You’re tired. You’re frustrated. You’ve been working seven days a week for you don’t know how long, trying to keep your business going. Kids’ baseball games and recitals, time with your significant other, time for you, all put by the wayside while you do everything in your power to “keep the shop open.”
And it’s draining you of joy, vigor, and sanity.
How did you get here?
Your business started as a dream and now it’s become a nightmare. Where did it go wrong?
It probably seems like an impossible question to answer. You more than likely feel as if the things preventing you from having the freedom you desire are out of your control. It’s other people, you see: clients, customers, employees, vendors. You’re just caught in the unrelenting river current of their needs and the enterprise’s operations. At least that’s the belief.
To add insult to injury, the hard work and sacrifice you’re putting in seems to, at most, plateau your business or, at worst, see it veering in the wrong directions.
I have witnessed this situation as a consultant, time and again, and I’ve experienced it myself. A business owner so weighed down by the task of keeping a company afloat that all they want to do is sell it and forget it ever happened. Heck, they’ll even give it away for nothing at that point.
Fortunately, there’s another way out that doesn’t involve burning it all down.
The solution to this, all this, is changing your time mindset.
What does that mean? To put it simply, as owner and operator of your business, your foremost priority is the overall wellbeing of the business. Not a portion of the business, not one or two departments, but the entire entity.
There are, what I call, $100 tasks and $1,000 tasks. $100 tasks anyone can do. They’re important because they are the part of the daily machine that keeps the business going. Yet too many business owners – the leaders – take on these $100 tasks, either because they enjoy them or they’re concerned about them or they don’t know how to delegate.
As the leader of your organization, you must focus on the $1,000 tasks. These are the actions that prompt success, growth, and expansions for a company. This, as the head of your business, is your purview and, in fact, your purpose. Leave the $100 tasks to your employees and staff. That’s what they’re there for.
Focus on the right priorities. That includes not only the business side of things, but your personal life. Command of the former will create happiness in the latter.
Start with a crucial exercise. It’s called Rise-and-Assign.
Rise-and-Assign is a process that’s a take on the personal SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), and related to the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) used at the organizational level. I apply this method for every client.
First thing: document every single task you do for two weeks. It doesn’t matter how big or small. Keep a notebook by your side and record everything you do for the business (could be buying office supplies, setting an appointment, closing with a new client, any and all of it). Doing that for fourteen days gives a comprehensive, detailed picture of your process.
Once we have this data, we categorize. There are four categories each business activity will be placed under.
The first category is everything you did that you both LOVE and are GREAT at.
The second category is everything you did that you LIKE and are GOOD at.
Category three is everything you did that you DON’T LIKE but are GOOD at.
And the fourth category is everything you did that you DON’T LIKE and are NOT GOOD at.
Once we have our list, we analyze.
Most business owners spend little time in category four. Doing something you don’t have your heart in, and are not particularly good at anyway, is simply a waste of your and the company’s time.
Category three features activities that have to get done, but nobody knows how. What ends up happening is the business owner, you, are stuck doing them because if you don’t, the company will falter and fold. This may be the most dangerous category. The tasks often build up, you wind up swimming in the workload, and your physical and mental health is ravaged over time.
Now the second category is a bit more favorable, but will still end up hurting a business. These are activities that someone else could do, probably better, but you do them because you enjoy them. That spirit is wonderful, and it may be the type of work that made you commit to your field in the first place. The potential problem is that you fall in love with these tasks too much, taking your focus away from where it needs to be: the bigger picture of the company.
Now, category one is where business owners should spend most of their time. It’s where they are doing activities they’re both great at and love doing. This is where you need to live. Make this category your home away from home. There is no risk with this approach because this is where a business owner’s superpower lies.
Once this has all been sorted out, there’s one thing to do: delegate every category except category one. Commit to that and you will see the results for yourself.
You can repeat the Rise-and-Assign with everyone in your company. When each member of a collective knows what has to be done and who should ideally work on what, that’s when a business is set up to thrive.
And it’s when business owners get their time, their life, and their peace-of-mind back.