You may have heard the saying “Work expands to fill the time allotted.” The idea is that – for many people – if they have 8 hours of work to do and 8 hours to do it, they’ll get it done; however, if they have 5 hours of work to do and 8 hours to do it, it will still take them 8 hours.
Many Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) professionals never have to worry about this situation because there’s usually too much work for the time. There are internal meetings, client visits, research on current clients through surveys and reviewing publications, support for the business recruitment staff, facilitating resolution to issues with the local government permitting issues, and on…and on…and on.
Where time is the issue for BRE professionals, here are four key questions to ask:
- What activities are being performed that provide no value to the client? Find, eliminate, or reduce the time spent on these meetings, reports, and other tasks.
- Where is time spent on research that could be outsourced to others? Don’t spend hours culling through newspapers or web alerts just to learn a little nugget that you can use with a client (have others do it for you).
- Which are the key clients most at-risk of job loss or with the most opportunity for job gains? Knowing this can help you to allocate more time to those with more opportunity/risk.
- In what situations are you doing something manual that could be automated? It’s the handwritten survey v. the web-based survey. It’s the handwritten notes that you rekey later. It’s the hardcopy documentation and manual files that build and build and build only to be purged every 3 years in a fit of frustration.
When you’re frustrated that you can’t get everything done, consider stopping what you can, outsourcing where you can, spending more time with those with the most opportunity/risk, and automating whenever possible.
Find more time to do what you do best.
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