So you believe your business and life is running efficiently? Ask yourself the following questions.
- How much time do you spend in your day actually doing what you need to do? Think about it, if you are spending more time doing administrative duties, and not finding or networking new clients. While every business owner wants to make the most of their day, the average work-day now is closer to 10 hours a day, not 8 as everyone relies on as a standard. While you may work nine to five, how many times have you caught yourself thinking about your business concerns over dinner, and while sitting at home in front of the television at home? Many sole proprietors as well as small business owners actually spend more than 10 hours a day! The more time you spend as a business owner/manager doing all the work that others may have delegated to them starts what has been coined a ‘time-debt’ or lost time away from home and family. ‘Time-debts’ can lead to a dangerous balancing game.
- I have a process that I do, the same way all the time, it works but can it take less time? An outside view normally can see what the process is, and find a better way. How many times have you gone to any store, literally any store, does not matter if it is a hardware store or a specialty product store and really watched how they process your order? Makes you think doesn’t it. How many times have you flown on any airline anywhere in the past decade, and watched what seems like a complicated process for you to check your bag, get your boarding pass, and run the security gauntlet to get to your plane? It seems like a process that could just be more simple, it is getting there, although we as the general public looks more at the lines rather than the process. Did you know that the Transportation Security Administration [TSA] is constantly changing their processes to attempt a way to speed things up? Here is an exercise that may cost you a $20 bill for parking, but try it. Go to the airport, walk around and simply watch and you will see that different airlines have different processes and procedures and some are faster than others. Look at the larger entry areas to gates and see how the process is essentially the same for each, but each has a slight difference therefore making that entry a little faster (a minute or two is a massive amount of time).
- How do I handle change in processes if I find a better way? Here is a trick question at times. You as the business owner/manager/sole proprietor find a better way, it gets the job done, but how do I get all my employees or assistants to do it? The old school thought process was “my way or the highway” thought process this no longer does truly work. I have no problem admitting that I am a transitional Generation ‘X’ person; I am used to one way to do a process and sometimes have been skeptical of change. Did you know that research shows that we “Gen X’ers” were the ones that taught the Baby Boomer generation how to do things differently? Think back when you first started working, whether it was your first job in high school or your first professional position, you found a way to do it differently and more efficient than your superiors. Scary isn’t it! Now we are working with “Gen Y” and “Gen Z” they literally were born accepting change. So, back to the question of how to handle the change in your process, easy employees meeting(s) starts the change, watch and invite your workers to ask questions (interaction is the key). If you are a sole proprietor, and do not have a staff, try to do the process once a different way and do a self-test to see if it was easier than before.
- What if I do not simply have time in my day to find a better way? A wise man once said, “If you cannot do it well, hire someone smarter than you to do it.” A decade ago, delegation to a contractor or outside firm was a gamble, today it is quite different. Today and throughout the past decade we have seen our ‘work-life’ balance dip more and more towards 70% – 80% work and only leaving 30% – 20% life. This not only increases your stress level, which in turn negatively affects your health, but relationships as well. So let’s add it up, our solar days are only 24 hours long, as humans we need 6-8 hours of sleep a day there are as many studies showing ‘exact’ numbers of hours of rest as there are hours in a month, but the average is 6-8. So now we have roughly 16 ‘waking’ hours (24-8=16) in a single day to do what we need to do. In those ‘waking’ hours we need to complete work tasks, administrative duties, and live. Now let’s subtract an average of an hour and a half where we are ‘away’ from work (bathroom, eating, checking e-mails/voicemails, etc.) here comes a smaller number, 14 and a half hour. So out of those 14.5 hours we need to work, make connections for work, find and nurture customer relationships just for work. Subtracting the average from above (10 Hours) we now only have four and a half hours in a day to do everything else in the world. That ‘everything else’ can comprise everything that doesn’t directly impact business. Careful, another tricky way of thinking. Out of those 4.5 hours you have to subtract time away from family and home, let’s average 2 hours for that (getting gas at the local station, shopping at the store for food, balancing your home bills, etc.) Now we are down to just 2.5 hours in a day where you have to spend quality time away from work with your family, spouse, partner, even the dog/cat etc. The tricky way of thinking is that many a business person will take work home with them, or if they work out of their home the magnetism of ‘I just need to get one more thing done’ thought process is strong, so there lies the tricky thought process. “I may be working on a few things, but I am at home and I am still around my family/spouse/etc.” That thought process is the danger point that many business people need to catch them at, and stop. With this thought process the “I just need to get one more thing done…” starts adding up. How many times have you been working on something, and didn’t notice that all of a sudden it is 11:00 p.m.! (I am guilty of this.) When you look around you see that your pets are all lying down asleep, and the rest of your family has already gone to bed, ding you are caught.
- What if I do not want others in my business because I feel embarrassed that I may need help? Many business owners find themselves in this thought process. In philosophy it can be considered circular reasoning, and not logical. Rather than going into a deep discussion about circular reasoning, here is a quick example that I find many business owners have: “I know that I need help, but I am afraid of what the help may say about my business, therefore making me fear help/change, but I still know I need help”. To translate this into English, Need Help – Afraid of the Help – Fear of Outcome – Need Help. Did you know that 90% – 95% of ‘others’ (out-sourced companies) have what is called confidentiality agreements? That means that when business is discussed, it stays locked up in a folder, no matter who you are and how many people may have the same connections! For instance, when I speak to a new client, I may bring up a topic of a client in an industry, because my confidentiality agreements with my clients prohibit me from speaking one word about them to another. No matter if I am speaking to a family member or anyone! This ‘security blanket’ gives clients of Vanguard Business Services one advantage, any possibility of fear about a certain topic of their business is shared with no other human. Only in the cases of a legally served subpoena would cause this confidentiality to be broken, and even then it would be a hostile interview. No business owner who is legally doing business should have the feelings of fear or embarrassment when asking for help. This is extended to business owners who are conducting business and believe they are following the law, but may not by misunderstanding or misinterpreting the law. For example, you pay all your employees a standard salary, did you know that the Department of Labor through the Fair Labor Standards Act enforces who may be on salary, and who should be considered an hourly employee.
If you have read the questions and cannot come up with a concrete answer to them, contact Parker BCS today. Waiting until tomorrow will just leave you deeper into a ‘time-debt’, one single phone call and finding out that there is help, as well as trusted individuals that you can actually delegate some things to starts the work-life balancing act heading back to where it needs to be. Parker BCS is not stating that we can do everything to take burdens off of your shoulders, but where one person may not be able to lift a 2000lb weight, five, maybe ten to fifteen may.
Parker BCS was founded and provides assistance to all five of these common questions. Looking at the logo of Parker BCS, the words “Business Change Solutions”, means exactly what they say, finding effective business change solutions. This may be as simple as a nudge, or a complete re-development of your current way of doing business. The plus side is if your process is working, and no viable solution can be found that needs change, guess what you do not pay a penny!