Would you like to make more money with your business? Do you spend too much time putting out fires and not investing time in the important things for your company? Are you working “in” your business rather than “on” your business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it is time to really own your business and not just manage your company. If all you are doing is working in your business managing employees and clients, then you are not spending enough time making your business work for you.
You don’t have to be a dynamic leader or savvy businessman to have a well-oiled, profit making service company. The one thing you do need to have is a system. When I started my company in 1994, I wanted to have a business that ran like clockwork. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to do that. I have spent the last decade reading books and being coached on how to have a business that works for me and not the other way around. I will share some of the secrets that I have found that can be applied to any service-oriented business.
First, read the book “The E-myth revisited” by Michael Gerber. This book uses a story to illustrate to how to run your business so you can have the freedom and income that we all want from our businesses. And do it in a way that your employees will be empowered to enjoy their work. I can’t recommend this highly enough. If you haven’t read the book, go get it today.
If you have been in business for any length of time, I am sure you have read about having vision and values for your company. You might be thinking this is just fluffy nonsense and you don’t need all that. I guess it depends on what kind of company you would like to run. If you want a company where people like to work and your employees buy into your vision, then it would benefit you greatly to have a vision and core values and communicate them regularly. Some of our vision statements are: We provide the highest quality at affordable prices, we are known for fast and friendly communication to our clients and we get referrals all the time. These statements set the expectations and keep everyone on the same page. Some of our core values are honesty, kindness, and being on time. These are the qualities I expect all of us to live up to. These things work and you attract what you are, so this cant be lip service. You have to live these values in your daily life.
This goes hand in hand with the next investment you need to make in your business. Hiring the right people, especially at the management level. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. There is a saying to hire slow and fire fast. Most of us do the opposite. Out of trying to be kind we give some people way too many chances. I am not saying people don’t deserve grace and compassion, but if someone is making the same mistakes over and over it is time to let them take their talents elsewhere. It is not a good fit. I also tended to hire people too quickly, mostly because being short-handed is difficult to manage. I can tell you it is better to take your time and find the right team member than to fill a position with a warm “body”. Most of the time this does not work out and you will be looking for a new employee again. The more important the position the more time and due diligence you should take in hiring. This will not guarantee that they will make an outstanding employee, but it sure increases your chances.
Lastly, focus on the things that are your strengths and let your team members do the rest. I spent too much time trying to wear all the hats and it prevented us from growing. I had a difficult time letting go of the operations and admin side of the business. I can hold my own in these areas, but they aren’t my sweet spot. The best use of time is on business development and client relations. It took me too many years to realize it was better to pay some else to take over these other roles and focus on getting new clients and making sure the ones we had were happy. Once I did this the business began to grow exponentially.
I believe if you do these simple things you can have a professional business that people will want to work for, your clients will be your biggest fans, your income will increase and you can work fewer hours.