Quality versus quantity - spend your time intentionally
As a business owner, how do you spend your day? Where do you focus your attention? What are you doing? What are you not doing? I know many of you struggle to achieve the work - life balance you desire. If you're interested in investing quality time in your business so you have time left over to focus on yourself and your family, you're going to want to read on.
According to an Intuit Small Business Study, the majority of you spend your time doing what you like to do best in your business - conducting business services (i.e. making goods or delivering services) and marketing/selling those products and services.
This makes sense because personal passion is the reason 67% of small businesses are started in the first place. Your passion was what drove you to create your business, but it won't necessarily be enough to keep you in business.
The norm is for small business owners to take on 3-6 roles. No wonder you are so busy! Not surprisingly, the average business owner spends very little time leading or working ON the business which I refer to as the CEO role.
Simply put, the role of the CEO is to understand the world in which the business operates and to best position the company to thrive given what is unique and special about it. If you do not spend enough time in this role, you are limiting the potential of the business you worked so hard to build. There is an opportunity for you to get a better return on your time invested by altering your focus.
The research shows that there are a number of ways you could spend your time. Here are four great places to start:
Vision. Not just coming up with a catchy slogan and putting up a poster, but understanding why the organization exists and where it's going. Communicating it and using powers of persuasion to get everyone in the organization committed to achieving the vision. This is the role of the CEO and cannot be delegated.
Values. When clearly articulated, understood and supported throughout the company, values (which form the foundation of culture) provide a reference point for employees to make decisions without interventions from management. The role of CEOs is not only to clearly communicate values, but also to model this behaviour and communicate what behaviours are not tolerated.
Long-term direction. CEOs are responsible for establishing the strategy and long-term direction of the organization as well as defining the vital goals or critical success factors that must be achieved and constantly monitoring progress towards achieving them. Knowing and monitoring the key numbers of your business will help you to keep track of your progress and inform you when a course correction is required.
Resource allocation. Financial, human, and physical resources are always limited. The role of CEOs is to apply these resources to the right things that move the organization towards achievement of its goals. The key is to be aware of how you spend your time and money and to intentionally direct these resources where they can have the greatest impact - on your goal.
I am confident if you spent more time in the CEO role and and focused on these 4 areas, you will be better able to prioritize what is truly important and you will get a better return on the time you invest in your business, leaving time for other priorities in your life.