Small business owners work their asses off to build a successful company. However, have you ever thought about why you are working your tail off?
I was at a 1 Million Cups networking event and Elke Govertsen, the CEO of Mamalode, was one of the presenters. Elke gave a great presentation and I will provide the link to the video once it is posted. I think I wrote down three different quotes that Elke said in her presentation, but one really stood out. Elke said, "You know it's really easy to work your ass off for a life you didn't want."
Elke's words really hit home for me. I provide mentoring services for small business that want to grow to a new level. I meet owners who have worked tirelessly in their business only to come up short on their desired results. Many small business owners work their ass off only to produce lackluster results.
Don't work your ass off for a life you don't want.
Identify Your Why
I'm sure many of you have seen Simon Sinek's presentation "Start With Why." If you haven't seen Simon's video, take the time to watch it and identify your why.
The majority of small business owners truly do work their asses off in their business. However, few have identified the true why of why they work so hard. I call this work for the sake of work or busy being busy.
Business owners love to tell you how busy they are. They are too busy to meet with you or take your call. They are too busy to work on growing their business. They are too busy to handle their bookkeeping. Many business owners are too busy doing all the things that don't matter in their business, because they don't know why they are even in business.
Tip: Identify your truth: Why you are in business? And then make sure your team is on the same page.
Create Measurable Goals
So now you know why you are in business, but do you know what your goals are? Please don't say that one of your goals is to grow your business; that is much too vague. That means if I help you increase your bottom line by $1.00, I have accomplished your goal. A more specific goal that is measurable is, "I want to grow my net profit by 50% next year and then by at least 30% each subsequent year." That is a specific goal that can be measured.
Another great question I often get is, "Matt, here is my most recent P&L. Can you tell me if I'm doing well?" How the heck do I know? I don't know what your goals are. Not everybody's goals are based on the bottom line or sales revenue. Some people measure success in days off, hours worked, time spent with their family, and days spent fishing.
Tip: Identify measurable goals that support your why.
Build a Team
One way to not work your ass off to the point of burnout is to build a great small business team. If you don't want employees, that is fine and understandable; you are a solopreneur. However, you should realize that there are some dangers of running a one-person business.
If you want to stop working yourself into the ground, you will need to get good at business team building. Hiring for your small business is important and probably a lot harder than you think.
If I had any one piece of advice to give regarding building a team, it would be that finding good cultural fits is extremely important. If you have a good business and can offer competitive compensation, you should be able to find good people. However, finding good cultural fits can be a challenge and should not be underestimated.
Tip: When building your small business team, make sure you find good cultural fits that have similar core values and align with your vision.
Stay Focused On What Matters
As your small business grows, you will be tempted to stick your nose in every little detailed aspect of it because that is how you did it when you were the only employee. Don't do that! Stay focused on what actually matters in your business, not just what happens to fall on your desk or end up in your email inbox.
As a small business owner, you really do have an unlimited workload, so you need to be disciplined and stay on task. I wrote a guide on how to handle and unlimited workload and actually get stuff done in your small business.
You need to get good at understanding what you should be working on and never sway from it. When you are presented with a task that falls outside of your predetermined task list, reject it or delegate it.
Tip: Understand what you should be working on and never sway from that list of tasks.
Are you working your ass off in your small business and unsure if you like the direction you are heading?