Family, friends, children, hobbies, sports, fun, other obligations and still nothing to indicate in the forecast that things are slowing down adding stress to an already stressed out lifestyle. Business owners, executives and entrepreneurs that find their work and personal life out of balance are faced with an ever increasing demand on the business at hand. No doubt living the “American Dream” of owning a business is getting to be more of a challenge. Most people believe that if they start a business they will find more time for family and make more money, only to find the opposite. Running a traditional business today is everything but traditional. New technologies, faster communication, bigger demands and last but not least more regulations with higher costs of compliance means a tighter budget and with more discretionary time being taken away, upsetting a healthy balance in life. Shouldn’t your business work for you? Are you a business owner or have you have just created another “job” for yourself and perhaps your spouse. What is important to you and what could you do to strike a better balance?
Fight back! Think outside the box. Dare to draw new lines and challenge the status-quo in business ownership. The next generation of business owners do not need to, in fact, will not be able to, run their business like their predecessors. Decide what is important to you. What consumes your thoughts? Where would you like more time? If you make these things a priority you may be surprised at how more things get done.
Delegate!!! An owner’s responsibility is to run their business, not work in it, but many business owners do not really understand the difference. As a business owner you should know what the highest and most profitable use of you and your organizations time. Identify and write down 5 things that you can do daily that will help you to be more efficient, increase discretionary time and better focus your organizations time and strike a better balance between your life and work. You may be surprised at how this can improve not only your customers’ experience, but improve family relations ultimately increasing profitability. No Kidding!
It’s not surprising that the average business owner will work a 60+ hour week. Is working more something to brag about to your closest friends and to your family? I hear time and time again business owners say that doing things themselves doesn’t cost me anything? Their time may not be money, but neglecting family, friends and your own well being due to the demands of business can cost dearly. However, time is one of the few things have that nobody can replace, duplicate or get back. We all only have 24 hours in a day. The time spent at work is not usually the only issue. It is also the time after hours spent thinking about the business that adds up.
One way to overcome the time management dilemma not only for yourself, but for your customer’s satisfaction is to start to pay attention to how you and your organization are REALLY spending time. Is it in your email inbox, doing repetitive administrative or tactical tasks? What is that you are doing that may not be directly related to your customers’ experience. What are you doing that may not really be important. Personally here, I see businesses going to extraordinary lengths to job cost, but does not use the data for anything other than fill in the spreadsheet? If you do it, ensure that you use it. Tie it in to the customers’ value proposition. Limit business development priorities to a manageable level every week or month. Too many priorities mean too much to do leaving, leaving results less than desired, leading everyone, including the business owner feel overwhelmed and under achieved. The focus on what gets done should be activities that make you more money or improve your business. Many times the small priorities are accomplished around the key priorities.
Decide that the chicken comes before the egg. Small business owners worry about sales and attracting new customers (Chickens.) Many business problems, not all, seem to disappear if you have enough money (Eggs). As a start-up let’s face it (Chickens, are of great interest). If a business that has been around a while, the concern is keeping their (Chickens) customers. It would be hard to argue that Sales and marketing and customer service should be priorities. Growing a business seems to come down to only a few ideas.
Focus your organization on all the ways you currently bring in new customers. Search out ways of reaching new customers that consider the old and new generations of perspective people. Focus on training your organization to treat your current customers very well. Communicate with your current customers often. Understand their challenges; bring them new value to help their customers, under promise, over deliver… Keep your organizations focus primarily on impressing your current customers. The best way to meet new ones is to have the current ones make the introduction because you have been good for them.
Find & keep good employees
In today’s environment I would, as a business owner, be more worried about local competition for employees than about the loss of business due to off-shoring because there are fewer qualified and skilled people to help you succeed and grow your organization. The focus for keeping people is changing and there is nothing you or I can do about it. We must adapt. This is an overall strategic focus. Business owners often worry about losing their good people because they’ve invested a lot of time and money in training them.
When it comes to people it is better to invest in the capability of an effective employee training and business culture strategy than to try and figure out how to better process payroll or pay taxes online. This is what your father’s business did, and is not likely a future practice of the new generation businesses. There are far too many options that can work in just about all types of businesses. Search out these options. They are far better at doing it than we are and they can worry about many of the last topic issues. Hire and keep the right fitting, good people. It is not easy, but a good resource for what is important to employees comes from a very good book. “First Break all the Rules”. Surprising what we think is important to people may not be as much as we thought.
New Government Regulation
If only legislators would stop trying to simplify the system. Generally small business owners in the United States are saying they are worried about complying with all the new government regulations but are not really sure how or what that means. There are over 30 Federal Government Agencies that affect businesses not to mention the Agencies that govern each states, city and municipality. New employee regulations, internet sales tax, privacy regulations, healthcare costs and taxes are all on a small business owners minds. No doubt they all have an impact and can cause a business to reduce if not sidetrack the organizations focus on what it is that is important for the business to succeed and be more profitable.
You may think it would be beneficial to sit down and make a list of all your lingering questions to give to your attorney and have a day where you can get all these questions answered. With the rate that changes are happening today, that may be a very frequent trip making the price tag unbearable not to mention the resources and time it would take to get them implemented in your business. There are alternatives out there that may not totally eliminate the need to focus some of your internal staff’s time on these necessary but non-productive activities, but they can greatly reduce the non-productive focus and give you the ability to refocus them on more productive activities. Seek them out. When it comes to compliance, the topic should not be taken lightly. The Long Term Cost containment is a very real objective for today’s business owners.
Call us today at 920-436-9887 so that you can better enjoy your business and Improve Profits!