Can't Get Away From Your Business This Summer? Then Your People, Your Process or Your Profits Are Out of Whack!
I just got back from a vacation. My business didn't implode while I was away. There were a few days where I didn't even check email. I didn't take any calls. For the most part, I felt mentally at peace with being away.
Truth: I didn't take a vacation for the first three years I was in business. I worked every weekend and just about every holiday as well. It was awful, I was totally fried, and my family got way too used to doing things without me. When I finally did starting taking vacations again, they were "working" vacations, where I found myself crouched outside the hotel room door every morning frantically making calls so I still had revenue the next month. This was no way to take a vacation! It took five years, but I finally figured it out.
I didn't start a business so I could never be around or get away, in fact, I'd started a business so I could have more flexibility to have the kind of life I wanted. How did things get so screwed up and how did I fix them? It came down to three simple things that MUST be in alignment: people, process and profits.
1) People: You need to have quality support. It's absolutely critical if you ever expect to go away. You don't need a huge staff toiling away in an office while you're gone, in fact, that can create more problems. What you do need are quality, trustworthy, dependable people that know how to handle things in your absence. If you're a control freak that needs to have a hand in everything, this won't go well for you and you need a major mindset shift. You have to be able to delegate critical tasks that will keep your business running while you're gone. Make sure to have people to cover phones, new business inquiries and existing client inquiries.
2) Process: Do you have processes in place for handling prospects? For client work flow? For meeting deadlines? If you have processes in place, it makes it easy for everyone to know what is expected of them and when. If everything you do is reactionary, it makes it impossible to stick to a process. Do you let calls interrupt you all day long? Then you lack a process. Get control of your day, institute processes and getting away will be a piece of cake because you'll be clear about the critical areas that need to be covered on a daily basis to keep your business goingg.
3) Profits: This might go without saying, but if your business is not profitable, you probably don't feel good about taking a vacation. If you are not hitting revenue goals, take a look at why. Is something off in your marketing? Are you spending too much time on project delivery? Maybe you need to get out there and hustle up some new business. When's the last time you raised your prices? Have you cut some expenses? There are infinite ways to get more profits in the door. If you need ideas, talk to your business advisor, lawyer, accountant or business coach. Don't have any of these? Well, that's a huge problem right there!
In short, taking a vacation does not have to mean your business is on fire while you're gone. With well thought out strategies around people, process and profits, you can go away worry free and when you come back, feel refreshed and even plan your next vacation!
Do You Wish There Was a Clear, Simple Formula to Starting A Business That Made It Easy to Get Profitable and Protect Your Assets? Take the Stress Out of Start-Up With My 3 Simple Steps.
I started my first business in my kitchen 8 years ago. It seemed like there was just so much information out there, plus the well-meaning advice of family and friends, that I just had no idea what to do first. Did I start an LLC? Did I need to get a bank loan? Should I hire people to help me? Would I lose my house if I failed? Everyone and their brother had a different opinion.
I know how frustrating starting a business can be. After owning several businesses over the last 8 years, and now having helped hundreds of entrepreneurs through my business law practice, I’ve developed a clear, simple, 3 step framework to give new business owners the best chance at a profitable business that protects their assets.
Today, I'm launching a free training that will reveal the three simple steps I walk my start up clients through that makes sense of all the start-up noise. If you'd like to grab a spot on this exclusive training, you can register HERE.
I help a lot of corporate refugees who are type A, super go-getter people that have been very successful in a career job working for someone else. Despite their success, they still feel like something is missing and over time, become resentful that their skills, talents and some of the best years of their life are spent making someone else rich. They yearn to build something of value for themselves and have flexibility to spend time with their family and cultivate hobbies. One day, the light bulb goes off and they decide to start their own business.
Because they've been super successful in their job, they are excellent at what they do. They assume this will translate to being a successful business owner. Often, they are lacking three critical skills that would lead to business success. Without these skills, they are doomed to fail. What are these skills?
1) Ability to Always See the Big Picture. Folks coming from a corporate job tend to be relentlessly focused on details. While the ability to focus on details is certainly necessary for a successful business, often people can't see the forest through the trees. They get so wrapped in minutiae of EVERYTHING, from their business name, to logo colors, to the font on their proposals, that they fail to focus on the important parts of starting a business, mainly, STARTING. Their drive for perfection paralyzes and prevents them from taking the most important actions to getting the ball rolling, namely just getting out there and making sales.
2) Delegate. This is a tough lesson for many to learn. Those that have achieved success in other areas of their life want to control every detail. They've been burned by inept team members in the past. Used to playing office politics and living under an imposed corporate hierarchy, they don't trust others to complete what they themselves think they can do better. As a business owner, this behavior is most likely to lead to failure, if not just a painful life as a business owner. Any successful business will eventually require help from others to run. The owner needs to be able to delegate tasks to others. Beyond just delegating the tasks, the owner needs to trust others to complete the tasks well, and realize that just because someone does something a bit differently than you might have done it, the important things is that it's done. This skill can be acquired with the proper training and systems in place, but many business owners are reluctant to delegate any tasks to begin with.
3) Mindset. I tell all of my clients being in business is all about mindset and managing your thoughts. It's a roller coaster of ups and downs and you have to be able to stay steady in the face of uncertainty. Many people focus so much on developing sales skills, marketing prowess and financial savvy, but they neglect mindset. Eventually, their emotions run amok and that can lead to bad decisions. Owners need to be able to keep a clear head and while listening to the gut can serve one well, it doesn't mean indulging every wild emotion that arises.
If you've ever thought about leaving your corporate life behind and striking out on your own, a successful career working for someone else doesn't always translate to being a successful business owner. With an open mind and a willingness to adapt, you'll have a much better shot at success.
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way.