A while back, I heard a great quote: “The beauty of running your own business is that you get to pick WHICH 80 hours you want to work each week!”
This may cause some of you to chuckle to yourselves - yet painfully so, because this is often the case for many Entrepreneurs. If you are like the majority of people who have started a business, it was not because of your business savvy. It was because you were good at something, and thought you could offer what you do better, cheaper or differently than the competition. Whether it be a former boss, your neighbor or a family member - you started out with a burning passion and deep conviction that not only could you survive in business - you could thrive.
Yes, you, the Entrepreneurs within, was ready to go against all odds and climb the daunting mountain that is entrepreneurship - the mountain that few dare to climb. No longer drawing a paycheck from “the man”, but carving out your own path.
But then something happened …
You succeeded! Orders/jobs (whatever you offer) kept coming in, and your responsibility increased. As your personal life shrunk into a corner, you found that your dreams were invaded by thoughts of clients and prospects. There were no longer any 8 hour work days - sometimes they would stretch to 16 (or more!) Work-free weekends seemed to be a distant memory, and you are afraid you may not keep up this feverish pace forever. Yes, that entrepreneurial mountain that you braved up - you are now clinging onto it for dear life! 40% of your time is spent actually “doing” the work you love, and the other 60+% is spent on customer relations, getting business, accounting, and other things. What a shock!
Okay, this may not be the case for you but it very well could be at some point. Doesn’t it make sense? What is a business owner to do? I have the answer for you, and while it may not be easy, it sure is simple: Systematize your business! Treat your business as a franchise, and work on laying ground rules for every portion of your company.
Why? You may ask. The answer - to bring other competent people into the picture to take on portions of the tasks that you are currently doing. Tactically speaking, you will want to begin by laying out the sections of your business and writing owners manuals for each. Let’s face it - on paper, delegation seems like a pretty simple task. The problem is this though: Without an operations manual for your own specific company, you are setting up your new competent worker for disaster! Remember that while they might be the best and most reliable person you have ever met, they cannot read your mind. Writing operations manuals and plugging competent people into the positions you create into your business will do a number of things, such as:
- produce consistent, predictable results
- allow you to be more “hands-off”
- free up time for you to work on your business, instead of just in it
Imagine for a moment, what your business would look like if you had well thought through operations manuals for every area of your business and people in your business using these manuals. What a sigh of relief! Your clients would not need to depend upon you solely to deliver, and you know that what you offer will be consistently and predictably high in quality like you and your clients demand.
Best of luck to you, fellow entrepreneur to cutting your 80 hour work week in half and getting your weekends back!