When it comes to what makes a good business owner, I always narrow it down to two fundamental questions: do they have money and do they have time?
Because at its core, your business exists to provide you, the owner, with money so you can attain the lifestyle YOU want, whether that’s family, adventuring around the world or collecting rare stamps.
And if you spend 60-70 hours a week at your business not experiencing or enjoying the lifestyle you hope for, then what’s the point of having your own business?
As a business owner coach, I am a firm believer that time is one of the two most important assets for every business owner. Every decision you make in your business is geared towards either making money or saving time.
While implementing effective time-management techniques for yourself is part of the solution, that’s not the purpose of this blog.
Getting more time as a business owner is much more complex than just maintaining an orderly diary – reclaiming your time starts on a more fundamental level. It starts with the way your business’ systems are set out, the people you hire and most importantly, your mindset!
What does time have to do with being a good business owner?
Everything! In my opinion, time and money are the most fundamental indicators of success as a business owner.
Many business owners use their expensive car or the number of staff they employ as measures of their success as business owners. Put bluntly, I don’t believe these mean anything: just because you own an expensive BMW does not mean you have any money in the bank, and having a large staff body is useless if everything falls apart in your absence.
Like I said before, time and money to achieve the lifestyle you want are the fundamental reason you opened your business. And if you don’t have either, you can’t really say that you are succeeding as a business owner, can you?
In my experience as a business owner coach, gaining more time for your life begins with becoming a better business owner.
Here are some ways I help business owners get their time back.
Change your mindset
Let me tell you the story of Michael.
Michael is a business owner who enlisted my help in the past to improve his business and get his time back.
In the end, the biggest problem keeping Michael away from his family and his dream of travel was Michael himself. As a technician himself, Michael liked being very hands-on with his business, working alongside his small staff in the trenches.
While this was admirable, it was also giving him many a restless night. Among other things, we created a manual of formalised systems, optimised his staffing, and delegated many of the tasks Michael was performing to the rest of his team.
Slowly, we started turning things around at Michael’s business.
Much like Michael, I find that many business owners have a strong sense of independence. They have also convinced themselves that a good business owner must be hands-on and a jack of all trades. They believe thay they should be competent in all areas of the business from the core product or service, to payroll, to advertising.
If you believe that you need to be involved at every point of your business and can’t stand to have someone else take care of things, then of course, you won’t have enough time to enjoy the lifestyle you want.
Delegation doesn’t have to be a dirty word – trust your staff! You hired them to take work off your hands and get more time for yourself, after all. So choose the right people and let them help you.
I understand that your business is your baby and you want only the best for it. But if your business already has effective systems in place and competent staff who can run the entire place without you, why are you still working 80 hour weeks when you could be working 8?
Of course, it’s also important that you maintain some sort of control mechanism over your business. Even the most competent staff can make mistakes, after all. Just make sure that your staff know it’s only for when work is beyond their scope – and never accept any “reverse delegation” unless it’s urgent.
Establish effective systems
When I ask many business owners why they spend so much time working on their business out-of-hours, one of the most common responses I receive is that they want to stay on top of everything that is happening at their business.
Without a doubt, the ability to confidently remove yourself from your business without the fear that everything will fall apart in your absence is the mark of a good business owner. If you, the business owner, are not required to be on-call for the day-to-day operation of your business then you suddenly have much more free time which you can occupy living the lifestyle you desire.
Delegation and designing effective systems are key to achieving this. With well-designed systems, you no longer need to be present every minute.
Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx said it much more elegantly than I ever could: “Systemise the routine. Humanise the exceptions.”
Start by identifying the routine tasks that occur every day, week or month.
Follow up by systemising the daily tasks first, and work your way up.
Set policy (what we MUST do), establish procedure (WHO must do WHAT and WHEN), set processes (HOW we must do it) and identify props (what do we NEED to carry out our system).
And of course, ensure that you have good people working for you to look after the “exceptions.”
Many times, I have helped clients reclaim their time by looking at their established systems and helping to optimise and improve their systems so their business can run by itself. You can read about some of those success stories in a previous blog, which you can read here.
Save Time, Earn More
Working long hours and trying to make more money is no fun. Moreover, a business owner who is working 80-hour weeks is not being the best business owner they can be.
It can be hard breaking out of a rut like this. If you need help doing so, call me today at 0419 352 540 and I’ll help you live the lifestyle that you’ve dreamt of.