If you are like me, and thousands of other business owners, you had this idea of what your life would be like if you started your own business. You were going to spend your days doing what you love. Maybe you felt stifled in a large corporation and you were convinced it would be different if you ran the show.
So you launched your business. Maybe it was a restaurant, design firm, auto body shop, or law firm. Whatever industry you entered in addition to doing the thing you went into business to do, you figured out that you also had to sell, manage human resource activities, wade through mountains of paperwork, and a dozen other tasks which take time out of your day and your week. The hours fly by and you realized you spend very little time doing what you set out to do. And the things you are doing you don’t enjoy.
That is the reality of being a business owner. You have to occasionally deal with an unhappy employee, preparing paperwork for your accountant, or calling clients who are behind in their payments to you. It isn’t something you want to do, but is part of the role of a business owner. If the majority of your day is spent on things that frustrate you, or simply don’t give you joy, you are heading for burnout. You need to find a little balance
How much time do you spend doing what you love?
Make a list of how you spend your time. Divide the tasks into one of three categories: Love, Like, or Dislike. Then look at the length of each list. If you are spending more than 25% of your time doing things you really dislike it is time for a few changes. Here are a few options.
- Outsource – To keep a business running there are tasks which don’t require your expertise. If you don’t enjoy managing your IT and payroll, or if managing them take you away from revenue generating tasks, it is time to pay to have someone else do it.
- Say no to bad projects and bad customers. We’ve all done it, accepted a project because it was profitable even if it wasn’t something we wanted to do. The next time you are offered a bad project, say no or charge enough to outsource the work.
- Trade tasks with team members. This is a good exercise for everyone on the team. Very often you will find that there is someone in your organization who loves doing the very thing you don’t. So let them take a shot at it. Or look for that skill set in your next new hire.
- Find a partner. Sure you started this business by yourself, but maybe it has grown too big or too complex and running it by yourself is just wearing you out. Look for a senior manager, right-hand person, or investor who wants an active role in the company. Look for someone who is the yin to your yang, who enjoys the things you don’t to help share the load.
- Consider a career change. If you aren’t satisfied most of the time, maybe you are in the wrong line of work. Maybe what was fun twenty years ago just isn’t anymore. If you are feeling as if the magic is gone, it might be time to talk to a business broker and plan your exit strategy.
I had a chance to chat with Ryan Parshall about how to get your business ready to sell. Listen now.