Is bigger better? Is less, more? Does money talk? Is talk cheap? Solid arguments abound for each side of these well-known maxims. But when it comes to time – especially the management of time – there seems to be universal agreement that time matters … a lot. Or so it would appear.

There are many refrains out there that preach about the importance of time. Time waits for no man. Time marches on. Time is fleeting. There is no time like the present.

My favorite phrase about time is delay breeds danger. Delay breeds danger moves beyond the philosophical into the practical by pointing out the ultimate reality about the management of time: Do something or else. Delay breeds danger gives the clearest warning as to what will likely happen if you do not take action now. Waiting is risky for any business in any industry.

What’s amazing to me is how casual some businesses are when it comes to capitalizing on windows of opportunity. Windows are just that, windows. They don’t stay open forever. If a window is open, you should mobilize your entire workforce to accelerate through your opportunity. Delay, and your opportunity will irreparably cost you the unique chance to make a significant move in the marketplace. At best, delay will cost you a lot more money and effort if you try to wedge that opportunity open again sometime in the future.

The management of time is completely in your control. How fast and how hard you move is up to you. Why would you risk the chance to make a meaningful difference by waiting? Why?

Kodak delayed, and the digital image space passed it by. Polaroid delayed, and went from innovator to irrelevant. Sears delayed, and Target captured loyal customers responding to value and style. Want more? Palm delayed, and lost leadership in the handheld communications marketplace to RIM/Blackberry and Apple. Nokia delayed, and lost the chance to leverage its global distribution as the single biggest source of Internet connectivity in the world.

Time matters … a lot. Do something. Have on a sense of urgency. It will serve you well.

Author: Thomas V. Butta, Founder & Managing Director, 21 Weeks, LLC