15 Sep

Time is Your Enemy

Picture of Dorian Gray

This post originally appeared on The Marketing Spot blog, a great resource for small business marketers.

They say time is money. Most of us take that to mean: “Spend more time, spend more money”—like that’s a bad thing. Like every minute that ticks by is money out the door or money that we could be making, and aren’t.

But look at it the other way: what if spending more time meant making more money?

Think about it: what successful business ever got that way by spending less time? Success may have come quickly (or at least appeared to), but time was not the cause of success. Yet a lot of us put far, far too much stock in time.

The other day I was reading a pre-release chapter from Gary Vaynerchuk‘s upcoming book Crush It!. Gary is well-known as a small business marketing success story: he went from running a local wine shop to $50 million in sales, all through a daily wine blog integrated well and thoroughly with social media (Facebook and Twitter, in particular). But while most people focus on his 2006-to-now meteoric rise, he points out that the path to his current success started when he was…16. (He’s now 34.)

Gary pairs two seemingly opposing forces together as secrets of his success: hustle (the willingness to work slavishly hard for what you want) and patience (the willingness to wait for all that work to pay off).

What he doesn’t say—but what is very clear—is that he took time out of the equation. As he explains,

“How did someone like me, who is so obviously not a patient guy, cool my heels for so long? Because I was 100 percent happy. I loved what I was doing. I knew down to my core that my business was going to explode, but even if I had fallen flat on my face, I would have had no regrets because I was doing exactly what I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it.”

He was willing to work very, very hard to make himself, his business, and his service the best they could possibly be. You can’t do that if you’re trying to do it faster. Faster is the enemy of better.

I know, I know, we all learned that the holy trinity of success is “faster, better, cheaper” (particularly if we can use those words in our marketing!). But when you’re developing your business, the trio is different. It’s “faster, better,easier”—where “easier” means the level of effort you’re capable of sustaining, marketing or otherwise.

And you can only pick two.

If you want success to be fast and easy, your quality will suffer—and you’ll get your lunch handed to you when someone with a better product eventually comes along (and they will). If you want that better product, but still want—or need—it to be easy, then it will take longer. If you want it fast and great, you’re going to have to turn yourself inside out to do it…and there are still no guarantees.

Because really, it’s not about fast. It’s about best.

Best will win out every time. Best is the only thing that survives long-term. Everything else is a tradeoff between speed and sacrifice.

So take time out of the equation—and see how fast time flies.