If you want your business to succeed, you need time working on your business, not just working in your business. That means hiring employees or outsourcing tasks that can be done by others, so you can focus on growing your company. Unfortunately, there are situations when you can't do that; where you must spend time dealing with a necessary change or crisis. In my case, I have been dealing with my office move.
I decided earlier this year to move to a bigger space when our current lease expired at the end of January 2019. During July and August, my real estate broker showed me a dozen spaces. In September, I settled on one that would require a build-out. What do I know from floor plans? At the lease signing, I was handed a bunch of paint samples and carpet swatches. I'm not an interior decorator. I dropped off the floor plan to my IT professional, told him to think about what needed to be done and let me know. He wouldn't let me leave until I told him which way each desk would face, so he could wire the space properly. (Really?!) Along with this are the misunderstandings and frustrations of dealing with people who are not employees, but are doing work for you (e.g., realtors, vendors, contractors, etc.). Much of this work can't be delegated and takes up time that I want to spend elsewhere and would be more profitable.
Most businesses have periods like this, whether because of an office move or renovation, upgrading office technology, hiring or departure of a key employee or other issue. During this time, business owners have to devote their resources toward working on the business. There is nothing wrong with this so long as it is a temporary condition. As we discussed in a prior post, growing a business takes time and devotion. Maybe when you're a new entrepreneur you can do it all yourself but if you are successful, you will quickly have to decide what is the most effective and profitable use of your time. If you are always taking care of the minutia of running your business, you won't be able to develop and implement the strategies necessary to increase revenue. A good business owner knows when to step away from the day to day tasks.
The lessons I've learned from this experience thus far include:
- Assume everything will take at least twice as long as you think;
- When things go wrong, there is plenty of blame to go around (including taking your fair share)
- People have a reason for what they do, and it pays to ask them why
- Continue to delegate what you can
- And remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. (I can smell the new carpet right now.)
When your business takes more time than you want, what do you do about it? Email me your thoughts.