Want to grow your business? There’s a BIG problem.
Sooner or later, you’ll run out of time. It’s your biggest constraint.
I had a couple of coaching calls recently that went along these lines…
“I really wanted to get it done, but just couldn’t find the time.”
They had strong motivation, clear action plan and real commitment to get it done. Yet they didn’t make any impression in a week.
Both of these clients want to double their sales and profits in the next two years (and there’s plenty of potential).
But when we speak, there’s a common thread – they’ve been too busy – staff holidays, customers, problems: the normal chaos has stolen their time. Here’s what I told them to do…
If you don’t consciously think about the choices you’re making day to day, then by default you will sacrifice growth so you can stay on top of business-as-usual.
Which means you have no space for growth, more profit, more sales – in short – you have no time to get where you want – you’re stuck.
There’s a saying that you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. It’s the same with growing your business.
You have to break with something – old habits, jobs you’re doing right now, staff problems, difficult customers, and so on. Kill the chaos by deciding to kill it, and make space for working ON your business and achieving growth.
It’s been my experience that if you’re flat out running your business, or feel that you are, then a sacrifice is going to be necessary.
Here are three things you can sacrifice to achieve growth…
Delegate Something – Stop Doing Everything Yourself
Far too often, the owner of the business is involved in everything that’s going on. Sometimes they create work for themselves, in the belief that it’s important.
You have staff to do a job. If they’re not doing it right, systemise the work and train them properly, or replace them. Don’t take over their work, or micro-manage them. There’s a limit to how much work you can micro-manage. You need to grow yourself to be a bigger, better leader in order to grow a better business.
There’s another thing that happens if you delegate without giving real authority or building your team’s capability.
When staff come back to ask questions, don’t give them the answer, but make them figure out how to get the answer themselves by asking them questions (coaching). If you don’t do this, you’ll remain at the centre of every decision in the business, and delegation will never be truly effective.
The best symptom that this is happening in your business is that you’re constantly interrupted frequently by staff wanting answers. The staff you’ve recruited and the way they behave towards you is like a mirror, reflecting back the kind of manager and leader you are.
Effective leaders and good managers delegate work without it coming back, thanks to the loyal, motivated and effective team they’ve built.
Are you delegating everything you could?
2. Defer Something to Make Growth a High Priority
I work from home, and since we’re renovating an old cottage at the moment it can cause some awkward clashes of time with my business. As I write this, I’m sitting at the kitchen worktop, for example, because I’m not quite finished with redecorating my office. I’ve sacrificed where and how I work in order to get my office sorted out.
I could have carried on forever without sorting out my office. There’s lots in my business to keep me busy, so there will never be a convenient time to do the refurbishment. But it’s an unsightly mess and Julie doesn’t like it! So, I’ve had to make it a priority. It’s not a growth task, but it illustrates a point. I have sacrificed convenience in order to get the job done. It’s a real pain, but once it’s done, life will be better.
There is rarely a convenient gap in your schedule to build in growth. Sometimes you have to sacrifice something else. What you’re willing to sacrifice and for how long often determines the success you will achieve.
So for example, I’m a shareholder in several businesses, and one way I make time to work on those alongside coaching clients is to reduce the number of clients I work with.
While this does reduce my revenues in the short term, it has given me space to grow my other interests. Short-term sacrifice for medium-term massive growth is a price worth paying.
What can you defer or sacrifice to give you time to make your business grow?
3. Work Harder – Put In More Effort To Reap The Reward
From time to time I’ll meet a business owner who wants to make growth happen without actually putting in any extra effort. They tell me that successful business owners don’t work harder, they work smarter.
At the start, working long hours (and even stupidly long hours, if you’re young enough) can play a huge part in your success. You out-work your competition with time invested. It’s not fashionable to say it, of course, in this age of lifestyle businesses. But it’s true.
Read the biographies of any successful entrepreneur and you’ll see that long hours have played a part somewhere in their journey.
If you’re thinking that you can cruise in to work at 9am and leave again at 5pm, you’re probably not going to like this.
Start an hour or two earlier a few times a week. Get into work before everybody else for you silent, quality time without distractions.
Don’t open your email when you arrive – wait until your normal start time for that. Instead, get to work on the stuff that will grow your business.
Learning the discipline of focus helps you to get more done towards growing your business in that first hour or two than you might normally achieve in a whole week.
But it requires dedication and commitment. Achieving it once or twice is easy with enthusiasm, but once the initial optimism of starting something new wears off, you’ve got to rely upon discipline and self-control to keep showing up early every day to get the work done.
Of course, once you’ve built the systems and procedures that make your business run smoothly, once you’ve recruited and trained a great team to work for you, and once you’ve figured out brilliant marketing that generates more leads than you can handle, then you might choose to work a few less hours a week.
You don’t earn interest without making an investment first – and in this case, it’s your time that has to be invested.
On the other hand, sometimes people are working so many hours that they lose all perspective (like one of the clients I spoke to last week). Putting in more hours for people in that situation is not the answer – in fact, it’s the opposite.
If you’re already working a 55+ hour week, you need to look at sacrificing some of the stuff you do, or delegating it to other people, so that you’ve got quality time and are properly rested in order to grow your business.
If you’re not working on top form, you’ll not do your best work, which is what you need for growth.
Do You Really Want To Grow Your Business?
There’s a lot of stuff written about the importance of work-life balance and it’s mostly rubbish.
The balance you strike between work and personal life is a choice. And that decision is yours alone to make.
If you want to grow a substantial business, you can’t cruise your way into it.
You’ve got to put in the effort and build it.
If you want the lifestyle, exotic holidays, fast cars and recognition from building a successful business, you’ve got to earn it. Or win the lottery.
There’s a lot better odds of building a business, but buying a ticket for the lottery each week is easy. Depends how much you really want it…