I hear it all the time from people who want to grow their business. “I know I need to do some work ON my business, but I just don’t have the time – how can I find the time?”
And you know what? You don’t have the time. So the question is, what are you going to do about it? And if you don’t address this issue now, is anything ever going to change?
We all know we need systems and that they will improve our business, but when we’re working 70 hours a week, we’re thinking how am I ever going to find the time to design and then implement systems on top of this workload?
As a business owner your challenge is that it is your business and you are the only person who can make things change. The questions to ask yourself are: what are the ramifications of you not implementing the systems you know you need? And, what will be the benefits of those systems once implemented?
The problem is not that you are doing too much work – you are simply doing the wrong kind of work. Start by listing all of the things you do in a week and how much time you spend on them. Categorise them: client relations, office administration, administrative support, bookkeeping and so on. Ask yourself what you would pay someone to do each category of work. Chances are a lot of it will be between $12 and $20 per hour. Add up the hours. Consider what you value you put on your time as the owner of the business.
Now work out how much you are costing the business by spending so much time working in the lowest paid area of the business. It is only when you can get a picture of what you are costing the business that you can come to terms with what needs to be done.
Start working on the systems in those areas and then get someone in on a part-time basis to follow them, freeing up some of your valuable time. When you have that extra time, don’t just throw yourself into more of the same. Remember why you did it – and use the time wisely to develop some more systems that will free up more of your time, which you can then spend on activities that have significantly more value to the business. A business is going to take a very long time fulfilling its objective if the owner is its most expensive clerical worker.
A client of mine Glenn came to me recently with an interesting dilemma. He owns SprayIt Solutions ( if you ever need residential or commercial insulation go and say hello!) and he has a great salesperson working for him, who looks after the majority of his clients. However, Paul feels as though he is losing personal contact with them due to his stellar salesman. He is worried that if the salesman leaves, he could very easily take some of the clients with him. So how does Paul reconnect with clients without overstepping what his salesperson is doing?
My answer to Paul went along the following lines:
It would seem that the current client loyalty is with the salesperson rather than the business. Therefore, the task is twofold: build customer loyalty to the business (rather than you personally – because that will inhibit your growth) and get everything that happens in the sales area onto paper in the form of a system.
It’s not so much that you need to reconnect with the clients, more that you need to connect the clients with the business so that they associate the service they are receiving with the business name, not just the salesperson.
There are several ways in which you can reconnect and also value-add service:
o Set up a regular form of communication with clients, such as an electronic newsletter
o Institute a biannual or annual review of their portfolios at which you can be involved together with the salesperson
o Develop a status report on the property market, both locally and interstate, for the previous and coming six months and discuss their ramifications for market trends
o Offer seminars on the property market and/or similar topics.
In this way, you are letting them know who you are and affirming your credibility and that of your company, and giving them more reasons to stay with the business, not just the salesperson.
You may have a great sales person, but what happens when they leave? When you have great systems, you have a great business.