Hidden cost of business

We spent around 1.5 to 2 hours per day, traveling from and to work.  That would equate to around 23 to 30 days per year.  Basically around one month of our life is spent for traveling annually, and this is only for going to work and back.  If only we live close by to our work, maybe we can reduce the time to 20 min per day.  That will save us heaps of time.

Then what about those time we spend waiting for the browser to load?  Or waiting for the kettle to finish heating up hot water.  There are many activities we do on a daily basis whereby lots and lots of time are spent, waiting, driving, and for some people day dreaming.

Obviously if you own the business most likely you will have all these “time wasting” activities sorted out.  But what about the staffs?  How do we make sure that “time wasters” are not wasting time anymore?

Simple, get them to stop wasting time or ask them to waste someone else’s time.

Tough boss?  Let’s call it tough love instead.

Still finding those goals?

In business we sometimes wonder whether we are doing what we’re supposed to do.  Especially in the midst of economic uncertainty like now, more and more people are anxiously waiting for the next big news.  More and more people are wondering whether they should be selling their businesses before it’s too late.  The other half is undecided, not sure if their strategies are the right ones.

All these “unsure, anxious” activities can take up a lot of time, draining every single drop of energy we have.  We can push them aside and just focus on what’s in front of us.  Accept our place in the world, in the business community, or in the corporate ladder.  Then try to pour our best into what we’re doing now, treating them like they’re our callings.  At the end of the day, they might very well be what our goals supposed to be in life, and in business.

Maybe we are already in the right place, at the right time, we just haven’t realized it yet.

“If you search everywhere, yet cannot find what you are seeking, it is because what you seek is already in your possession” Lao Tzu

Sleep deprivation – badge of honor?

Anyone who put in 70 hours week will be familiar with sleep deprivation, especially those young family with new born babies.  However, whether it is a necessity or not that’s another story.  For some of us, we can force ourselves to “buy” those extra time, so we can rest, and not sleep deprived.  If it’s a necessity then there really is not much we can do about.  What if it’s not?

Maybe the issue is deeper from just simply not having enough time to sleep.

A couple of things sprung into mind.  First, it’s a great excuse to make mistake when we’re sleep deprived.  Hey, we’ve done our best, we even loose sleep, a little bit of mistake is acceptable, right?  Second, it’s a great feeling being able to tell our friends how hard we work, we’re even starting to have amnesia, what a hard working fellow.  Finally, it’s a “badge of honor” for us.  It doesn’t feel right if we’re fresh all the time, we need to be sleepy and tired before we can feel our worth.

Sleep deprivation or emotional need?

The art of buying time

Managing business can be very time consuming.  Task after task, never ending to-do list, piling paper work, and not to mention the phone ringing every five minutes.  For those young family it’s even more challenging, especially the ones with babies who seem to decide 2am is the perfect time to wake (everyone) up.

So how do we cope?  Surely we need a little bit of time to step back and make sure our company is still heading in the correct direction.  Being drown in millions of day to day operational details, it’s so easy to loose our focus.

Maybe we need better time management?  There’s only one problem, there’s not enough time to manage.  We have simply exhausted the 24 hours day of our lives.

Probably the easiest way to combat this is by forcing ourselves to set certain time away from all the hectic days.  Will there be sacrifices?  No doubt about that.  But considering the alternative is a possibility of loosing focus and direction, it might very well be a good sacrifice.

In principle, you will be forcing yourselves to “buy” these extra time.

Time truly is money.

“Entrepreneur” is:

“Entrepreneur” is:

NOT JUST someone who can spot OPPORTUNITY while others can’t

someone who has the COURAGE and SPEED to turn this opportunity into reality FASTER than others

has the discipline and tenacity to PERSEVERE through difficult times into making this reality a SUCCESS

taking full RESPONSIBILITY of all risks

can enjoy the PROCESS from beginning to the end

have the STRENGTH to admit defeat should the STAKES were too high and the SACRIFICES were too great

Cannot complain when you’re busy

So far it’s been a hectic day – somewhat unusual for mid month trade.  Part of me is overjoyed for the extra sales considering trades in the last 18 months have been pretty flat, with a constant slow downward trend.  We haven’t got a clue what’s happening.  After all the last 18 months have been very unpredictable, seems like no one knows for sure where the economy is heading.  Our best educated guess is end of financial year rush where purchasing officers try to use up all their yearly budget to avoid any cut the following year.

Interestingly, part of me (believe it or not) complained for all the extra rush job.  Somehow it took a while to get used to all the busyness, it took a while to get back into gear.  Human is just an interesting being, they need warming up too.  The longer they stay idle the longer it takes to warm up.

All these remind me of a phrase we used to say back in the days of selling computers, “We cannot complain when we’re busy”.

Maybe we should add another phrase, “Keep yourself busy to avoid system shutdown”.

Apparently brain alone is not enough

Entrepreneurs (successful ones) are always associated with great ideas, great management, leadership, and so on.  Mainly these attributes are related to their brains, and social skills.  There seems to be one particular attribute that most people often forget about: physical endurance.

Think about it, if you need to work 70-80 hours per week for the first few years, running all over the place trying to get finance, networking, not to mention doing all paperwork, logistic, and so on.  If you have problems running down the stairs then it might not be a suitable career choice.  I guess being entrepreneur can be thought of as some kind of professional sport in this case.  As time goes by, players get more skills, experiences, getting to know the playing fields and obviously can win more trophies.

So, proper rest and good food?  It might be the secret of successful entrepreneurs, they surely provide the extra “kick” for those long hours and late nights.

Happy eating (and sleep)…

Chasing payment from customers can be a tricky business

Chasing payment from customers can be a tricky business.  You don’t want to offend them yet at the same time you also need to be firm (and maybe a bit scary too).  There really is no easy rule of thumb in this matter.  The more you know your customers the easier it is to approach them.  Obviously some of them are impossible to deal with so just get the hammer down and get it all done.  Some others probably just “missed” it.

It can also very well down to the intention itself.  Are you trying to show “I am the boss?” or are you trying to admit “They’re the boss?”.  It is off course important to have a good balance between the two.  Over emphasizing one over the other will result in either one being the “boss” which we don’t want to happen.

Cocky and scary, or firm but fair?

It’s not everyday we had power failure

It’s not everyday we had power failure for few days in the office.  In fact, this is the second one in the last 12 months and last time it only lasted for few hours.  Luckily out of 3 phases, two were working so we managed to shift the machines, printers etc closer to the working power points.

Then to make things worse, our warehouse person decided not to come today (apparently stuck somewhere in some out of town area).  Customers also decided it’s a good time to chase up their orders.  Some of them were wondering why they hadn’t received the goods on the following day.  To top it off, suppliers also decided it’s a great time to chase up some payments, didn’t matter if the cost of the call was worth more than the payment itself.

At the end of the day, everything was quiet, things were so calm and there’s this satisfaction knowing it’s been one hell of a day but we went through it – and tomorrow it’ll repeat all over again.

It’s just another day in the life of a local business.

a real estate book



Have you ever counted how many hours

Have you ever counted how many hours you actually work in a week?  Are they straight hours or are they all over the place?  They said one of the joy of being an entrepreneur is being able to work when you want to work.  Seems like what’s happening instead is you are able to work when you have to (i.e must be willing to do 24 hours shift, 365 days a year).

Maybe we should look at the whole things from different perspective.

More often than not entrepreneurs get into business not just because they love to be in business, but because they cannot help it.  So if you ask an entrepreneur how many hours he/she works in a week, most probably the answer will be somewhere in the vicinity of 70hrs (especially in the beginning of the venture).  Ask the same question to a busy executive and the answer will probably be similar.  The big difference is, an entrepreneur might tell you passionately about his/her business afterward, while a busy executive might tell you how underpaid and unappreciated he/she is.

So how many hours do we work in a week?  Before we go there let me tell you about this amazing business I’ve had in my mind.  You see, the market is now heading towards online and at the same time the world’s economy is getting globalized quickly.  Some type of businesses will thrive, so this idea in my mind is…sorry what was the question again?

Working hours?  Who cares…