Jackie arrived at work this morning two full hours before her business opened. She wanted to review yesterday’s sales, work on payroll, and answer her email. But before she even got settled in her office, things started needing her attention. The storage room was a mess. Someone couldn’t find their time card. The credit card machine wouldn’t connect.
As the day progressed, it only got worse. She had planned on meeting with her clients to make sure they were satisfied with their services. But instead she found herself running ragged all day long. Before she knew it, it was after close and she couldn’t remember if she had eaten anything all day.
Finally, she dragged herself home. But then, she had to spend even more hours working on the books. And, of course she still had to answer those emails. All while knowing that she’s going to wake up tomorrow to do it all over again.
Does that story sound familiar? I bet it does. Because even though we all know that it’s important not to get too lost in our businesses, it’s so easy to fall into that trap. You keep doing the thing that’s right in front of you, and before you know it, that’s all that you’re doing. And even though you know that you’re leaving important things undone. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!
And you’re exhausted. You’ve spent all your energy spinning your wheels and not even getting anything done! Your business is killing you!
Would you believe me if I told you there is a better way? It’s not just important that you find a way to avoid burn out. It’s vital to lasting success.
Come on, if you were living like Jackie, would you consider that successful? Do you think that she dreamed about putting in 16 hour days? Of not being able to take a vacation because the business will fall apart without her? I bet she didn’t, so let’s see if we can help her find something better.
How did it come to this?
How did your businesses come to take over your life? Well, the most obvious answer is that you didn’t even notice it happening. Working on those little tasks seems so important, you never realized that that was all you were doing. By the time you looked up, you were so far into the woods, you didn’t even know how you got there.
Or, you never thought about how important it is. When someone knocks on the door of your office needing something, the obvious answer is to help them. But, every time you get up, you’re making a choice to step away from something that will build your business. That’s much more important than rebooting the credit card machine.
I suspect that the most common reason, though, is that no one else is going to take care of that stuff. Someone’s got to do it. When your employee knocks on your office door needing help, you’re not going to tell her to stuff it. Even if you really want to. But, not having the help doesn’t make your time any less valuable. If you want to build your business, you need to make sure that you’re focusing on the right things.
Why should you put a stop to it?
Okay, so things aren’t great. But what are you missing out on? Well, there are some pretty important things, especially if you want your business to grow. If you don’t look up from the day-to-day, you’ll never be able to give your business guidance. How can you know what you need to do to reach your goals, if you don’t know where you’re going?
Another reason is to know how your business is doing. If you’re only working on the small stuff, it’s easy to lose sight of the big stuff. It’s imperative that you take time to look over how your business is faring. Is it bringing in more money than it did last year? If not, why? It’s so easy to get lost fighting fires and not even realize that the whole place is burning down around you.
And sure, it’s nice to know how your business is doing, but that’s not what really matters, right? You really care about how your business is doing compared to all the other businesses out there. How can you know that, if you’re always neck deep in bills and helping people find things?
How do you stop it?
Obviously, you’re not going to fix this overnight, but I’m going to outline the basic steps you’ll need to take. I think you’ll be surprised to learn that they’re pretty simple. The hardest part is actually doing it.
The first step is to make it a priority. Everyday, you make time for certain things. You find time to take a shower, to eat meals, to brush your teeth. Those things are important to you, so they get done…hopefully. Your business is the same. What do you make time for? Those are the the things that are most important to you. But, other things need to get done, too. And the way they get done is by making time to do them. It isn’t easy to change your priorities, but the benefits you’ll get will be well worth the effort.
Also, you need to realize that you are the most valuable asset that your business has. Yes, YOU. You are the lifeblood of your business. If you are so burnt out that you can’t work on it, no one else is going to swoop in and save you. Your absolute highest priority needs to be taking care of yourself, so that you can take care of your business. Then, you will be able to make sure that the things that you need to do to grow your business remain a priority.
Finally, if you are your business’s most valuable asset, then your time is your business’s most valuable commodity. Every minute of your time is precious. You should only do things that only you can do. Can someone else clean the bathrooms, check inventory, open the shop? Could they if you hired someone or trained someone? Then get on that. You need to spend your precious time on things that will grow your business.
What will you get out of it?
First of all, you’ll be more relaxed. You’ll be both more pleasant to be around and more productive in how you spend your time. You will have shorter days, because you’ll make getting a good night’s sleep a priority. And, you’ll be improving yourself by taking classes or learning new ways to grow your business. And you’ll even be able to take a day off every now and then.
Your business will also improve. Rather than spinning your wheels all the time, you will be building your business. Your energy will go toward positive fruitful endeavors, and your business will thrive. And, you’ll be surprised at how much drama disappears almost overnight. Empowering your employees to handle issues themselves often means the issues go away entirely.
And finally, your clients will be happier. They will walk into a business that is thriving, rather than one where the owner is running ragged all the time. They will sense that. Plus, you’ll now have time to talk to them and make sure they are satisfied. They will be excited to spend money in a business that is growing.
Seeing it in practice
Was Jackie able to find herself a better life? Well, she took a step back. She hired a manager to help her with the day-to-day stuff. She trained the manager to be able to handle all the basic tasks on his own, and then she took some time for herself. She got a massage and a pedicure, and felt human again. When she came back to the business she made sure to prioritize her time. She only handled the high level tasks that required her input. And, she was able to focus on steering her business toward the goals that she set. She went from being miserable every single day to loving her life, by making a few simple changes. Her business, her clients, and her family are all happier with the changes, and she is now loving life. Do you think that you could do the same?
Is your bookkeeping is one of the things that you are spending too much of your precious time on? Check out my free report: 8 Ways to Spend Less Time but have Better Bookkeeping. Or, if you’re ready to have someone take that over for you, let’s schedule a call to discuss how I can help you keep your serenity.