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Tired Out & You’re the Owner? There’s Something Wrong...

If this sounds judgmental, then I’m being judgmental of myself as well.

In recent weeks I’ve been re-connecting with local business owners that I’ve known for a while but hadn’t been in close contact with for months. The purpose has been to see if they have time for coffee or breakfast in order to catch up on how things are going in their business. It’s been a very intriguing process, because the majority of the time the individuals have replied back with two common comments: 1) business is good, and 2) I’m too swamped to get away. At first I thought it was just a way of declining to meet, but then I started to realize that no, it really was the truth. I had been there in my own business, and I could relate to fact that for many people as success increases, time flexibility starts to disappear. As a prior victim myself, I can honestly say that something is wrong.

People that start businesses start them for a variety of reasons. Two of the most common reasons are 1) for higher financial rewards, and 2) for more freedom. It’s ironic that so many businesses sap the freedom of time from the owner as they become more successful.

If you find that you are financially successful in your business, but you’ve lost your freedom of time in the process, then the likely culprit is one of two things. Either you need to delegate better, or you need to learn to say ‘no’. For many business owners, it’s hard to say ‘no’ to business opportunities. A new opportunity presents itself, and even though it may stretch us thin, it’s just too hard to pass up. We take on the additional work, make the additional profit (hopefully), and exhaust ourselves in the process. Learning to say ‘no’ to business that you don’t necessarily need, particularly when it doesn’t fully fit your business model, is a must if you want to maintain some control over your time.

The other area that most owners struggle with as their business grows is delegation. Most of us got into business because we felt that we could provide a valuable service to the community, and possibly better than the competition, and therefore we take tremendous pride in our work. When you take pride in how something is done, it’s hard to learn to let go and start to turn over some of the execution to employees. We often feel like it’s just easier to do it ourselves than to teach, and that no one can do it exactly like we can. While both of those may be true, they lead to a business that isn’t scalable and that drains our freedom.

When you find yourself feeling that you can’t delegate something, ask yourself this question:

“Can anyone on my team do this 80% as well as I can?”

If the answer is yes, then delegate it. If the answer is no, then you likely need to hire in order to improve your team. You should only resort to doing it yourself if you either have no choice at the moment, or it’s something you truly enjoy doing. Any other action leads to something that isn’t scalable, which is damaging in the long run. The question above made a big difference in my own business, and I hope it’s helpful to you.

As always, I wish you the best in your business.

Mark Goldman



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