Do you remember when you first started your business? The excitement was overwhelming, and the adrenalin was flowing. The main thoughts that occupied your mind were around getting new business, and how to make ends meet.
But as your business grew, you realized that you now had another role – CEO! No one trained you for this role, and you had to learn by on-the-job training, and making mistakes. Most of us have a technical background and detest the administrative duties of running our business.
If you are like me, you have made some effort to get better at business management, but still find yourself caught up in the day-to-day details of running the business. As you grow, you bring in people to help you. Eventually, you may start to dread the monthly responsibilities that include dealing with people problems, disgruntled clients, and tax notices.
As a technical or creative person we believe we have to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the business in order to be successful. In his NY time best-selling book, The E-Myth revisited, Michael Gerber discusses why many business owners stop loving their work and business.
The technician suffering from an “Entrepreneurial Seizure” takes the work he loves to do and turns it into a job. The work that was born out of love becomes a chore, among a welter of other less familiar and less pleasant chores. Rather than maintaining its specialness, representing the unique skill the technician possesses and upon which he started the business, the work becomes trivialized, something to get through in order to make room for everything else that must be done.
What are the reasons that we stop loving our business? I believe it is because we are doing things every day that we don’t want to do, and are not good at. If you are a technical person like an engineer, accountant, or scientist, you may hate having to do business development. If you are a creative person that enjoys artistic work such as design and architecture, you may hate dealing with financial issues, holding people accountable, and evaluating reports.
They key to loving your business again is to do what you love doing, and remove the stress from your life. So how do you stop doing the things that you hate to do or are not good at? I follow Tony Robbins and he says to always start with the questions. The following are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you move towards a less challenging relationship with your business. I recommend you write down your answers to each one, which will help you move closer towards identifying and creating the business you do want to lead.
What do I love to do? The first thing that you need to determine is what you truly still love about your business. This might be clear, or it may be cloudy because of the stress of the daily grind.
What do I hate to do? Next you should identify all the aspects of your business that weigh you down, taking away your passion and interest. This should be easier to determine.
How can I outsource what I hate or am not good at? Some people are actually good at accounting, marketing, IT, and even taxes! Find talented people to help you manage and run the back office of your business and don’t stress out about it. This will allow you to focus on your true brilliance which will naturally make the company more money. Make a list of everything you do that someone else can do and start working towards finding the right resources to help you.
Many of us do not feel comfortable letting others have the key to our finances. The key to feeling confident in letting others handle the money is to put internal controls and safeguards in place so there is a separation of duties, and clear visibility and control over cash.
How can I stop doing the everyday technical work and focus on the clients? The true success of your business will be in working with clients, finding new business, and ensuring that the business is running effectively. If you are still doing technical work, your clients are probably being under-served. Focusing time and attention on your best clients can be satisfying, and ultimately ensure your firm’s success. Seeing happy clients will give you a newly invigorated feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
How can I save myself by improving systems and processes? Sometimes what really frustrates us in our businesses are the inefficiencies and bottlenecks that suck our time and make every administrative task take longer than it should. By looking at where you can increase efficiency in your projects and business management, through better internal processes and technology, you can start to get some of that valuable time back. You will also find that your employees will be happier and more effective at their jobs.
By asking the right questions that are focused on curing the pain you feel every day as a business leader, you can start to enjoy your work again, and fall back in love with your business. Make the commitment this year to make your work life fun again, and you will not only see more joy in your life, you will see a big uptick in your company’s bottom line.