How to Get your Life Back as a Business Owner
As a small business owner, do you know how to change your business and get your life back? I’ve seen it way too often, Entrepreneurs working too many hours, trying to do it all themselves and not delegating. Or micro managing because they don’t trust their team to do the task, or instead they’ll just do something themselves as they think it’ll take too long to show someone else.
Then they wonder why they never have enough hours in the week to finish their tasks, and are not happy with their work/life balance. Entrepreneurs often need to start out wearing many hats and make all of the critical decisions in their company. As the company grows and the number of decisions to be made increases, they tend to only let go of those decisions they see as non-critical. This forces their direct reports to continually bring issues and decisions to their boss’s door.
So, if you find yourself in a similar situation then lets look at some simple tips that will free your workload and help to get your life back.
Learn to Delegate more
Probably the most effective method for business owners to reduce their workload is to delegate to their management team. However, this is easier said that done and small business owners find it difficult to let go of the control. If you do not show trust in your employees then you will always be trapped in the business. Learning this, and more importantly having the patience to persevere with it, will have a huge positive impact on the success of your business, and time.
By delegating to your direct reports you will empower your team, which will provide a feeling of value within your team. This is key to retaining good employees and their commitment to your business. It also lets your team know that you trust them and in turn they will be more loyal and more productive.
Everyone needs a little direction in their life, and more so in their work life. Therefore you should set a clear strategy for the business and get buy in from your team and all employees. Holding several strategy workshops with your key employees and getting their input from the outset will make them more committed. Your team will feel valued for being allowed to set the strategy and will take their role a lot more seriously.
Once everyone has a clear understanding of the strategy, its time to set clear job responsibilities and objectives for all of your team. Let them know exactly what is expected of them and let them repeat this to you so that it is crystal clear. Making people accountable provides more ownership for the employee, but also adds some healthy pressure, as they know that there can be no excuses. This often results in improved performance with deadlines met. You’re not trying to catch them out, you are trying to help them develop so let them make mistakes and do not interfere too much.
Set KPI’s and monitor these every month with your team. Let your team tell you how they are performing against the KPI’s as it will make them more alert and committed to actually completing the objectives successfully. Be careful to only focus on the high level elements of the business (i.e. the key elements that are critical to the success of the business).
Now that you have delegated most of your actions, make sure that you spend no more than 20% of your time on the day-to-day activities. You should be focusing on the future strategy and growth of your business so that your team always have something to focus on.
Reward those who do the Work
Reward your employees based on results and be generous. Make sure you have a good structure in place so that you reward those who do the work. It’s not all about the money so look at other ways to incentivise your people. Employees are more incentivised by feeling valued and part of the success of the company.
Run the business from the balcony, and be very very vigilant that you do not step back into the business.
The final part to get that work/life balance is to set yourself non-work related objectives with deadlines. Set yourself some goals relating to fitness which will also improve your stress levels, and learn something new or visit somewhere new. Make yourself accountable to someone, perhaps a coach who will keep you focused on achieving these goals. By focusing on targets that are not only work related will automatically give you more ‘life’ balance.
If you are in the majority and complain about long work hours while failing to provide direction and delegate in a reasonable manner, guess who’s the problem? That’s right. YOU are the problem. Your people won’t step up unless you give them clear authority and assure them you don’t expect them to be perfect.
When I built my business, I fell into the same traps as many entrepreneurs and took on too many tasks and found it difficult to allocate time to other parts of my life. Then when I learned these simple methods to get my life back, not only did I enjoy more time and holidays, the business grew very quickly and very successfully (I’m now semi-retired). Nowadays, I often help business owners to get their work/life balance right, so if you’re in this position and would like some help then please do get in touch.
Best wishes and Good Vibes