What is your time worth? Are you using your time to its fullest advantage? As you organize your workflow, factor your own time value in to help you meet your business goals sooner. 

When Henry Ford’s small army of electrical engineers at a Dearborn, Michigan plant could not solve a difficult problem with a huge electrical generator, they called in engineering wizard Charles Steinmetz. After two days of solitary listening and calculating, he simply asked for a ladder. Up the side of the generator, he climbed, drawing a single chalk mark on its sheet metal flank. He then instructed the engineers to open the casing at that mark and replace a few copper wires. The generator worked perfectly after the repair.

Upon receiving the bill for Steinmetz’s heroics, Henry Ford balked. It was an invoice for $10,000 (a little more than $125,000 today). He requested an itemized bill, which Charles Steinmetz was only too happy to supply. It read:

Making a chalk mark on a generator- $1
Knowing where to put the mark- $9,999.

Mr. Ford duly paid the invoice.

We get it – you want to make sure everything is done right and stay in touch with the details, but did you ever stop to think that your own behavior might be holding your business back?


Here’s a different way to look at it: How much does it cost your business when you do repetitive, time-consuming work outside your passion for developing your company?

We like to do a quick calculation (see our calculations with the assignment below) with people we mentor at Larek Point that shows the impact of automating or delegating details in terms of dollars. The bottom line of the example is that a business owner could make positive gains simply by NOT DOING some things. Hiring a helper at a lower hourly rate than yours, or investing in a digital technology that is much less expensive than you (remember- your time is worth a lot!), could bring surprising benefits, like a more fulfilling work life and a better bottom line!

Organize your workflow

Some readers are now thinking that learning new technologies or hiring someone takes time you don’t have right now, or is just too daunting to consider. In response, We would like to offer some additional advice.

Not every process must be automated all at once. Take a look at your activities and pick out the top two or three that are the most repetitive and prone to human error. Can they be automated by software or other means? Maybe it’s follow up emails. Maybe it’s data entry. Or writing blogs! There are probably parts of those activities that could be permanently eliminated from your weekly to-do list by taking the time now to set it up.

You have support!

You might consider investing in an outside expert to help you audit your processes and recommend ways to save money by getting them off your plate. This will easily pay for itself sooner than you think! And you’ll be off and running with support, doing what you are really good at instead of entering names and email addresses into a spreadsheet. Of course, Larek Point would love to partner with you on this!

And going back to the software idea- so much can be done by some excellent online platforms that help with project management, marketing, human resources, data management, customer management, and data storage. It’s time to implement processes and liberate your schedule from the tyranny of keeping track of everything.

The longer you wait to organize and automate, the longer it will be until you reach your revenue goals— it’s that simple.

Leadership Assignment: Go through the calculations outlined in the Delegate Distractions article. Then ask yourself, “When will I start working within my God-given talents and delegate the rest?”

P.S.– The story of Charles Steinmetz is fascinating. He stood only four feet tall with a sideways hunch caused by a congenital defect but was regarded as a giant among the early twentieth century geniuses like Einstein and Edison. Although the story above may be somewhat apocryphal, it typified Dr. Steinmetz’s effect on his world. See this Smithsonian magazine article on Steinmetz’s life. 

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