As the new year comes and goes, many of us have probably put together a list of new year’s resolutions.
According to Nielsen, the eight most popular new year’s resolutions are:
- Stay fit/lose weight
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Save more
- Make more time for friends/family
- Get organised
- Take up a new hobby
- Travel more
- Do more reading
How many of those sound like your list of new year’s resolutions? I’m willing to bet a lot of them look quite familiar!
Of course, you can’t get started on making a change if you have no time to yourself. And for many business owners such as yourself, time is simply not on your side. Between managing your business, answering emails at home and acting as lead salesperson, it can be almost impossible to find enough time to do anything for yourself.
As a business owner coach, I like to say that the ultimate goal of owning any business is to find the means to live your ideal life. Everything else is secondary or a means to that end.
And that includes money – because when you break it down, what does the money you earn do, if not go straight into funding your lifestyle?
Even more important than the money is time. If you have all the money in the world but still no time to pursue your life goals, can you really say you’re living your ideal lifestyle?
I find that in many cases, the lack of time and money can be chalked up to a range of potential causes. In some cases, it’s problems within your business. In others, it’s deep-seated habits and ideas that are holding you back from doing what you want.
So what are you meant to change as a business owner if your business is sucking up far too much of your personal time? What can you do to get your time and money back, and start living the life of your dreams?
1) Plan around your ideal lifestyle
Everyone has an ideal lifestyle they would like to lead. What less people do is plan their business strategy and goals around that lifestyle.
Every time I begin working with a new client, I always start with their ideal lifestyle and their goals:
- Where do they want to go?
- When would you like to get there?
- Is their business in its current state helping them get there?
- How close are they to achieving these goals?
- If not, what are they willing to do to reach this stage?
I don’t ask these questions solely because I like talking (although that’s a part of it!) Rather, I ask my clients these because understanding your goals is essential to reaching your ideal lifestyle.
That might sound like an obvious statement. And it is. But while every business owner that comes to me for business owner coaching has goals, not all of them have built their business strategy and plans around those goals.
I believe that the best business owners tailor their strategy around achieving their specific lifestyle goals. It might sound selfish, but if you’re serious about getting the most out of your business, this is the approach you need to take. Don’t stress yourself out worrying about the rest – it’ll fall into place.
Is your ideal lifestyle one where you have the freedom to travel the world? Start by determining exactly how much money and time you’ll need to fund that specific lifestyle.
Then ask yourself: “when?” A timeframe is essential, as it determines not only how much time you have to work with, but how aggressive you need to be when making changes.
Finally, consider what you’re willing to do to get there – and more importantly, what you’re not willing to do. Getting to your ideal lifestyle may require drastic changes – do you feel comfortable making them?
Only once these fundamental questions are answered, can you (and your business owner coach, of course) get into the blood and guts and start making changes.
Again, it sounds like it goes without saying, but in my experience many business owners create strategies and plans around growth, or making money – not around their goals. They might plan to increase annual profit by X% next year, or open a new store within three years, for instance.
And while these goals are no doubt important, without keeping that ideal lifestyle at the forefront of your mind, it’s easy to lose sight of why you got into business.
2) Delegate more
While I have helped a huge range of businesses both big and small, I make no secret of the fact that I greatly prefer working with small and medium enterprises.
The reason is because small business owners are more flexible, eager to change, responsive and willing to take on new challenges.
I find that last quality in particular to be a double-edged sword in many cases.
While it’s this eagerness to bear the weight of the business that makes small business owners so dynamic and plain fun to work with, I’ve noticed over the years that many small business owners spend far too much time in the trenches alongside their staff.
I’m not saying a hands-on approach is a bad thing – far from it! What I have noticed however is that many small business owners seem to hold the belief that as business owners, they are obligated to have a hand in every part of the business… even when they have good staff and don’t have to do any of the grunt-work themselves.
This mindset is the first thing that any good business owner should break. After all, the ultimate goal of owning a business is to enable your ideal lifestyle.
And if you’re spending all your time either at work doing things your staff could be doing for you – or worse, doing it after-hours at home – then you can’t really say your business is doing what it’s meant to.
As a business owner coach, I spend a lot of my time with clients on enabling them to take time off. That means setting up systems and processes that take unnecessary work off your plate and streamline your business, giving you the power to step back.
My mantra is if you can afford to, hire some help and delegate. And if you can’t, set actionable goals and make changes until you can.
And most importantly, I help break the misconception that business owners need to be hands-on all the time.
3) Money is a means to an end
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: your business is all about getting TIME and MONEY
The way I see it, you need money first, because money is what allows you to buy back your time. With money, you can afford to hire the right help and take unnecessary work off your hands, thereby giving you more time.
That said, money should never be an end-goal. Money is a means to an end – like I said before, your ultimate goal should be achieving your ideal lifestyle. This piece of advice applies to all aspects of life… but it’s especially relevant when it comes to your business.
They say money can’t buy you happiness. There’s a reason that saying has stuck around for as long as it has – when you really think about it, money’s just paper. It can’t bring you happiness by itself – but what it can do is buy you time.
Obviously, you need time to live your ideal lifestyle – you can’t travel the world, make model trains or move take up swing dancing (a personal hobby) if you’re spending all your time working, after all.
Too many business owners seem fixated on increasing their bottom line or making more profit just for the sake of it. Money should never be an end-goal itself – only your ideal lifestyle should be. It’s simply a tool for helping you to get your time back and funding your life. Focusing solely on your finances can muddy the waters and make you forget why you’re really in business.
It might sound cliche, but I’ll say it anyway – never lose sight of those goals. Focus on what you want out of your business and make your decisions and plans around achieving those. Planning for profit and revenue definitely comes into it… but they should NOT be all you focus on as a business owner!
Become a better business owner
When you own a business, it can be easy to let “business owner” become your entire personality.
In my experience, being a good business owner is about more than growing your business and sales. In the end, it’s all about you, and the best business owners are the ones who do keep their eyes on their own goals and who make time for themselves.
Is your new year’s resolution to spend more time away from work, or to do more of the things you want to do? If so, call me now and arrange a chat over coffee – together, we’ll get you started on the path to becoming a better business owner through business coaching Melbourne.