Initially I chose a 25 hour working week in order to fit around my small kids. These days they’re teenagers and (in normal times) busy with their own lives but I still continue to work shorter hours because, as the advert says, I’m worth it. But it’s not just me who is worth it, we all deserve a decent work-life balance.
It’s up to you whether you structure your time into fewer days a week, or 5 shorter days, or any other work pattern you fancy. Personally I prefer shorter days because I notice myself getting less effective as the day goes on.
Writing my first book made it quite clear to me that I have peak creativity and mental energy for about two hours per day. This is the time for tricky jobs or the really good quality stuff that moves my business forwards.
After that I switch on to less demanding jobs, the bread and butter of what I do.
Finally I move to admin and emails.
I flex the time to suit myself and I particularly like to take time to have lunch with friends or for language or singing lessons. This leaves the evenings free to focus on family. At the moment I’m using the time to get out of the house in daylight hours to get some exercise and increase my mental wellbeing.
Next week I’ll write about how you prioritise the work you do. (Or, if you’d like a hand to build a business you love, just book a chat about how coaching can help https://calendly.com/hudsonbusiness/consultation )
Are they helpful or salesy?
Charlie runs my local garage. As it’s just 15 minutes walk away it’s a convenient place to get my MOT done each year. And every year Charlie, or one of his team, sends me a reminder a month before my MOT is due.
I know that it’s now possible to get an email reminder via the .gov.uk website but Charlie has been doing this for years.
That reminder is true customer service because it helps me to ensure that my car is safe and compliant.
That reminder is good marketing because Charlie knows that I will pick up the phone and book my MOT with him. And, whilst doing the MOT, he may pick up additional work. And, as I see him as my regular garage he’s the first person I think about when the Service light goes on in my car.
What can you do to genuinely help your clients that will also lead to a sale?
… with the help of a shareholders’ agreement.
A shareholders’ agreement is a bit like a pre-nuptial contract. I always encourage businesses with more than one director/shareholder to get one drawn up and, if they can’t afford the legal fees initially, to at least discuss and document the important parts.
It’s all very well going into business with a friend but I really want them to remain friends when the business has ended.
The agreement includes details of how the company should be run and how each director shareholder will be remunerated.
• What if one wants to work part time while the other is full time?
• What if one is out meeting and greeting and bringing in new clients while the other is in the back office fulfilling all the ‘work’ or operations of the business?
• What if one invests cash instead of labour?
• What if one has a long term illness and has to be carried in the business for a year?
It should also contain details of how the relationship should end.
• Can a minority shareholder be forced to sell out because the majority has found a buyer?
• Can a minority shareholder be tagged onto a sell out by the majority rather than be left with a partner they didn’t choose?
• Can shares be part of a divorce settlement so that a divorced spouse becomes involved in running the business?
• Can shares be inherited if one shareholder dies or will the company buy them back?
• How will the business be valued if one or more directors decide to go their separate ways?
• Can shares be sold to third parties or must they be offered to existing shareholders first?
If you don’t already have a shareholders’ agreement in place consider getting one drawn up now.
No matter what age you are it is still worth thinking about how you will save for your retirement. And I don’t just mean saving your teeth.
There are 3 main ways that your business can fund your retirement:
1. Increase value of business for sale
If you have a valuable business this can be sold at the point of retirement to fund your new lifestyle. Your business value will increase if it is highly systemised and not dependent on you.
2. Systemise your business for residual income
If your business is highly systemised you can step out of it or just reduce your hours and still have a generous income. Whilst we often coach accountants and business owners who want to sell up, two of them have been so pleased with the process that they have actually decided not to sell yet as the revamped business operates so smoothly and takes less of their time. It’s a bit like doing up your house for sale and then deciding that you like it so much that you won’t move after all.
3. Increase profits to invest elsewhere
Some businesses have limited sale value as they will always be dependent on the expertise of the owner. In this case it makes more sense to increase your profits to invest elsewhere. Your company can pay into a third party pension scheme or SIPP very tax efficiently or you may prefer to take your profits out now, pay the tax and invest in property.
Whichever way you choose to fund or retirement, and whether you use us to help you to improve your business or not, please remember to take care of your teeth.