Are you one of the typical small business owners that finds yourself working 60 plus hours a week and with no end in sight? Do you find yourself in a bind wanting to increase sales and get more revenue but not having enough money to hire help? Have you missed a critical deadline lately or lost a client? This article will show you how to regain control of your life and put your business on a growth path.
Does this sound like you? Do you find yourself looking over your employee’s shoulders not willing to give up what you originally got into business for? Or do you find yourself licking stamps for a major mailing instead of working on a strategy to grow your business?
If the answer to any of these question is yes, than let’s look at some steps you can take to get more balance between your business and your life and stop being an employee. As a small business owner I know that you can get so caught up in minutiae of the operations that you don’t have time to ask yourself important questions about growing your business. You are not alone, as a Life and Business Coach, I can say this is the number one issue I deal with, when working with a small business owner.
First of all consider your long-term life and business goals. What are your business goals? (You do have long-term business goals written out don’t you?) Perhaps your business is just the size you want since working from home and not having to deal with having employees is your ideal. Or do you have ambitions to take on more and eventually grow beyond where you are now? And are you clear on what your personal life goals are? If not take the time to formulate them now, it is time well spent.
You need to make sure that that what you want or aspire to in your business is compatible with what you want in your personal life. So now make a list of your business goals and your personal goals. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side list your business goals and on the other side list your personal goals. Now take a look at your top three business goals and your top three personal goals. How compatible are they? Do you want to increase your client load by ten, which means working an additional ten hours a week, and yet you want to spend long weekends with your family or spend time in at your vacation home. As you go through this exercise, you’ll begin to see just where you’ll need to make adjustments.
Next, think about this: Is this a job or are you building a business? There’s nothing wrong with being self-employed as a one-person business. If you want to grow than you will need to consider what the growth potential is and if you want to make that move. The choice is yours.
Now consider just how much time you spend working in the business as opposed to working on the business. Do you find yourself spending 90% of your time working in the business and about 10% or less working on strategy, planning, developing and working a marketing plan? It seems that there’s never enough time to just sit and think about growth strategies or that illusive marketing plan. For most of us our time is spent on putting out fires and dealing with employee issues. We need to take steps to fix that.
Take a look at just how you’re using time. Make a list of the tasks you perform on a daily basis. You may be surprised at how may of these tasks could be delegated. (I know you’re going to say, delegated to whom?) One of first things a coach colleague told me was to get a virtual assistant. I panned the idea saying that I just couldn’t justify the expense. Well, let me tell you that was a mistake that I’ve since rectified. Any service that can help you with mailings, or billing, etc. is priceless in that it will free you up to do what you do best – what ever your passion is. The 80/20 rules says we get 80% of our payback from 20% of our activities, so make sure you are covering the high payback tasks first.
Lastly, let’s look at your relationships with employees, vendors, etc. Are you over controlling your business to the point you are hurting your profits and possibly driving the people you work with away? Over controlling is one of the top problems small business owners create for themselves and a key reason they fail. Loosen up and lose some of that control. Think about what you can delegate to people and then make sure that they have the skills and training to do it.
So now you are in a position to realistically look at where you are at with your business and personal life goals. There is no one answer to where the balance should lie, but by realizing the trade offs you are making and consciously choosing your path, you will reap the rewards you have set out to accomplish and enjoy the process.
Theresa A. Smith is President of Bright Moment Coaching and Consulting Services, a business and life coaching firm that works with individuals and organizations to provide support, feedback and strategies that are designed to increase their performance and profitability. She co-hosts the Bright Moment Peak Performance cable television show and contributes articles on life and business coaching related issues to various publications. Prior to launching her business, Theresa spent 20 years in leadership and change management training within financial services organizations. Her website is http://brightmoment.com/coaching.htm and her email is email@example.com