I walked into a hardware store one day.
There were 3 or 4 people standing behind the long counter and another 3 or 4 people in front of the counter waiting to be served. One bloke behind the counter looked like he was running rings around all the other guys– he was serving all the customers while the others stood idly by.
“He must be the guru.” I thought.
“Can I help you?” asked one employee.
“Yes, can I see the boss please?” I asked.
“Yes, that’s him” he said pointing to the guy doing all the work (without even asking what I needed and if he could help instead)
What’s wrong with this picture?
Can you see yourself in this scenario?
Business owners shoot themselves in the foot all the time by trying to do everything in their business. I’ve heard business owners variously describe themselves as “Chief Cook and Bottle-washer, “Trouble-shooter” and even “Dogsbody”. Some business owners even clean their own premises to save a few dollars – please tell me that’s not you!
If you feel like your business is dragging you down and you never seem to be getting to the good stuff it’s probably because you take on too much. For whatever reason, you’ve justified putting yourself in a position of power then undermined it by attempting to do everything yourself.
So, how are you going to get to the good stuff you want to do?
First of all, do you know what the “Good stuff” is? Have you actually defined what it is? You know there’s something … you just can’t quite put your finger on it, but other people seem to be having more fun and getting better results than you.
Or maybe you do know what you want but not the steps to get there – it seems too hard. Maybe there’s some fear and doubt and financial issues you have to tackle first, so it’s just easier to keep looking and being busy, (although it’s not very fulfilling) and every day is Groundhog Day. .
In order to work smarter you’ll need to know what it is you’re aiming for and what your particular role is in making it happen. This might take some courage and deep thinking – and delegation!
First of all – there is no such thing as a “good all-rounder”, so stop trying to be one.
You have natural talents and strengths you probably haven’t even tapped into yet.
Find the NICHE that suits your talents and makes you happy.
If you’re good at the technical work of your business like being the designer, accountant, mechanic or brain surgeon, then do that thing, but don’t keep it to yourself, hire and train other people to do it even better than you so you can expand the business.
OR – if you don’t want a large team and you are happy to be the technical person, focus on being the best brain surgeon you can be and get other people to do everything else; all the admin, marketing, sales, management and other parts of your business. Your hourly rate will be much higher than these people. Hire a great business manager or practice manager. Hire a great Personal Assistant – do whatever makes your job easier.
Remember to keep it simple and streamlined.
Find a MARKET that suits your talents and makes you happy.
When you work with clients or customers you like and you’re doing work that is your pure genius, then work doesn’t seem so hard, you’ll enjoy it more. Work becomes more harmonious – you have better capacity to deliver and the clients are less demanding, more flexible and understanding.
All clients are not created equal. It’s absolutely NOT true that “any client will do, as long as they pay.” Working smarter means choosing your clients; you’ll get paid on time, have fewer complaints, less re-work, fewer price shoppers and happier employees.
Be self focussed
The smart thing to do is look after yourself first, be a little selfish. If you fell over what would happen to your business?
There’s nothing wrong with drive and determination unless it becomes obsessive. Check your level of obsessiveness about your business. If it’s making you tired and sick it’s time to back it off a few notches.
Take a break, breathe. Not everything is urgent and important. Read Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”. Apply what you learn, especially the part about sharpening the saw.
Seth Godin says “Do work worth doing”. Are you doing just enough to get by or are you really making a contribution? Do you need to change a few things? Stop being efficient – start being effective.
Work in your genius – Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics Wealth Profiling will help you discover your personal genius so you can work in flow.
Above all, give yourself time to do things. Set goals, break them down to small manageable bites, determine what your genius contribution towards achieving the goal will be, then work out who will help you.