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It’s now almost the end of January and most of us are back at work, feeling refreshed and reenergised after the holidays. We’ve reflected on where we’re at with our businesses and have set some goals for the new year.
The Christmas break, though, is also a time when many business owners realise just how dependent their company is on them being at work or on call. For many, there is no break. They may escape to the holiday home, but the laptop gets packed and the phone is always on. They return to the office with those best laid plans to relax, brainstorm and map out the year still packed away.
The key to running a healthy business is to also maintain a healthy you
Do some research into the regular habits of successful people and you’ll find lists that include regular physical exercise, surrounding yourself with positive people, broadening your reading list, setting time aside for planning, journaling, gratitude practices, mindfulness, unplugging from devices … and on and on.
None of them actually tell you to work more hours of the day or avoid taking annual leave.
“But I can’t take time off” I hear you saying. The business relies too heavily on you being there. No one does things as well as you do. Perhaps. But perhaps there are ways to change that, and to create more growth in your business while avoiding the burnout that often leads to poor decision making and relationship friction (both personal and professional).
It may sound obvious, but the easiest way to free up time in your business is to automate as many tasks as possible. Look into apps and software that can you can use to schedule much of your admin work and marketing, including email newsletters, blogs and social media posts.
If you’re still using Microsoft Excel for things like database management, budgeting or invoice tracking, look into CRM systems and workflow management software – they’re easier to use than you might think. Begin by taking a good look at where you’re spending your time and what processes are taking longer than they should.
Once you’ve reviewed how you spend your time, be honest about which tasks you should and shouldn’t be doing. One of the most common reasons people don’t delegate enough is a lack of trust. There is a fear that jobs won’t get done (or done as well as you can do them). And a worry that orders or customers will be lost if control is relinquished to someone else.
This is where proper planning comes into play. As a business owner or manager, you know exactly how leads are generated and converted into sales, how orders get processed, and how customer relationships are nurtured and leveraged. Look into business practices and training systems that the organisation can implement to ensure that this knowledge is shared and quality is maintained. With the right tools, you can share the workload, review the status of projects to reduce the worry, and keep an eye on the opportunity pipeline to make sure the flow is moving as you need it to.
Build from the bottom up, rather than from the top down, for a stronger foundation from which to grow.
Sharing the workload and delegating properly does not mean simply telling people what to do and adding to their to-do lists. Collaborate, by definition, means working together (co-labor).
Stop, collaborate and listen. There are probably some juicy ideas out there amongst your team members. Give them the freedom to brainstorm, the opportunities to innovate, and the empowerment to try new things.
Have the right tools available for colleagues to work together on projects in real-time, with methods in place for you to see where specific jobs are at in the work flow.
When you started your business, you probably envisioned a day when you could stop doing the doing, and could enjoy the more strategic and creative side of your work. Find ways to automate, delegate and collaborate and you’ll find yourself getting closer to that day.
Need help getting your business healthy this year? Click here to find out more about how Roll makes services businesses like yours more efficient.