Using Time Tracking Data to Avoid Recessions
BY Curt Finch
If you have enough time with your small business to prepare
before the recesssion hits and you're not in dire straits yet, whether
a recessions coming or not, it pays to get a time-tracking capability
in place for your company so you can understand per project costs.
That's really important because it allows you to understand where
you're spending 80% of your peoples' time and once you understand
that, you can do intelligent things that might not be obvious, to
make your company more efficient and effective. Let's say that you've
had the luxury that I've had lately to sit down and think about
strategic planning and where you want to take the company.
How are we going to navigate the future minefields that we see coming, like
in our space there's a lot of web 2.0 coming out, peoples'
iPhones are going to be a way to enter time, all these kinds of
things, right? Its not a mystery. You can see whats coming. And
there are ways to prepare for that. So I've got some strategic project
that I think is important for the long term of the company and I
"Okay everybody. Lets go do this".
Are they really doing it? Or is everybody so swamped with
current business that they're not having a chance to work on the future?
Measuring that is really important and if you're not
measuring it you're probably going to be surprised when
you do by what you find. So in the process of doing that you're
going to understand a lot of things that make you stronger in a
recession. You're going to be able to fire customers, instead of
employees. You're going to be able to break and close down projects
instead of firing employees and other things that make you more
nimble. And if you do have to fire employees anyway, if you have
to lay people off, you're going to be cutting intelligently without
a chain saw. That's a powerful thing. There were a bunch of articles
in Harvard Business Review recently about short term, medium term,
and long term projects that companies should be working on. And
when recession time comes, companies -- especially small growing
companies -- they cut all the long term projects. And if it gets a
little bit tighter, they cut all the medium term projects and they're
focused on just this quarter. And then the recession's over and
business starts to pick up again and it's time for next quarter and
they have no platform for growth capability, they've killed their growth.
It's sort of like not rotating your crops, they've depleted the soil.
They can keep growing what they've been growing, they can keep doing
what they're doing but they can't get to that next level of productivity,
they're not ready for changes that are coming to the marketplace.
Like in my case, the iPhone, time entry thing. If we don't get that
nailed, somebody else will and were going to be screwed. (So of course we're
working on that.)
CURT FINCH has more than two decades of software development and distributed workforce management experience. In 1997, Curt created the world's first internet-based timesheet application and the foundation for the current Journyx product offering. Curt has a B.S. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech. His book, All Your Money, is available on Amazon. @curtfinch