There are a lot of things that you can do to prepare for the future of your business. Even if you’ve ever read an article about what we’ll face in the next year or decade, surprises always come up. There will always be another challenge over the next hill. But as they say, you don’t want to live with a wreck; you want to drive the truck.
You don’t want to be a slave to your business; you want it to work for you, not against you. Your clients and employees are important, but you don’t want your business to be just about someone else’s needs; you want it to be about yours too.
And that’s what this talk is all about: How do we take back control of our businesses by reimagining our roles in them and making sure that we are making meaningful contributions at every stage of their(our business) lives?
2. Make Your Business Work for You
What does it mean to make your business work for you?
Guess what… you get to craft your own answer to this question. Have you thought about it? I bet you have but have you thought long and hard about it? Have you put those thoughts onto paper or in your digital notes? I’ll share my opinion on what it means to make your business work for you at the end.
I’m talking about your business and your life. Sure, you can waste your life away running your home improvement or other small business while your dreams of the good life slowly fade away and your wife and kids forget what you look like. But why would anyone in their right mind accept that? It sounds ridiculous, right? So why do so many business owners end up doing that very thing?
They get caught in the small business success trap that I call Contractor Prison.
How do you make your business work for you?
It starts by taking responsibility. It seems like every struggling small business owner I talk to has a bag of 1000 excuses for his situation. These excuses always place blame on some circumstance outside of their control. The reality is that there is no one else who can take responsibility except you. It’s up to you alone.
You need to take responsibility for everything that happens in your company and you have to know what you’re doing with your time as a leader. A leader, yes, it’s time to stop being the top producer in your company and be the leader. Let go of blame and shame and learn how to set boundaries for yourself so that you can focus on what really matters — leading. Empower your team with systems so they can serve your customers and get work done. This way you can focus on leading and developing your own leadership skills, business skills, improving your health and relationships, and taking a much-deserved vacation.
3. Free Time
Business owners often get caught up in the trap of becoming slaves to their businesses. It’s easy to fall into the trap if you focus on “doing the thing” that your business does. You need to stop doing that.
You have to take back control of your business so you can move forward with it and lead a more inspiring and rewarding life.
Your job as the leader of your company is to direct people and resources for results.
As you raise up and empower people, you will earn time back. You can use this time to further improve the business and your life, but it is a tricky balance.
You have to take time for the things you love and you have to do them well. You have to start by asking yourself questions like:
- What does my business do well?
- What is important?
- What are my strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities?
- Where do I need to grow as a leader?
- What business skills do I need to develop?
- Who do I need to meet that can help me leapfrog the learning curve?
- What area of my life is on life support?
Answering these questions is a great way to determine how you should spend your newly found free time.
Take yourself out of the business and take a step back. You could just do nothing and wake up one day and realize that your business is taking over your life, not vice versa.
Get more free time by empowering others
If you want other people to work hard, paint a clear picture of what success looks like and let them use their creativity to get results. Then reward them.
If you want other people to be happy, then put them in roles that match their giftings instead of forcing them into doing things they don’t like to do or don’t want to do.
If you want other people to get ahead in life, then invest in systems and education that help them get ahead instead of forcing them into working late nights.
If you want other people to succeed, then provide opportunities for them to succeed instead of trying to force opportunities on them. There is a motivational difference.
Take your time now so that one day these things will become true for you too.
4. Reimagine Your Relationship with Your Business
The world has evolved in ways that no one could have predicted. It has become more complex, volatile, and unpredictable than ever, and it’s this unpredictability that makes it so difficult for business owners to see a better future.
The world is a battleground where every person and every organization is fighting for their own survival. It’s too easy for business owners to get caught in the survival trap. The survival trap is a powerful limiting mindset.
Rather than seeing yourself as a personal producer, envision yourself as an amazing leader that is leading and directing a team of people who are following a systematic way of doing things. A systematic way that returns reliable results for them, for your client, and for you.
5. The End Result – You’re the Boss, Not Your Business
You don’t become a leader by working with your nose to the grindstone.
The world we live in today is one of the most complex and chaotic environments ever known to man. It’s not just the environment that is confusing, but it’s your role as a leader that can make all the difference. The roles for everyone at your organization must be clear. You might not be leading, but you are still responsible for it all. So now is the time to become a student of leadership and start leading today.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the trap of being a slave to your business. Take back control of your business today and help others take control of their own lives tomorrow.
Ok, so I promised to share with you my opinion on what it means to make your business work for you, so here goes:
Your business is working for you when:
- You are not involved in the daily work that the company does. Not selling, not managing, not doing the books.
- You have management and/or leaders that run the day-to-day operations of the company, and they are accountable to you for results.
- When someone is out sick, you are not the one who has to fill in for them.
- Your business is providing you with the money you need to support your desired lifestyle.
- You can come and go as you please.
- You have the time, money, and freedom to live your life the way you want to.
To make your business work for you, it’s important that the day-to-day operations are handled by someone else. If there is a need for you to get involved in daily operational tasks, then look at how this can be eliminated so that your time and attention are not divided. With clear roles and responsibilities set out upfront — including what would happen if an employee were absent or ill — you will find yourself with more free time than ever before. It’s also crucial that all of these expectations are clearly communicated from the beginning so everyone knows their role without any confusion about their goals and objectives. The end result? You’re the boss!