A common problem that we have to address as business owners and/or business managers is whether our time will go toward running our business or growing our business. We only have so much time to put into our business while maintaining a sustainable quality of life. In early-stage businesses, growth is our only focus. As we move throughout the lifecycle of the business, we complicate growth with things like customers, accounting and taxes, logistics and inventory, and even employees – all of which take-up our valuable managerial cycles. So how do we decide where to focus?
Here are four steps that business owners and managers can take to achieve better balance in their management focus and to achieve better overall business results:
#1 – Establish a balanced schedule and stick to it. Having a balanced schedule means that you are making time to both run AND grow the business. If you have 8 hours in your day, then make sure at least 1 hour each day goes toward focusing on growth(the optimum level would be 2 or more hours, but 1 hour works for starters) while the rest of your day goes toward running the business. Your business will be open for most of the day, so business hours, in general, will comprise most of your time in operations (running the business).
Focusing on growth means everything from increasing brand awareness via social media and email or phone campaigns, to researching your next product line that will sustain growth into the upcoming seasons for your business. In general, it is best to do this outside the hours of operation (at least the ones for which you are responsible), so lean toward getting quiet time early in the morning, or late in the evening after the kids are asleep (where applicable) in order for your time to be the most effective. If this isn’t possible, then know when your slow periods are during the day – close the office door and get to work growing your business! If you take a lunch – use it! Grab a sandwich, turn on some music that gets the creative juices flowing and have at it.
If you are already doing this and still struggling, or you are trying to do this and can’t seem to get over the hump – See point # 2.
#2 – Have your numbers on-hand and know them by heart. Your financials (“numbers”) are your business playbook and the numbers can tell you what area(s) need(s) the most focus. They can also unlock secrets to faster ROI and to lowering expenses, but there is a large learning curve involved in cutting through the fog to see these answers on a P&L or Balance Sheet.
Many educational resources exist and there are tons of useful articles/infographics out there like this one, but most of these resources assume that you have well prepared financial statements at your disposal. If you have them, USE THEM!! If you can’t see what all the fuss is about, don’t stop looking at the financials. Do your homework and find out which metrics make your business tick.
If you don’t have financials that are easily accessed, then what? It’s time for a change! Automating financials these days is as inexpensive and easy as ever. Programs such as Quickbooks go for between $10 and $100 per month. They give your financials a professional look and feel and, most importantly, they automate the all-important reporting that you need to stay on-top of business performance. Additionally, there are loads of free online resources that can teach you how to use them successfully.
If you are already doing this and still struggling, or you are trying to do this and can’t seem to get over the hump – See point # 3.
#3 – Delegate and automate the routine. Most businesses have routines. Whether its cleaning, bookkeeping, making schedules, answering email, taking phone calls or running reports, each and every business has tasks that are frequently performed that can and should be automated in favor of spending time on growth. In other words, rather than spending time on routine tasks, automate the tasks or delegate them to someone else to do so that you may focus on how you can run and grow your business.
There are may ways to do this and, as we just discussed in point #2, software can help to do many of these things. For physical tasks, it can be a bit more challenging depending on the number of employees available to your business. In the end, if there are no others to do the tasks, this is where the business owner must be willing to double-down and elongate their day to fit the needs of the business. Over the long-haul, however, all business owners and managers must be aware of their work/life balance, as too-much-too-often can be stifling to the spirit of the business.
If you are already doing this and still struggling, or you are trying to do this and can’t seem to get over the hump – See point # 4 below.
#4 – Know when to ask for assistance. This definitely does not mean giving up! This only means that you need a couple of extra hands to get you over the hump. This can mean hiring part-time work to help out a couple of hours per day, seeking educational opportunities that help you to better understand your business (financials, technology, marketing or business operations), or even having someone come in on a consultative basis to help grade your business and infuse it with helpful ideas for achieving growth and/or better efficiency (more profit) on your current operations.
If you are already doing this and still struggling, or you are trying to do this and can’t seem to get over the hump – See the shameless plug for our company below. You were warned…
If you are struggling to run and/or grow, or you just want to learn about how to run your business more effectively – we are here to help.
Magnetic Innovations was founded on the belief that simplicity is the core element in providing sustainable value to customers. We understand that most businesses already have all the tools that they need to be successful and we can help them to bring that vision into a clearer focus by providing a unique analysis of their current business and then making recommendations for how to increase efficiency and achieve growth successfully. Our expertise covers a broad base of finance, marketing and business development with businesses ranging in size from Fortune 100 to locally owned startups. We have also participated in numerous business mergers and acquisitions and can show you the most effective ways to drive value whether you are running, buying or selling your business.
Visit us online at https://mic-llc.com/ or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we are a good fit for your business. Don’t worry – there is no obligation unless we both agree that we are a good fit for one another. We would love to hear from you!