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The true time cost of running a business.

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Business, Business Mastery, Strategy

The True Time Cost of Doing Business

Time is money, but are you treating it that way in your business? It's time to step back and really consider if you’re getting good value from how you spend your hours. Let’s dive into the true time cost of doing business and why valuing your own time can be a game-changer.

What’s Your Time Really Worth?

Let’s use an example with some nce round numbers, just use your own targets by adjusting in proportion. I’ll use an example of £2,000 a week from a “one-person” business. That's yielding about £100,000 a year, of profit, available for salary, dividends etc. a nice target. If you’re working a standard 40-hour week, this breaks down to you costing your business about £50 an hour. Of course you hve to charge significantly more than that to your clients as the gross income has all your costs to cover as well, but let’s not complicate things too much. The £50 an an hour you cost your business every working hour, is what I call the ‘internal cost’.

Evaluating Your Daily Activities

Now, think about your daily activities through this lens. Are you spending your time in a way that’s worth that internal cost? For instance, if you spend 2 hours a day on social media promotion, that’s 10 hours a week. That’s £500 your business has to find. Are you getting £500 worth of value from those efforts? Would you pay someone else £500 to do what you have just done and feel that it was worth the expense? If the answer is no, it is time to reassess.

Common Time Traps and How to Avoid Them

1. Administrative Tasks

How much time do you spend on admin tasks? If it's 5 hours a week, that’s £250. Is there a better way? Consider using automated tools or outsourcing.

2. Email Management

Are you buried in emails? Spending an hour a day on emails means 5 hours a week, costing you £250. Using tools like SaneBox or delegating this task to a virtual assistant could be much more cost-effective.

3. Networking Events

Networking can be valuable, but not all events are worth your time. If a 4-hour event (including travel) doesn’t bring in tangible business, that's £200 (on top of travel and any fees)/ I know when I include the internal rate for my time I am much more selective about the events I attend.

4. Content Creation

Creating content is crucial, but it can be a major time sink. If you spend 10 hours a week writing blogs or making videos, that’s £500. Hiring a freelancer might give you better content and save you time. (Just don’t forget the additional internal cost of your training time and their internal cost when they are working for you).

The Power of Valuing Your Time

Valuing your time isn’t just a nice idea; it’s essential. Here’s why:

  • Efficiency: Prioritise tasks that give the highest return on your time.
  • Delegation: Outsource tasks so that you can focus on what you do best.
  • Focus: Spend your time on strategic activities that grow your business.

Take Practical Steps to Reclaim Your Time

  1. Track Your Time: Use tools like Clockify (which I use), Toggl or RescueTime to see where your time goes.
  2. Evaluate Tasks: Regularly assess the ROI of your activities. If a task doesn’t justify its cost, cut it out or delegate it.
  3. Automate and Outsource: Leverage technology and outsourcing to handle repetitive or low-value tasks.
  4. Set Boundaries: Protect your high-value time slots for strategic work that directly impacts your bottom line.


In your business, be smarter. Focus on delivering measurable outcomes and meeting real customer needs, by understanding what your costs really are for your time.

Reflect on how you’re spending your time. If you wouldn’t pay someone else to do it, reconsider whether you should be doing it at all. By taking control of your own cost to your business, you can transform it.


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Written by: William Buist - all rights reserved.