I’m a 20 year veteran of the private equity industry. I know what works to generate deal flow. I will always share how the best private equity professionals originate more deal flow. That’s my focus and passion.
I review at least 1,000 private investment opportunities per year. I balance deal turn downs with deploying capital. My days are filled with meeting new prospects, taking care of existing clients, and pushing deals through our pipeline.
So how do I do it? First, private equity professionals need to be very cognizant of their “highest and best use” of time management when sourcing and executing. As many veterans of PE BD know, the worst use of time is getting bogged down with a laundry list of administrative tasks versus being out trying to find new investment opportunities.
How do you reduce the time you spend on admin tasks and focus more on bringing in more deals for your execution team to review?
Know Your Flaws
Do you get distracted with your inbox or your social media feed? Are you constantly switching between your project management tools, your CRM tools, and your email accounts? If so, you’re killing a lot of time. My number one recommendation to BD people is to turn off your email alerts. They are complete distractions. Stay focused on the task at hand. Check email 3 times per day. First thing in the morning. Midday. And lastly, at night.
Little tasks that aren’t compartmentalized are sneaky time wasters. In isolation, none of them seem to take up too much time, but they do. But when compounded, it’s difficult to recover from the loss of productivity.
A report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), says small business owners are spending more than 33 hours a month handling internal admin tasks. 55% say this is causing a lag in business growth. As you might expect, accounting tops the list of major time wasters with up to 14 of the 33 hours. Business banking takes 9 hours, taxes 6 hours, and HR and employee care take 5 hours.
Here’s how I maximize my efficiency:
Schedule Your Entire Life on Your Calendar
I worked in a sales role earlier in my career. One of my bosses used to harp on planning. The mantra was “Plan your Day; and Execute Your Plan.” Trust me. This is the best sales advice I’ve ever learned.
Move your to-do list to your calendar. That’s how you get things done.
Do you still use spreadsheets (or worse yet, a pen and paper) to schedule? In case the schedule changes or someone gets sick, you always have to adjust it manually.
This is a huge amount of work––and it’s unnecessary. It doesn’t have to be like that. Use the great technology of MS Outlook and learn how to automate and create shortcuts. Learn the shortcuts available in MS Outlook. They will make your life easier.
Today anyone can create a robust scheduling solution that ensures you and your staff are working on projects they enjoy instead of wasting time on admin tasks. One way to achieve this is through an enterprise scheduling app. Look for an app that suits your business in terms of size and needs.
Get More Admin Support
You may be wondering if the amount of work you have justifies hiring additional staff. However, hiring more admin support could be a great decision. An assistant can help improve the efficiency of your whole business by taking care of the menial tasks that are consuming everybody’s time. And check out virtual assistants. Many of the productivity gurus like David Allen and Tim Ferriss preach that virtual assistants have changed their lives for the better. Moving your tasks to your calendar in order to get things done is invaluable. Trust me. Do it. You will instantly see an improvement in your effectiveness.
How do you know you need more admin help?
- You spend several hours every week scheduling meetings and calls, entering data, or other tasks that can be handled by someone who doesn’t have your industry expertise.
- There are multiple tasks that you can’t automate but you can outsource. These include handling email, answering the phone, and greeting clients.
- Hiring more admin help will free up more of your time and allow you to focus on more important business matters (or even just improve your quality of life).
If you can relate, then you need more admin help. Admin support is cheap and easy to do.
The last decade has brought to life a range of job titles which have slight differences but all related to admin. These include Administrative Assistant, Virtual Assistant, Office Manager, Receptionist, and Executive Assistant. Know the differences to ensure you get what you expect.
Basic BD tasks can easily be automated with an effective time-keeping system. Building a robust CRM system is so important for long term success. Built right, they become a valuable resource for the following reasons:
- Fewer data and clerical errors with a self-service time capture and reporting systems.
- Easier tracking and monitoring alterations in the schedule. This gives poeple the ability to measure productivity lapses in real-time.
- Automated calculations based on preset rules.
- More “self-service” employees. Employees can easily submit record performance-related data, and approve themselves.
Make Use of Mobile Apps
People are always talking about how mobile apps can save your business time and money. But is there any real value behind all the bells and whistles? You need to invest in a mobile app that will definitively yield you a positive ROI. I use my CRM (Podio) multiple hours a day. I should know because I track my usage through a great software package called RescueTime.
Mobile apps come with a range of powerful tools to help with organization, collaboration, and communication with your team. Whether it’s project management, collaborative to-do lists, cloud storage, group messaging, or video conferencing, there’s an app out there. Some are free while others charge a premium fee on various plans. Tread carefully, but don’t be afraid to explore. Some of these can be true game-changers.
The Final Word
Business Development Professionals have a finite amount of time to bring in business. You need to optimize it. If you can get your scheduling right and outsource and automate certain services, you can start maximizing your time today.