Return on investment, or ROI is one of the most important things for any small business owner to consider. Time is limited, and we all have a multitude of things to do. It’s very easy for any of us to end up wasting out effort, putting ourselves in a position of not getting adequate return for whatever we’re putting into things.
Since we’re at the traditional pre-New Year’s Resolution time frame, in a place where people often examine their lives to one extent or other, it’s useful to think about your business and personal endeavors this past year, and identify areas where your return may not be sufficient on what you’re doing. Before I get into some ways to examine what you’re putting in and what you’re getting back, let me offer this caveat:
I do not denigrate or speak negatively about anyone’s personal emotional returns. If you do something in your life that’s only return is to make you feel good, or to satisfy you in some qualitative way, by all means, keep at it!
Okay! To the questions:
1. What are you putting into it?
This can be harder to identify that you think. Obviously with something like a P2P site, a major part of the effort is the membership fee that you’re paying. However, there’s also the secondary cost in time-combing through gigs, identifying ones you want to try for, and the audition process, including checking to see how someone rates you. Perhaps the straight dollar ROI is worth it–you make plenty more than you put in. But is the secondary cost worth it also? What else could you be doing with that time you spend, and could it be used to yield an even greater return?
When you think of costs, be sure you think about everything that goes into a business strategy. If you make 1 cold call a week, but spend the first four days psyching yourself up for it, and a half hour sweating at the phone in dread, you can probably find something else to do with that time, and moreover, something that will drop your stress level! Who needs that?
2. What are you getting back?
Again, this is an area where you need to take some time to identify all aspects of return. Like I said above in my caveat, sometimes the return is not a straight dollar value return but rather something that satisfies or gives an emotional value.
An easy example of this from my own life would be my participation in Faffcon. I don’t get directly paid for anything I do for the conference. I put in a fair amount of time before and during the event (Not as much as Amy and Lauren, but some!) and there are always stresses, major and minor that go along with any large gathering of people. (For example, I’m actually quite shy. Being social that much is a lot of effort for me. )
But going to Faffcon yields immense rewards on so many levels-I’ve gotten a lot of secondary work from people who simply say nice things about me. I also get the tremendous satisfactions of watching lives change and careers transform. I’ve seen love and friendships start, and laughed and hoisted many a beverage with my friends there. I also take a small enjoyment of trying to connect people wherever I can-one advantage about knowing a lot of people who go is that if I hear someone say ‘oh I want to know about this’ I can often times find them someone who is particularly good at that thing.
Anyways, count your returns with care. Make sure that your reasoning is solid. (Even though I still don’t have a demo, I keep going to this coach because we get along so well!) Look hard at what you’re doing, and take the opportunity to brainstorm ways that you could maybe make it better, or try something new. Don’t hesitate, don’t waste time, and seize your moment! Now is a great time for change!