Emotional investing (money, time, passion, etc.) leads to emotional managing, and that often brings CHAOS.
For those of you, like me, invested your life savings and/or quit a ‘good, stable job’ in order to launch a crazy idea you call your own business; we tend to look at our investment of time, money, and passion a little differently than others. Because our growth chart often looks like an EKG readout, we are constantly tempted to make rash decisions triggered by momentary events in our business; we take it personally when a customer isn’t blown away by our products or service; we instantly fall in love with (even offer a partnership to) anyone who significantly improves our business on any given day; and firing any employee is like breaking up with a lover, or giving up on your own child.
In working with many business owners who have built successful companies – mostly from their own personal investments; I see a correlation between successful companies and systematic management. It also seems that taking a systematic approach to managing the business also helps manage the emotions that come along with it. Because we are both highly emotionally invested in our businesses; our emotions tend to govern our decision-making process. And that’s when the bad things begin to happen.
Here are a seven ideas that can help you incorporate and reinforce a systems approach to your business.
1) Separate YOU from YOUR BUSINESS. Your business is part of you, and you are part of it, but the two are not one in the same. Neither should your income.
2) Discipline is crucial! Begin to establish daily and weekly disciplines as soon as early as possible. This helps to keep focus and productivity high. Start incorporating ‘good business’ techniques today.
3) Pay yourself FIRST for everything you do. Establish a pay rate for the following classifications of tasks: Managing, Sales, Production/Labor, Accounting, and Administration. With discipline, track your time each day and give yourself a paycheck based on what you did.
4) Figure out your strengths and passions. Then work to spend the majority of time doing THOSE things.
5) Find ways to delegate. Hire, outsource, or strategically partner with experts for payroll, bookkeeping, marketing, HR, legal, manufacturing, maintenance, design, etc. Work out a budget for everything that falls outside your core strengths. It helps to keep your personal rates high – you would think twice about having someone run to the store for supplies or change light bulbs when you pay them $250+ per hour.
6) Write yourself a loan. Specify in detail, the terms, frequency, due date, interest, etc. of the loan and be sure to sign it. I gave my business a 2 year grace period, followed by one year of small payments, then three years more aggressively. Interest was 10% flat.
7) Establish clear goals, objectives, expectations, and behaviors. Write them down in simple language to be read daily – even multiple times a day. These serve as definitive guideposts and help guide decision-making.