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As CEO, Where Do You Spend Most of Your Time?

On Monday I had a room of 30+ entrepreneurs glaring at me.  They had just been told that where they should be spending most of their over-worked and overwhelmed working lives wasn’t even close to what they have been doing.

It started when I asked them how much time they spend in the following three basic areas of (any) business:

1)     Marketing—promoting your company, the brand, and the products and services;

2)     Production—making your products and/or servicing your clients; and

3)     Administration—running all office-related activities.

And the room fell silent when I told them how much they should spend:

  • Marketing:  60-80%
  • Production:  10-30%
  • Administration:  10%

Soon after the hushed silence, the protests began, starting with a clothing designer saying her skills and talent were in producing new lines of clothing, clearly production.

I asked her, “How’s biz?”

After a somewhat uncomfortable moment of looking away she said, “Not too great.”  The rest of the protests quickly dissipated.

Listen, if your product or service sits on a shelf somewhere because people are not buying it, the best design or production-related work in the world won’t mean a thing!

And, there is no one in your company that can sell your company better than you.  No one.  Because you are the brand, you have the passion for what you do, and you are the leader in your business.

And that means everything to the outside world.

Now that doesn’t mean you have to do all the marketing.  If you have a team, your job would be best spent in the higher-level activities, like creating JV’s (Joint Ventures), landing new clients, introducing new marketing strategies, and so on.

Still not convinced?  Take a look at some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs/leaders and you’ll see where they spend most of their time.  People like Steve Jobs from Apple, Richard Branson from Virgin, and the late Anita Roddick from The Body Shop.  Without them leading the brand and marketing of their businesses, there is no way they would have been nearly as successful.

Here is where entrepreneurs get tripped up in making sure they spend 60-80% in marketing:

  • Don’t like marketing—instead of avoiding it and/or delegating the parts you should do, find the creativity and passion in them.
  • Nobody in the Company is as good as me at “X”—that may be true, but is it really necessary they are as good as you?  If so, then you need to look harder for the right person and/or ramp up your training so you can delegate.
  • Addictions to technology—like e-mail, social media, and other electronic distractions.  This one is the #1 time drain for entrepreneurs.  Learn how to turn it off, shut it down and let it go.
  • Too much business coming in—after doing an effective marketing campaign, you are now scrambling to service the new clients.  Known as the feast or famine Catch-22, you must build the infrastructure to manage growth in a sustainable way.

Once you get your “trip ups” handled, commit to 60%+ of your time in marketing,and put supporting systems and structures in place to handle the work load, will your company’s sales and success will show up in a fairly short period of time.

And that I promise.


Take a good look at how you are spending your time.  Do a “Time Audit” for a week.  How much do you spend in Marketing, Production and Admin activities?

If Marketing is less than 60%, determine what areas of marketing could use your TLC.  Then figure out where you can restructure your time and tasks to accommodate the time needed to get that handled.

To shift your time allocation, make sure you get your infrastructure in place to accommodate those tasks that need to be done, just not by you.

Start by taking a hard look at delegating these tasks.  Let go of those things you are good at, but don’t need to be done by you.  Also, let go of time wasters, especially with technology and gadgets.  Social media is cool, but definitely keep it in check, for example.  Give yourself a set amount of time to spend on these tasks.

Then schedule your new tasks and priorities in your calendar right away.

Depending on what you set up, you should see results within a few weeks.

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