Opportunity Cost Decoded: Elevating Business Efficiency by Tackling Time Management
Agency Management Time Tracking & Productivity

Opportunity Cost Decoded: Elevating Business Efficiency by Tackling Time Management

Scott Strandberg
Scott Strandberg

Time management and opportunity cost in business are more closely related than many agency leaders may suspect. When you look at how the two concepts connect, it’s clear that your time management skills can significantly impact your opportunity cost in decision-making.

Service based businesses constantly face time-related decisions. Do you invest in a long-term project that requires more resources but promises a steady contract? Do you bring in new clients even if your employees are nearing capacity? And with all these time and time-management-related decisions, there are different opportunity costs.

Since no business can do everything at all times, understanding how to manage your time and increase efficiency can help you mitigate the opportunity cost of upcoming business decisions.

Understanding Time Management in a Multitasking Environment

Daily workflows necessitate varying degrees of multitasking, especially in startup businesses and fast-paced digital agencies. Employees who struggle with time management may have difficulties adapting to a company’s needs. In a multitasking agency environment, employees may face several time management hurdles.

Juggling multiple projects

Agencies often have to balance multiple projects simultaneously, which can be challenging. It's important to prioritize projects and set deadlines for each one.

Dealing with unexpected tasks

Things come up unexpectedly in any job, but they can be especially disruptive in an agency environment. It's essential to be flexible and able to adapt to change.

Managing client expectations

Agencies need to manage client expectations carefully. Clients often have unrealistic expectations about what an agency can accomplish in a given time, leading to an increasing opportunity cost. It's necessary to set clear expectations and communicate regularly with clients.

Dealing with distractions

There are many distractions in an agency environment, such as email, phone calls, and social media. It's essential to focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions.

Staying organized

Fast-paced agencies require organizational skills, including keeping track of projects, deadlines, and client information. Business software like Elorus can help streamline your efforts with time tracking, project monitoring, and reporting tools.

The Concept of Opportunity Cost in Business

So, what is the opportunity cost? It’s the value of something you must give up to gain something else. Opportunity cost in business is the value of the best alternative foregone when you make a decision. For example, if a company decides to invest in a new product, the opportunity cost is the potential profits it could have made from investing in another product or project.

Opportunity cost in business is a critical concept because it helps brands to make decisions that are in their best interests. By considering the opportunity cost of different options, businesses can ensure that they are making the most of their resources and not making decisions that will negatively impact their bottom line.

Increasing opportunity cost can dramatically influence resource allocation. One resource there’s seldom enough of is time. Digital agencies and service-based companies must strategically determine how to allocate their time best to serve clients and customers.

Example of Increasing Opportunity Cost

As an opportunity cost example, a digital marketing agency has limited time and resources to allocate to its clients. If the agency focuses on a new client, it may need to remove resources from its existing clients. This means the existing clients may receive a different level of service than before, and their results may suffer.

The opportunity cost of taking on a new client is the potential loss of revenue from the existing clients. The agency must weigh the benefits of taking on the new client against the potential costs of jeopardizing the relationship with its existing clients.

Increasing opportunity cost can also occur when a digital marketing agency invests in new technology or hires new staff. These investments can take away from the agency's existing resources, impacting its ability to serve its clients. However, they can also help the agency become more productive in the future.

Any agency or service based business must consider new investments' potential benefits and costs. How will a new investment eat into your time? What resources will it require? What do you stand to gain, and what do you stand to lose? Finding the intersection between time management and opportunity cost can help you better answer these questions. 

The Intersection of Time Management and Opportunity Cost

Time management and opportunity cost affect each other greatly. When we choose how to spend our time, we also choose what we are giving up. This is the opportunity cost of our time. For example, if you spend extra time working on a specific client’s account, you’re giving up the opportunity to use that time on your other clients. Therefore, the opportunity cost of that extra time spent on one client may be the inability to service your other accounts fully.

Now, apply that thinking to your business as a whole. Every time-related decision in business has an associated opportunity cost that can present several different pathways your brand could take. If you make decisions or investments that are time-inefficient, you could face a steeper lost opportunity cost compared to a decision that made more effective use of time management. Calculating opportunity cost can help you determine the ideal course of action. 

Simple Time Tracking Solution for your Agency

Impact on Business Efficiency and Client Satisfaction

When you look at opportunity cost in decision-making and use time management to maximize your choices, you can increase efficiency and client satisfaction in your service business. While mastering time management and understanding opportunity cost can represent positive net changes for your business, failing can lead to inefficiencies, poor decision-making, and soured client relationships. As an opportunity cost example, if you prioritize a project with potential that may not yield results for months over one that could give a client an immediate win, you could face negative reception. 

Strategizing with Opportunity Cost for Efficient Time Management

Ultimately, your business must find effective time management strategies to test new opportunities. A few best practices can help you maximize your available time and free up resources to focus on business-critical tasks.

Task prioritization

Identify the most important tasks and focus on them first. You can create a to-do list and rank the tasks based on their importance, urgency, and cost/benefit.


Assign tasks to others so that you can focus on the most important ones. When delegating, be sure to communicate the expectations and deadlines.

Time blocking

Schedule specific times for specific tasks to help you stay on track and avoid distractions.

Utilizing relevant technology

There is a plethora of tools that you can take advantage of, like time tracking, project management automation, and AI tools that will help you manage your time more efficiently. For instance, Elorus offers features to help you keep tabs on your billable hours, direct your projects, and automate tasks.

Equipping your agency with the right tools can help you when calculating opportunity costs and boost your overall business efficiency.

Elorus can help you master time management in your business

Time management may come naturally to some employees and agency leaders. Fortunately, Elorus can help with our all-inclusive business software that is backed with robust time-tracking, reporting, accounting, and invoicing features so you can more clearly see the opportunity cost of time-related decisions.

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