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  • #983094
    Sam Hope
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    I am new to these forums; however I have been lurking here for a short while now. I am currently in the process of establishing a small consultancy firm that aims to bring a field of work currently only available to the likes of Woolworths and Myers and commercialise the crap out of it allowing for small businesses to be able to better compete with the large scale retailers.

    As I personally come from an academic background, my intentions are to also rely heavily on research, both original and that which floats in the ether of academia. All of this in a market that, as of right now does not exist.
    So here is my problem. I need to divide my time between:
    • Providing my service
    • Marketing my service
    • Keeping on top of the academia
    • Business development and administration

    This is where my main problem lays, the balancing act. I need to create my own niche market, provide my product to that market, perform my own research and assimilate the research of academics the world over. I need to find the balancing point, where do I invest my time in order to get my business off the ground? It has been a question that has plagued me for weeks now.

    So I now turn to you:

    • In terms of percentage how do you divide your time among your tasks?
    • What pitfalls have you run into?
    • What great successes have you had?
    • What words of advice do you have for people in my situation?

    NB: My secrecy towards my field is not out of distrust, but part of my marketing strategy, please don’t feel offended.

    #1140609
    WhatsThePlanDan
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    Hi Sam,

    Another of those questions that keep coming up… :)

    May not be of help to you but here is how I’ve done it… My wife and I are both involved in the business and we have come to a working relationship where I work ON the business (strategy, marketing, website, etc, etc) and she works IN the business (the day to day work that makes the money). So in the planning stage while I’ve been extremely busy doing all sorts of things she has been putting together process documentation and things like that.

    You may not have a partner to work with – but it does make it easier to balance your time. Also, consider what can only be done by you and consider outsourcing anything else.

    Good luck however you proceed!

    Cheers
    Daniel

    #1140610
    MH08
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    One question;

    How come you haven’t scheduled your hours in the day to how much you deploy per activity?

    With your academic career I’m sure you would be highly diciplined in keeping schedules.

    Also don’t overwelm yourself for no reason, I have friends who are academics and it’s like they were ‘trained’ to it.

    Cheers,

    #1140611
    Sam Hope
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    MH08, post: 160592 wrote:
    One question;

    How come you haven’t scheduled your hours in the day to how much you deploy per activity?

    With your academic career I’m sure you would be highly diciplined in keeping schedules.

    Also don’t overwelm yourself for no reason, I have friends who are academics and it’s like they were ‘trained’ to it.

    Cheers,

    That is my issue,is trying to figure out the weightings, how much time should I be investing in each area?

    #1140612
    MH08
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    The time you would allocate to your business and other activities would be entirely up to you, weighting it in comparison would be which is more important.

    #1140613
    Steve_Minshall
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    Sam Hope, post: 160539 wrote:
    I need to divide my time between:
    • Providing my service
    • Marketing my service
    • Keeping on top of the academia
    • Business development and administration

    This is where my main problem lays, the balancing act. I need to create my own niche market, provide my product to that market, perform my own research and assimilate the research of academics the world over. I need to find the balancing point, where do I invest my time in order to get my business off the ground? It has been a question that has plagued me for weeks now.

    Hi Sam,

    Just by identifying the 4 building blocks you are ahead of the game in terms of building a balanced business.

    I do exactly the same but the corresponding headings I use are Operations/Marketing/R&D/Financials.

    In terms of time allocation what I have found over the years for me has been the following:

    Financials (Administration): tend to follow a time allocation pre-determined by others/calender intervals: BAS dates, wages dates, quarterly, end-of-year, etc.

    R&D (keeping on top of academia): For me this is continuous but small bites. R&D fills up the gaps at the end of the day and in between jobs when I have an hour or so spare. Plus the occasional scheduled day to go to a conference or course etc.

    Operations and Marketing are as you have identified the two big trade-offs. What I have found over the years is that these two things have found a natural rhythm.

    In the early days I would not have much work so I would put more effort into sales which would generate work. I would then focus on the work and sales would slow down and then the work would slow down. More marketing, repeat cycle. There are 2 ways to break out of this cycle to get a more consistent work flow. Firstly you can spend more money on resources to maintain a more balanced allocation. I took a second approach because I ‘bootstrapped’ my business and didn’t want to pay for addition resources. This was to accept the pendulum but when I worked on marketing I made sure that my efforts were not a one hit affair. That is, I worked on marketing that would keep working for me when I was focusing on the operations side of the business. Things like web development, writing blogs, signage. This is a slower process but what happens is that each marketing spurt builds on the last and you find over time you will have a body of marketing effort working for you which will smooth out the work flow.

    Today our business still has an ebb of flow of work but it is dictated by school holidays which is something we can do nothing about. Even so I found that we drop long-term marketing activity in Dec/Jan when we are at operations capacity and then pick it up again in Feb when we are quiet.

    So I guess my advice is either invest in resources to cover one of the 2 competing demands or work on marketing first then let marketing/operations find their own pendulum while working on marketing activity with long term benefits during the marketing part of the cycle. The first method takes cash the second method takes patience.

    Good luck with your journey.

    #1140614
    Sam Hope
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    • Total posts: 30
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    Steve_Minshall, post: 160728 wrote:
    Hi Sam,

    Just by identifying the 4 building blocks you are ahead of the game in terms of building a balanced business.

    I do exactly the same but the corresponding headings I use are Operations/Marketing/R&D/Financials.

    In terms of time allocation what I have found over the years for me has been the following:

    Financials (Administration): tend to follow a time allocation pre-determined by others/calender intervals: BAS dates, wages dates, quarterly, end-of-year, etc.

    R&D (keeping on top of academia): For me this is continuous but small bites. R&D fills up the gaps at the end of the day and in between jobs when I have an hour or so spare. Plus the occasional scheduled day to go to a conference or course etc.

    Operations and Marketing are as you have identified the two big trade-offs. What I have found over the years is that these two things have found a natural rhythm.

    In the early days I would not have much work so I would put more effort into sales which would generate work. I would then focus on the work and sales would slow down and then the work would slow down. More marketing, repeat cycle. There are 2 ways to break out of this cycle to get a more consistent work flow. Firstly you can spend more money on resources to maintain a more balanced allocation. I took a second approach because I ‘bootstrapped’ my business and didn’t want to pay for addition resources. This was to accept the pendulum but when I worked on marketing I made sure that my efforts were not a one hit affair. That is, I worked on marketing that would keep working for me when I was focusing on the operations side of the business. Things like web development, writing blogs, signage. This is a slower process but what happens is that each marketing spurt builds on the last and you find over time you will have a body of marketing effort working for you which will smooth out the work flow.

    Today our business still has an ebb of flow of work but it is dictated by school holidays which is something we can do nothing about. Even so I found that we drop long-term marketing activity in Dec/Jan when we are at operations capacity and then pick it up again in Feb when we are quiet.

    So I guess my advice is either invest in resources to cover one of the 2 competing demands or work on marketing first then let marketing/operations find their own pendulum while working on marketing activity with long term benefits during the marketing part of the cycle. The first method takes cash the second method takes patience.

    Good luck with your journey.

    Thanks for the reply.
    It’s nice to know others have had the same trade offs to sort out.

    While reading your reply, I was hit by an idea of scheduling client meetings more evenly during my marketing operations. In otherwords, if I attempt to split my sales between meeting in the current week and meeting in the next week. Hopefully that can stabalise it a bit? Depending on the success, I guess this system could be moved to cover three weeks. Would certainly make for a more stable income.

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