“I wish I had 48 hours in every single day!”
If you’re a small business owner then you know what I’m talking about. There is always so much to do and so little time. I always used to think that you couldn’t squeeze more than 24 hours into a single day, no matter what. Not anymore. Not after I read this little doo-da in Paul Zane Pilzer’s book, “The Next Millionaires.”
According to this futurist, technology is the key to expanding almost any kind of limited resource, like time or land. Things that appear limited can be multiplied and expanded if you apply the right kind of technology to it. Just look at history.
Expanding Land with Technology
Paul looks back at the history of our nation to prove that while certain resources seem to remain constant, the application of technology can increase the yield of those resources.
Land is one of his prime examples. People always used to say that land was one of the best investments because there is only a limited amount of it, which means that demand for it will always rise. You can’t increase the amount of land. Well, that might be true until we colonize Mars or the sea floor, but let’s go with the assumption that land is a limited resource.
Back to Paul’s example, he points out that the U.S. stopped adding land in 1912, when Arizona became the last state added to the union. Yet the economy has continued to grow since 1912, despite the limited land resources.
In 1930, the U.S. had 30 million farmers and those farmers fed 100 million people. Between 1930 and 1980, the number of farmers dropped from 30 million to just 3 million. We only had one-tenth as many farmers, and at the same time the number of people in the nation grew to 300 million. They all had to be fed, and they were. And, we didn’t absorb any more land into our borders.
Those 3 million farmers not only successfully fed all 300 million people in the country, but grew an extra 50% that could be sold around the world. So what happened?
The use of technology increased the production of the average farmer 4,500 percent, and the productivity per acre by 1,000 percent. So we literally expanded the land in this country with technology, by increasing the production of every acre with technology.
Technology and the Small Business Owner’s Time
Now, how can you apply technology so that you increase the number of hours you have in a day? The same way. Make every hour more efficient by leveraging the power of the internet. Here are just a dozen simple ways to harness the power of the Internet to cram more hours into your day:
1. Use autoresponders to handle routine business requests
2. Use a product rating service to allow testimonials from your happy customers convince new customers to buy from you.
3. Add a product recommendation service to your company website to sell new products to existing customers over time.
4. Promote your expertise via a blog, which brings customers back to you when they have a question or need to buy something else.
5. Add a detailed resources section to your website so your customers can “self-serve” when they need info.
6. Outsource routine tasks to virtual assistants, who can live half the globe away from you and work while you sleep.
7. Offer an affiliate program so that others can help you sell your product.
8. Join an affiliate program that offers complementary products to bring an extra income stream into your business.
9. Offer electronic products like ebooks and e-course in your online store. These products take up no space, require no interaction from you, and are pure profit.
10. Use mobile devices to check and respond to emails during “snippets” of time during your day, especially if you travel frequently.
11. Take advantage of online stores that drop-ship products to your office to save time (like Quill, the online office supply store that offers free shipping).
12. Sign up for “clipping” and online listening services like Backtype, Whostalkin, and Google Alerts to do online research for your company. Find out what your customers are talking about, looking for, and need, all without speaking with them directly.
This list could easily expand to hundreds of items. All of these are simple ways you can apply technology to expand the productivity of your day. OK, so maybe you can’t really cram 48 hours into a single day, but you can get 48 hours worth of “stuff” accomplished in a day, even while you sleep. It’s called technology, baby!