I’m willing to bet that when you started or bought the business you’re running, medicine you had a vision – and it didn’t include working 60 hours a week just to keep up. But many small business owners are doing just that. Are you one of them?
An industrial psychologist shadowed a busy executive at work for two days. Each night this executive left his office late, carrying two briefcases stuffed full of paperwork he intended to finish at home. Early each morning he returned to the office with the same two briefcases – unopened.
I have seen hundreds if not thousands business owners work long hours because the business is not working, the system is not in place, the employees cause more problem than providing solutions to the business. And no wonder lots of business owners feeling frustrated about their business and experiencing status quo. There is a saying that business is like a tree if it is not growing than it is a sign of dying.
When the industrial psychologist analyzed this executive’s daily routine in detail, he found that over 80% of the tasks that were keeping the executive so intensely busy could have been done, and possibly done better, by a subordinate. He was spending his time on tasks others could have done and micro-managing his employees.
Sound familiar? Are you spending valuable time each day doing work that could be delegated to an employee or outside contractor? Are you wasting time micro-managing your staff? These management habits are big barriers to the growth of your business.
Small business owners wear many hats, developing products and services, marketing, managing employees and keeping customers happy. It’s easy to get sucked into solving immediate problems, answering endless email and trying to make progress on your To Do list. But as the business grows, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for you to do both the hands-on, day-to-day management – call it the tactical work – and the goal setting and strategic work that will maintain business growth.
The executive described at the beginning of this article is a perfect example; he spent all his time on tactics, fighting fires instead of developing a strategy to keep fires from getting started in the first place.
Are you focused on doing the daily work instead of on growing your business and working “on” the business? You can be the business or you can run your business, but as your business expands, you can’t do both. And if you do both, this is when you lose focus, unable to keep track what are the priorities, what’s important and what’s less important.
How can you shift from being the business to running your business? Try this for starters:
When you start your day tomorrow, don’t look at your To Do list. Before you even check your email, make a NOT To Do list. That’s right; list all the things that you, as the owner of the business, should not be spending your time doing.
Now make a second list of the tasks and projects that will require or benefit from outside expert help.
Third, list the tasks or projects that only you, with your talents, brains and experience can do and want to do.