Running a business can often be all-consuming. It can suck all of your time and then demand more – every business owner or manager needs to deal with this challenge. All too often you hear stories of business owners failing to spend time with their families, of missing school concerts or bath-times, of spouses being neglected. This is a fundamental issue that needs to be properly addressed. After all, the average dad will only have a few school concerts or school sports days to go to and each one missed is gone for ever.
So how can you make a difference and be there when it counts – to have time for what really matters? Firstly, sometimes you need to recognise where you are in the lifecycle of your business. Secondly, it’s all about being efficient. Thirdly, how can you manage and delegate more than you are now!
There are times in the lifecycle of every business where you, as the business owner, need to be more involved. Face it, you have to walk before you can run. You often have to go through the pain of getting your business to the next stage before things improve dramatically. It doesn’t matter if your business stage is solo entrepreneur, or you are a team of two or three, or you have a bigger team: the business essentials remain the same. The only way you can have more time for your family and the stuff that really matters is by focussing on getting to the next level, of growing the business to the point of having someone to help, or a bigger team. There are strategies that can help; for example, don’t work in the evenings, keep those for family times – and, if you need to give more time, get up at 5am so you get 2 quality hours to work on your business before the day properly starts.
Regardless of the stage of your business, you need your business to be efficient. Which means looking at how your business works and where you spend most of your time. There will always be things that can be improved – although you sometimes need help in working this out! Obvious ones are using software apps to automate things. There are good examples of this in the accounting world. Apps like Receipt Bank allow you to scan in your expenses and bills. Instead of taking 4 or 5 minutes to type in a bill, you can spend 20 seconds scanning a copy of it using your smartphone and the app will read it and upload the details to your accounting software. Saving 4 minutes doesn’t sound much, until you realise that if your business has 100 bills per month, you can easily save a day’s work every month in this way.
Every business owner manages and delegates to some extent – and this is the real winner when it comes to making time for the important things in life. What do you need to do to become better at this? Part of the answer to this question will be found in identifying your particular circumstances and what you are doing at the moment! A great tip for identifying what to delegate is to prepare a timesheet and record what you do and for how long. Probably you only need to do this for a couple of weeks. This is a great diagnostic tool, because you get to see – and acknowledge – what you really spend time on. Once you have your timesheet, categorise your time into stuff only you can do, and things others could do if you showed them how. This is where you identify your need for a virtual assistant or a PA, or to get a bookkeeper, or a middle manager, etc., etc. Armed with these three questions to help review your business, where are you?
Very importantly, wherever you are in your business it can be improved. Things can get better! You can run a business and still have time to have a life. This is where I can help make a difference. When you are in the thick of things, it is really hard to see ways to make a change – unless someone helps you to see some alternatives. Use us, get our help in reviewing where you are and suggesting ways you can run your business and have time for what really matters. Get in touch to book a meeting and get started.