Whilst most of my coaching clients want to grow their business or to get a better work life balance we have two who are preparing their businesses for sale and preparing themselves for the move into retirement (realistically semi-retirement because entrepreneurs never quite stop).
I did have four such clients but two of them liked the reorganised business so much that they decided that they didn’t want to leave after all.
If your business works independently of you it is not just easier to sell but it will also allow you to reduce your hours without impacting your profitability. Most of this is done by replacing the business owner with systems. Or with documented procedures that can be delegated, outsourced or even automated.
Whatever your plans for your business please don’t suffer in silence as we have a selection of group coaching programmes and individual coaching too.
It’s been hard through lockdown when there aren’t many fun things to do when you do manage to take time off but it’s a good discipline to build rest time into your week and essential to help you produce better quality work. While you might feel “heroic” right now, in a short time you’ll be burnt out from working 80 hour weeks.
Look for displacement activities so that your brain switches away from work. It’s why I take Spanish lessons.
Look for restful activities. I love to read in a bubbly bath. Either mind improving business books or mind numbing chick lit.
What sort of activities do you usually do to relax and how has that changed during lockdown?
We’ve all seen shows where the hero is granted three wishes and they don’t quite get what they had in mind. And the same goes for setting targets.
I used to work in supermarkets to fund my way through uni. One of these was in central London and with so many customers living close to the store they often took trolleys all the way home and didn’t bother to return them.
About once a month the trolley boys would be asked to come in on a Sunday and go further afield to collect them in return for £5 per trolley. Not surprisingly, on the Saturday afternoon they would pay local kids to ‘hide’ some trolleys in a pre-agreed location for £1 each. So the store ended up paying for trolleys that were never ‘lost’ and the trolley boys made £4-5 per trolley that they ‘found’.
We must always be careful when setting targets that they prompt the desired behaviour.
In order to understand both sides of an argument I need to ask questions. And I make my kids do the same. Those of you who follow me on social media may have noticed that I have strong views on Brexit but I still want my kids to think for themselves so, even back in 2016, I challenged them to give me 3 arguments for and against leaving.
As business owners we often have to make fast decisions based on incomplete information but it is still important to look at the information that we have and to weigh up the alternatives. Throughout the pandemic and lockdowns businesses have been forced to pivot faster than the 32 fouettés in Swan Lake but pivots and fouettés are both about turning on the spot.
We run monthly Flyby sessions where business owners (accountants and others) can pop in to update their action plans monthly, quarterly or whenever, to that they are moving forwards rather than turning on the spot. It’s much more short term than our full Strategic Planning Day but it will keep you on track for the next month or quarter to ensure that you make real progress.
Small business owners usually do a mixture of working on and in their business. It’s very easy to get sucked into working IN your business to generate profits and income today but it is also essential to work ON your business to grow and generate future profits.
So how do we get the balance right?
I use a default diary to try and ensure that I get a good balance at the planning stage.
Monday: ON catch up on admin, clear my inbox, follow up leads. Tuesday: IN Write, rehearse and record webinars and talks for the speaking and training parts of my business. Wednesday: IN Minerva Accountants work. Thursday: ON/IN Marketing and content writing for myself and third parties as I write content and articles for fintechs and accountants. Friday: IN/ON Individual and group coaching for my various online programmes and then my own business development time, implementing ideas from books, webinars and conferences that I have attended.
Of course, in the real world, it isn’t easy to stick to this but having it in my diary in the first place means that I am more likely to move my work slots around than to cancel them completely.
On a Friday afternoon I like to plan out any remaining work in my diary so that I can hit the ground running on a Monday morning.
In a small business it isn’t always possible to provide a full career path for all your team. Even if you are growing your growth rate may not be the same as that of each individual employee.
So what can you do when a member of staff asks for more responsibility, a promotion and/or a pay rise?
Decide whether they are ready to take the step up with your support
Check your business plan to see if it is possible to accelerate any recruitment or restructuring that you had planned
Decide whether you want to keep the individual in your organisation by adapting your plan to include them
If you can’t accommodate their needs then switch your role to one of career mentor and help them to move on to the most suitable role outside your organisation.
It’s always sad to lose a good member of the team but sometimes their needs are no longer compatible with those of the business and you need to go your separate ways rather than force them to stay and become frustrated.