idiom in English for a reason.  So, if the key is balance then what are small business owners supposed to do?  We can hope for the charity of others, but one is always taking a leap of faith when they pin the success of their business on hope.  We can work hard and hope that we get noticed.  But how many before you have worked just as hard and failed?  The key to getting ahead in the business world when you’re operating a small business is to both know and accept when it is okay to just get by.

As a production company we at Living History Productions have just about every social media account imaginable all designed to promote one part of the business.  It’s like a spider’s web or so we hope that we can keep spinning the web and catching more things that would normally get through.  There is such a thing as spinning a web too perfectly.  If you devote a majority of your resources to one thing then other things are getting neglected.  The key then is priorities.  Spend your time developing those projects, mulling those big decisions, and deciding what the next big move is.  Spend less time updating your Facebook status and checking your Twitter feed.  Sure, conventional wisdom says that if you neglect social media your numbers will take a hit, but at this stage it’s about more than numbers; it’s about ideas.  It doesn’t matter what you’re making a judgment on; ideas always win out. 

So, the next time you’re sitting at your desk pining away that you can’t do what you set out to do with your business remember that you do have a choice.  You can do what people tell you will make you successful or you can invest in the things that you believe will make you successful.  If you’ve started your own business it makes sense to put your money on yourself after all if you’re going to fail you might as well fail because you believed too strongly on your ideas then you did on numbers.  To do it the other way around would – in all likelihood – go against the very vision that you set for your company and no business will ever be successful by going back on the things that made them want to go into business to begin with.  Stand by your ideas and you will stand tall.