I have been running my coaching business for five years now and I can confidently claim that I helped a lot of people to improve their businesses to receive more profits. As strange as it may sound, I do not consider myself a workaholic, even though I spend seven hours in the office on average. The modern business world is about sacrificing yourself to your business and giving everything you have got to make it successful, even when it means all your time and effort (and being “work crazy” is bad for health and productivity). Well, I guess I am a traditional entrepreneur if judged by modern standards.
An Unexpected Meeting
Let me tell you how I began to think about the secret of my success in the first place. One morning, I was attending a meeting with several clients and it lasted longer than usual. I was very happy and available to work that morning and we really did amazing work with my clients. When we finally finished, I came out of the meeting and met one of my other clients, Mark, who did not inform me about arriving at the office. He realized that I was working for quite a while and said, “Tom, if you do not have time right now, I understand. I know I did not schedule a meeting and you are a very busy person with lots of people to meet every day.”
He was right. But only partially, because I did not have any other meetings that day and gladly invited him into my office to see what he needed help with. What struck me at that moment was that I was not a traditional entrepreneur in the sense that I had a lot of free time during the workday.
Mark obviously thought that I am an extremely busy entrepreneur like many other ones that spend most of their days (and even nights) in the office. However, that was not the case with me because I had a totally different understanding of running a business. First and foremost, I enjoyed staying at home a lot (I was available for calls) to spend quality time with my family and do many other things, such as relaxing, hiking, jogging, and attending events. Life is too short not to enjoy it – that has always been my motto. In my opinion, as soon as one understands this life lesson, the better.
How did I create a successful business and maintan this lifestyle? Most entrepreneurs would see me as a lazy person because of that! Mark’s words certainly made me think about my perspective on life. Well, time has allowed to see what was working for me the best, so I am ready to share the tips that can help you to become a successful but somewhat lazy business owner as well. Sounds interesting? Let’s begin.
Tip #1: Keep Your Business Model Simple
My own business coaching company and the people I am working with have relatively simple business models. That is partly because we are not selling physical products and we can be easily reached online. Moreover, we use one sales channel that has us getting potential customers onto a mailing list, reaching them with an effective message and providing information about how they can benefit from us. And we have one other simple rule: we do not do business with clients who can be perceived as selfish. Even though we know how to deal with them, we just prefer not to deal with them at all.
That’s it. I have always tried to keep the business model simple to avoid being caught in the business and destroy the balance I have.
Tip #2: Work During Peak Productivity Periods
Each person has limited time of brain energy sufficient to perform all tasks for the day. As far as I am concerned, I am a morning bird, so the time between 7 am and 1 pm is the time when I can perform all business tasks remarkably well and without any waste in time and additional resources. After 11 am, my productivity decreases significantly and I cannot work as good as I did before, so I do not even try to engage in complex tasks that require my attention.
Also, I should note that I get a second productivity period around 9 pm, so I can work for an hour or two in the evening. Weekends are working days for me too. Well, weekend’ mornings, that’s for sure. Discover your own productivity hours to start taking advantage of them as well.
Tip #3: Trust And Delegate
I am a CEO of a medium sized business, so I have a lot of responsibilities that should be attended to. In many cases, I would not have accomplished them even if I was a workaholic living in the office (well, that’s the reality of the modern day business), so I found delegation extremely useful. For example, if there was a task that needed to be done, say, on a regular basis, I selected a reliable team member to take care of it and report to me. Now, I delegate almost half of my daily responsibilities to my team, which consists of great professionals willing to accomplish anything that I tell them to do. One client of mine was overwhelmed with his work: he owned a professional writing service and tried to do everything himself. After my consultation, he was able to increase his productivity and improve the management by trusting and delegating as well.
Therefore, in my experience, I found that delegation was a great tool for having more time for myself, motivating and improving the skills of my team. As a result, I am proud to say that my team is professional, efficient, and can tackle any task. The important thing to remember is that you have to trust yourself and your employees equally to succeed here.
Tip #4: Do Not Use Email All Day
Emails are certainly important for business but they can be very bad for those CEO’s that wish to be productive and efficient. It is a known fact that they can destroy or severely decrease both individual and group productivity because they can be a great distraction. When I started my business, my phone was ringing and vibrating a hundred times a day, which was a challenge because I had other responsibilities. Instead of turning off the sound, I turned off the notifications, which prevented the phone from making any sort of noise. To ensure that all letters are answered, I checked it once in three or four hours.
As a result, the noisy smartphone was not a problem during meetings or on typical days when I had to concentrate on a project. I certainly suggest that you should do the same.
Tip #5: Avoid Day-To-Day Operations
These operations should be done by your employees because your role as the owner or manager is to propel the company and improve it. I found that if I focused on doing everyday tasks, such as preparing reports, I had less time to think about how I could grow my business more effectively. To ensure that I have time for that, I designated daily operations to my reliable employees and focused on doing what is strategically important. This scheme has been working for quite a while now and I can say that it is successful.
However, I need to confess that avoiding daily operations was not my idea, but Michael Gerber’s who is an excellent business writer. His book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It, helped me to get this one right. Do not be afraid to do the same and read business literature to become a smarter entrepreneur!
These tips that I have shared with you are great for implementing into your business regardless of the size. They have been helping me for years to balance my professional and personal life, so I can stay a little bit lazy and have down time once in a while. There is certainly nothing wrong with being reasonably lazy, which I prefer better than staying in the office until the sun is replaced with the moon in the sky.