Are You Running Your Business or Is It Running You?
Lots of entrepreneurs start their businesses because they want to make lots of money and have freedom. But the hard truth is, many of them are trapped by their business and can’t escape! This article will tell you if you are running your business or if it’s running you.
Is Your Business Running You?
When you first started your business do you remember how excited you were to be your own boss?
You dreamed of taking vacations, enjoying weekends off, not having to wake up at 4:30am to be at the gym for the first sessions of the day and never having a boss tell you what to do again!
Then reality hit. You were buried under the pressure of handling every problem, answering every call, replying to every email, doing payroll, marketing and training every session. The list goes on and on.
If that’s how you feel then I’ve got some bad news for you…
You’re Not Running Your Business, It’s Running You!
There is some good news though. Most entrepreneurs end up in this place and it’s not entirely bad. It means you’ve had at least some success because there is a lot going on in your business.
Unfortunately, it also means you let your systems and processes get out of control as you grew.
When you’re just starting out you have to wear all the hats in your business. You’re starting to bring in revenue and there’s not quite enough there to hire team members. The real trap is when you become “too busy” to optimize your processes and build a team!
Symptoms that you are not running your business and it’s running you:
- There’s never enough time to focus on strategy, marketing or other essentials to grow your business.
- The same problems keep coming up over and over again.
- The business can’t run without you there.
- Your team can’t make decisions on their own and always have to consult you.
If you have any or all of those symptoms, it’s time to take back control of your business. Here’s how to regain that control…
Slow Down, Take a Breath and Assess the Situation
Sometimes you need to slow down in order to speed up. It’ll seem counter-intuitive at first, but trust me, you need to step out of the chaos and evaluate your situation. All the ‘stuff’ you’ve got to do will be there when you come back 🙂
The first step is to get out of your business and give yourself time to think. Leave the gym, plan an hour or two in a location that’s calming to you and only take a pen and a notepad.
Once you’ve found your spot, take a couple of minutes to write down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for in your life or your business. Starting off this process with a positive outlook will get your brain prepared to focus on solutions rather than being stressed about the problems.
Now that you’ve expressed your gratitude it’s time to focus. Write down 3 things that ONLY YOU can do for your business. Yeah, yeah…you’re an entrepreneur so you’re going to think that you are the only one that can do everything, right?
You’re wrong! Stick to the things you’re best at and only you can do. Once you have those you have a list of your top priorities 🙂
Now list the top 3 things that you are doing but shouldn’t be as the business owner…
Take on Your Process Hit List
That list of the 3 things you shouldn’t be doing is where you need to focus. If they’re tasks that can be done for $15-20/hour or less then it’s probably time to outsource them.
Not every job in your business will require a full-time or even consistent part-time position. So don’t overlook leveraging technology or hiring a Virtual Assistant to do the job as needed. Some tasks on your hit list can be completely eliminated.
Is every task you have listed essential to your business, and do they generate revenue? If you’re familiar with Pareto’s Principle you know that 20% of your activities will produce 80% of the results. A good chunk of the other activities can be eliminated with little impact to your business.
You’ll want to make sure that every task or process is essential in your business before delegating, even to a Virtual Assistant. If not, you’ll just be wasting money and time.
Once you’ve identified what needs to stay, you can work on creating or optimizing the processes to make it easier to delegate. If you aren’t sure about the process, delegate to someone and let them know part of their role will be to create it.
Give Yourself Some Structure
Having a bit of structure in your daily and weekly routines will help you eliminate a lot of the stress and frustration that you’re feeling. There needs to be daily and weekly checkpoints for you to establish or re-establish your priorities.
Time management issues are usually a symptom of your lack of prioritization. If you know what’s most important and why it’s most important, then you’ll stay focused. Set a time daily to review your calendar and establish your priorities for the day. Stick to 2-3 priorities and you’ll have success. Any more and you’re bound to fail.
Personally I have two planning sessions a day, and they serve as bookends to ensure I stay on track.
The first thing I do when I sit down in my office is review my calendar to see what appointments and meetings are scheduled. This allows me to see what I need to be preparing for and how much time I have to work on other items.
I do my best to eliminate any excessive meetings but the nature of what I do requires a few a day between our team and customers. I’ll then block off time to prepare for those meetings, usually 10-30 minutes for each depending on the type of meeting/call.
Now I have my allotted time to work on other projects. This is when I review my project list, look at any upcoming deadlines and focus on any big objectives that we have for the quarter or year that need to be addressed. I’ll pick 2-3 things to get done for the day that keep me on track. Then I attack them with everything I’ve got so I can set myself up for success in the upcoming days.
Be conservative with what you can do and how quickly you can do it.
One trick to giving yourself structure is to be conservative with what you can do and how fast you can do it. You’ll almost always underestimate how long something will take and overestimate what you think you can get done.
At the end of the day I’ll evaluate my list and celebrate any wins that I had for the day. It’s always good to end on a high note, even if the day was a challenge. Then I’ll look at my calendar and make notes on the top 3 priorities for the next day.
Sometimes things come up overnight. That’s when I’ll use my morning prep sessions to re-evaluate and finalize my planning. This is also a great time to jot down any ideas you have floating around in your head. You can also button up any communications you need to send out for the day or reply to so that you’re not thinking about it the rest of the night.
Each week ensure that you’re meeting with your team to discuss your progress towards business goals, review your scorecard and talk about any challenges you’re facing or opportunities that you should evaluate.
A well run team meeting helps you keep your team updated but also allows your team the opportunity to keep YOU updated. If you’re a one person show then set aside 60 minutes each week to review your scorecard and solve some bigger issues you’re facing.
Simply adding in a little structure will reduce the stress, eliminate a lot of confusion and give you more clarity in your business.
Apply, Lather, Rinse, Repeat…
It’s likely that as your business grows you’ll be facing new and bigger challenges that will require more and more of your time. As the business owner it’s up to you to maintain control and ensure that you’re running a great business.
Don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking you’ve got it all figured out. That’s exactly when you’ll find yourself being run by your business all over again.
Consistently make time to step back, assess and take note of the situation. If it needs fixing you’ll know exactly what to do so that you regain control of running your business.
A Proven System For Freedom
If you want to take back control of your business and regain your freedom we’d love to help you out. Hundreds of business owners have worked with us to help them learn how to tap into their potential and reach their biggest goals.
Our FR Coaching Program will provide you with your very own Success Coach to help you become a High Performing Business Owner. It’s like having a personal trainer for your business!
Schedule a free discovery call to learn how we can help you reach your goals!