Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Running a business of any size can be all consuming and can easily devour our time, like a hungry teenager wolfing down a cheese burger in a hurry. We can also fall into the trap of enjoying the kudos associated with being a Managing Director, so it’s essential that we take a step back from the glamour of being our own Top Dog and ask ourselves if we are honestly doing what is right for our business?
We have two key jobs to do and that’s it. We need to deliver and we need to sell. These are the two activities which add value to our organisation and everything else, and I do mean everything, is ancillary. For sure, both marketing and finance are important and if we don’t know what our cash flow forecast looks like then we are really just an enthusiastic amateur heading for a fall.
However, spending time plodding through paperwork might make us feel good, and who hasn’t enjoyed an office day shifting invoices, but the truth is these tasks are about working in our business. Every day we work in the business is a lost opportunity, when instead we could choose to be working on our business.
For me there is nothing more important than delivering business coaching and leadership workshops, as that’s how I earn my income. And, running a close second, is me eating cake, drinking tea and chatting. This is my preferred way to sell, by taking the time to get to know people, having conversations, building relationships and seeing what opportunities pop out. They may not pop for a while, but we can be assured that, over time, cake leads to sales. Easy.
Other tasks can be reserved for Sundays, or we can delegate them. My three colleagues who work in the business for me are priceless and their expertise enables me to do what I do well, leaving them to what they do well. Raising invoices, sifting expenses, organising marketing tweets and maintaining my ILM training centre status are all essential tasks and my team get them done speedily and accurately. Leaving me to focus on the sharp end of delivery and cake eating.
Many people who are reading this will recoil and say ‘Oh but Richard you must have loads of money and I can’t possibly afford the salary for an assistant.’ Well, the truth is this …my team all work part-time and I focus them on specific tasks, which is very cost effective. In addition, I don’t have pots of cash to throw about, but I do see the cost as an investment in my long term success and not as a nuisance. Spending money on support buys me time to go and eat cake, and I’ve noticed that a one-person business tends to create fewer opportunities than a two-person business, or than a one-and-a-quarter person business. It’s a simple equation.
So this week, take a long hard look at your diary. Decide if you are working in your business as your own PA, or if you could afford £60 a month to hire 4 hours of help, which gives you 4 hours to go and eat cake and grow your income. Support is more affordable than we think and we can all start with what we can afford. Or we can spend time kidding ourselves that a cosy office day is truly productive.
Anyone for a slice of Victoria sponge? Much tastier than paperwork!
Next week: Sharing Our Ambition
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Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in
Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish
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