To be successful in the new age of small business, you need to think about things in new ways, you need to do things in new ways, as well as say goodbye to habits and dogmas that no longer serve you.
One of the biggest concepts that needs to change is how you view work. No longer are you confined by corporate policies or expectations around the hours you work. Most business owners are paid for the end product, the services they provide, their expertise and their knowledge.
In order to continue to innovate and evolve in business, you need to understand why working more does not work for small business. Read the 5 reasons below:
1. It is not about working more or harder, it is about working smarter
The great American work ethic is defined by ‘hard work’, and in true American fashion, if a little is good, then more must be better! That’s not so in business.
Dedication, determination and consistency are important to being successful in small business – but working smarter means you get to your goals quicker with more resources, energy and brainpower to take things to the next level.
One of the biggest reasons businesses fail is because they physically reach a point where the business owner and their staff just can not work more. There are no more hours to work because the resource of time has been exhausted.
Working smarter is a key habit that creates scalability in your small business, which benefits your employees, your clients and your family. Scalability is the gateway to building a legacy that contributes and impacts everyone who touches your business. Scalability brings profits and freedom.
2. It is not about doing the work, it is about ensuring the work gets done
Most business owners start their business because they find that they were really good at their corporate careers, but want the freedom that entrepreneurship can bring.
You are used to doing the work, so it is really hard to let it go. It’s not surprising that you may find value in doing a ‘good job’ or by doing the work that ‘no one can do like me’. This is a trap that will forever limit your ability to grow and scale. Gone are the days where you can be successful in a silo.
While you are working on building the stability of predictable cash and clients in the business, you most likely will be doing the work of servicing those clients, while still carrying out the responsibilities of being the owner. This is what you do in this stage of business growth. When you reach cash stability, it is time to define how the work gets done so that you can work ‘on’ the business, not just ‘in’ the business.
In order to scale richly in your business, you’ll need to transition out of the ‘worker’ role in order to transition into the ‘manager’ role, and eventually transition into the true role as an entrepreneur leading an organization into profits.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss
3. Busyness does not make a good business
You can get a little lost in business to the point where you aren’t sure what to do next. Or sometimes, you know what to do – you just don’t want to. So you avoid it by getting caught up in the busyness of the business. Busyness is energy and time wasted on unimportant and non-urgent tasks that do not move the needle in your business.
As an employee, you are often rewarded when you ‘look busy’ – so you get really good at it. The average productivity of a working day is a mere 3 hours. What you are doing with the rest of your time matters. Your time is precious, spend it on revenue or result-oriented action. Scaling your business is knowing the difference between what there is to do and what needs to be done.
4. Hustle and Grind leads to Broke & Tired
“Hustle and Grind” makes for a great motivational poster and shareable quote, but hustling without clear goals and results, often leads to burnout. Women business owners have a special gift to take ‘Hustle and Grind’ to a whole other level, and not in a good way. When you spend every single moment working, you often lose your health, your joy and get lost in a circular loop that leads nowhere.
There’s also this ‘unspoken’ belief that you have to earn your way and pay your dues which drives many owners to ‘Hustle and Grind’. That creates a negative space that does not create success. ‘Inspired Action’ and the KISS method tend to produce more gains than ‘Hustle and Grind’. When in doubt, see #1.
Scaling your small business successfully means that there are time periods of intensity, launching and pushing – but they are periods. They are not meant to be the status quo. You are not a machine, you are a human.
“Balance isn’t something you achieve “someday.” – Nick Vujicic
5. All work and no play makes Jane a cranky girl
The most unhappy small business owners are the ones working the hardest. Their faces say it all – bags under their eyes, dull skin and cranky attitudes. Overworking and not enjoying life leads to resentment. The saying that, “Entrepreneurs give up working 40 hour jobs, so they can work 80 hours in their business”, is an unfortunate story for many business owners.
If you really want the freedom that can come along with owning your business, you need to live it from day one. You need to design your business to deliver that freedom. Waiting for ‘someday’ winds up becoming ‘never’ for many entrepreneurs because they can’t break the habit.
Positivity in a business owner is contagious. People want to be around it in whatever way they can. When you lead a more balanced life, you encourage others to do so as well. Think of it as an attractive form of marketing.
6. Even Formula 1 racers take pit stops
Learn to value the “in-between.” Ever wonder why you have your best ideas in the shower, or in the middle of the night? Chances are, that’s because you are not working. The biggest value you can have in the success of your small business is to solve problems. It is the inspired ideas, the simple solutions that come to you in these moments that drive you forward.
This also speaks to the fact that to be successful in business you need to take care of your physical and spiritual health, so when you do reach your finish line, there is enough of you left over to enjoy the success. Just like the racers, learn to take pit stops. Sometimes, in order to speed up, you need to slow down.
The more successful you are in your business, the more demands you have on your time. The greatest asset in your business becomes you. You need moments of rest, recovery and ‘in-between’ to allow your greatness to flourish.
You do not earn a gold star for ‘working more’ in business, yet so many business owners let busyness become their distraction of choice and wonder why they are not able to grow and scale their businesses.
The best businesses are often simple. The most successful businesses are singularly focused. The wealthiest people say no the most. These are the skills you need to be able to scale your business richly.