Claudia Smith
Claudia Smith

The power of time

by Claudia Smith. How much are you putting into your business strategy for 2021?

by Claudia Smith. I have been thinking a lot of about time recently. Time is represented by change and closely connected to the concept of space and, having gone through a difficult year that really embodied change and forced people to think differently about space in every aspect, I not only feel that time moved incredibly quickly as we race towards the end of the year, but at the same time, unbelievably slowly. And I am sure I am not the only one.

It’s hard to believe its November, but even harder to understand where the time went. Which then got me thinking even more. One of the most peculiar qualities of ‘time’ is that it is measured (and evident) by motion; and with many adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach in both their business and personal capacity, the level of ‘motion’ we have traditionally seen has been drastically reduced.

Sure, we have moved forward in some respects, and no doubt some things have changed and are full steam ahead with new business models and consideration sets at the fore, but for the most part things have slowed considerably, just look at our GDP and it’s not just us or as a result of Covid. Sure, it exacerbated the slow down, but even before that, national output had contracted in major European economies and economic growth in the US and China had slowed. This slowdown has long reaching impacts – less risks being taken, growth or development plans being put on hold, more conservative budgets, slower hires and these permeate into personals aspects as well – putting holidays and plans on hold, holding out on a new asset purchases etc. My point… the wait and see approach is impacting our concept of time.

As a result, sometimes it can be hard to remain focused and ensure that time isn’t being squandered. Interruptions, unbalanced routines – things have shifted and so too must our focus on time. And no this is certainly not a time management pep talk – but I do believe that reward is directly proportional to the time and effort you put into something.

So, ask yourself – how much are you putting into your business strategy for 2021? How much time are you spending trying to understand your customer base and how their mindsets are changing and what new consideration sets are becoming more important to them, so you can adapt and tap into that? What about your employees? How much time are you spending in building an internal culture that not only ensures your employees are bought into your vision and become and remain brand ambassadors for your business, but that there is also a focus on development and career opportunities for each person? What portion of your time are you spending on marketing and networking and is it working? For entrepreneurs, start-ups and agencies, how are you billing for your time? What portion of your time is being spent on implementation vs business strategy? How are you freeing up time to tackle the important things which cannot be side-lined anymore? How are you balancing work-from-home and preventing burnout? Essentially, how are you controlling your time?

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it as our decisions and actions will ultimately define whether time is our enemy or ally. On the surface, a ‘wait and see’ approach seems to make sense – after all, we are dealing with a lot of uncertainty with major transformations on so many levels. But inaction today has so much more risk than taking that action and if everyone adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach, the pace of recovery will be very slow indeed. Now’s the time for action.


Claudia Smith (nee Ferguson), has an impressive consulting career and her fair share of industry stories to tell. And she does exactly that – tell brand stories, backed by strategy and high-level consulting – all focused on impact. She believes in the power of the African continent, the value of insight and experience and the importance of relationships on the continent and beyond its borders. She thrives on challenge and as a Business Director at Orange Ink, her responsibilities include strategic business development for the agency and its client portfolio.


– Receive the Retailing Africa newsletter every Monday and Thursday • Subscribe here