The Most Valuable Asset of All: Time

PHOTO: Eugene Shelestov

When we think of assets, we think of our homes, our cars, and other physical possessions. While all of those are true possessions, we often overlook the intangibles when considering what’s valuable. At a recent yachting-industry conference, the roomful of attendees—me included—received a wake-up call on what truly counts, or at least should count as our top priority. That asset: time.

I call it a wake-up call because the minute the words were uttered, the room was silent. And I mean silent. It was if everyone who was “just” checking emails for a moment, or looking at the rest of the day’s program, or allowing themselves to get distracted and half-listen suddenly snapped to attention.

The full quote: “There’s no more valuable asset than my time.”

A gentleman who has owned a number of large yachts over recent years said it in response to being asked how he selects a shipyard. He said it with authority, too, explaining that as an entrepreneur, he has a jam-packed schedule, so moments away from work are his top priority. In fact, because he has so few of them, they’re crucial. He’s not interested in being promised the best price, or the fastest schedule. These, not coincidentally, are the top two reasons many other yacht owners choose a shipyard. Obviously, a competitive cost and reasonable completion date are still considerations for him. However, cost becomes a waste of money if the shipyard fails to meet the schedule. In fact, he says he’ll gladly pay a higher price for a contract-guaranteed completion date. At the end of the day, the shipyard that respects how his free time is most valuable of all proves it’s worth his business, literally and figuratively.

Think about your own role as a consumer. Isn’t your time your most valuable asset, too? Now put yourself back in your business shoes. Being the biggest company, or the one with the most clients, or the one with the coolest offerings doesn’t matter one whit if you don’t understand your clients’ most valuable asset.

It’s an important lesson we all should take to heart.

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