We hear it all the time – ‘I spend too much time IN my business, and not enough time ON my business’. So how do you spend quality time on your business, but still make sure your day to day work gets done?
Where to start
First work out how much of that ‘busy being busy’ stuff YOU actually have to do. It’s a common problem that many of us think no-one could possibly do the job as well as we do. That may be the case for some tasks, but in many areas there’s often someone capable of taking on the role.
Learning to let go can open up a world of opportunity. However, if you’re starting out and it’s just you in the business, the reality is you’ll need funds to get yourself some support. If you don’t have that funding the only option is step up your efforts. But, before you dive into more late nights and early mornings, take some time to plan your best approach.
Mapping out the future
For many small business owners, the idea of getting more staff in seems ideal. They’ll take care of the mundane stuff, will help you sell, can hold down the fort while you take a break and so on. However, the reality can be very different.
So when you’re planning on who to hire next, think carefully. Where do you want your business to grow? Is that mundane job really what you need help with? What is going to set you up best for the short, medium and long term? What next step will help you come closer to achieving your vision? Or deliver on your business positioning most favourably? Asking yourself these, and many other questions will help you to find the right solution, not just the one that’s top of mind.
Getting some support
When asking these questions it’s usually wise to bounce them off someone else. Especially someone who can stretch your thinking. For larger businesses, critical decisions are usually made with the input of a group – senior management teams, or a board of directors. In some large organisations this can lead to slower decision making, but there is an advantage in consulting with experienced people.
Too often small businesses have a desire to be as self-sufficient as possible. This leaves owners with a sense of needing to have all the answers. The reality is that this is not wise or practical business management. If you we’re building a home, you’ll get different experts in – builder, plumber, electrician, etc. The same logic applies when it comes to building your business. Utilise the appropriate experts at the appropriate times; accountant, lawyer, marketer, etc. The use of a trusted advisor can be invaluable in helping you build your ideal business, but there’s opportunity for much more.
Don’t work in isolation
At times running a small business can be a lonely road. You’re often isolated from discussing plans or concerns with your staff, as those concerns might directly affect them. So you’re left to make decisions, without support. This comes with obvious concerns which can keep you up at night. Is there another option I’m not seeing? Can we afford this right now? What happens if this doesn’t work? The worrying itself can cause you to become less productive. You don’t sleep as well, your mind wanders when you need to be focused on the task at hand.
For many owners, the solution is to simply put off making the decision. In our experience, no decision is almost always worse than a potentially wrong decision. Having that trusted person to discuss ideas with, rationalise options and decisions, can not only give you greater confidence in your decisions, it provides another perspective to help you see problems in a different way. A good advisor will almost always help you to save, or generate far more money than they cost.
So ask yourself which areas of your business are a weakness and look for a trusted advisor who can help you turn them into a strength.