Bang crash! Watch out! Duck! Hang on! Oh no! Here we go again!
My life as a business owner feels like a roller coaster ride, I’m hanging on for dear life half the time… How can I slow it all down a bit and take control of my business and my life?
Running your own business can feel like a constant juggling act and most of the time, all you do is hold on for the ride and try to make sure you duck at the right time.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Running your own business is never something you should because you want to have an easy life, because it’s never going to be easy. But you can make sure the business works for you rather than the other way round.
The Big Question of Small Business
It all starts with this question, The Big Question of Small Business:
Why does your business exist and why would anybody care?
Most business owners can’t answer that question clearly, in a single power sentence. And if you can’t answer that question, there is one really important thing you can never do, with confidence and clarity, and that is to say NO.
Saying NO is probably the one, most important thing that you have to learn to be able to do well in your business in order to to get off the roller coaster and to take control.
I’ll give you an example from my own experience that happened to me only last week.
That question, the Big Question I talk about above: Why does your business exist? My answer to it is this:
I help small business owners feel great about themselves and about their business, by helping them discover and build their own unique Beautiful Business and Life
That’s what I get up to do, each and every morning.
So last week I received an email from the health and wellbeing officer of one of the Big Four Banks here in Sydney. This person is running a personal wellness program for the entire staff of the bank in Sydney and she was looking for a coach to be involved with the program. The opportunity was enormous. This bank employs thousands, if not tens of thousands of people in Sydney alone and being offered a sponsored opportunity to get in front of all those employees is incredible… For the right person.
I wasn’t the right person for the job
And there’s the rub. I’m not the right person for the an opportunity. I work with small business owners, not with employees in the corporate world. Now I’m sure I could have done something for this wellbeing officer and made it work and I would have done a good job, I have no doubt about that, but I actually know someone who is much better equiped to take on this project. She specialises in working with employees in the corporate world to help them feel better about themselves and advance in their careers. So I thanked the Wellbeing officer and I introduced her to my friend and two days later, my friend had signed up the gig. There’s a good chance that this is the best gig my friend has landed in years and I am absolutely sure she’ll lay them in the isles… She’s brilliant at this kind of thing.
I didn’t get the gig, I won’t make any money from the gig, but I also didn’t get the stress from doing something that wasn’t absolutely in my area of expertise. I’ve learnt over the years, that I’m really good at some things and not others, and I need to stick with those. My friend is really excited and will have a lot of fun with the project, probably make a lot of money and do really well. What’s more, she’s super motivated to return the favour and I have no doubt something will come my way at some stage that’s right up my alley.
Learning what to say No to, and do it in such a way that means everybody is happy is absolutely a core skill if want to get off the roller coaster and take control of your business.
So: Why does your business exist, and Why would anybody care about that?
The secrets to getting Un-Stuck, take control and to make Business Fun again
Many small business owners feel frustrated, stuck and overwhelmed in business on a daily basis. They operate in crisis management mode, running around from this urgent problem to that emergency all day long, extinguishing brush fires along the way.
In the first years of business, you accept that all this running around and stress is par for the course, but a few years on, nothing much has changed, you’re still running around fixing everybody else’s problems and the stuff you really want to work on, for the long term development of your business, just keeps getting pushed back and back forever.
Fun in business Overwhelm and Stuck in business
Do you feel stuck as well?
Most business owners have experienced that sense of frustration and the secret to building a Beautiful Business and Life, is to find your way around this state of overwhelm and take control of your business. The first step to getting unstuck in business is to start thinking differently about your business than you have until now.
Did you know that all that matters in business is Fun?
Fun is the opposite of Overwhelm and being Stuck. When you’re having Fun, you’re not Overwhelmed and when you’re in Overwhelm, you’re not in control and you’re having Fun. The two are mutually exclusive.
And when your business is Fun, it means everything is working:
It means you’re making money
It means your staff are engaged and doing great work
It means your customers love you
It means you’re proud of the product or service you deliver
It means you’ve created a level of balance in your life that works towards your wellbeing.
So Fun in Business ought to be a key focus to help you move from crisis management and overwhelm to taking control and building your own Beautiful Business and Life.
I’ve also written a book about Fun in Business, The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun. You can download it for free as Ebook or Audiobook here.
Fun is serious business
It may seem strange to make Fun the key focus in the development of your business. We’re generally told that the function of business, the purpose of business, is to make money. Hence we should make “maximising shareholder value”, making profit and generating cash in other words, our key focus. But in many years in and around business, I’ve come to believe that to really build Great Businesses that Stand the Test of Time, we need to think differently about business than we’ve been taught for the past 200 years.
I like to quote John Mackey, the founder and CEO of Wholefoods markets in the USA. The company was recently bought by Amazon for US$14 Billion. Wholefoods made profit and paid dividends to its shareholders every year for its entire existence. In other words, John Mackey has established credentials where it concerns making money in business. Yet John Mackey wrote a book called “Conscious Capitalism” (more about the book here, as well as here), and in it he says this:
“Thinking that the Purpose of business is to make money, is as silly as thinking that the purpose of human beings is to eat food. We need to eat food, eating food makes us feel good, but we eat food so that we can do what we need to do on this earth. It is the same with business and profit. Business needs to make profit, and plenty of it, but it needs to do so, in order to fulfil its purpose, the reason it exists”
So, yes, business must make money. The business must generate profit and cash flow, and it must work hard to maximise its return to shareholders. Undoubtedly… As I say in elsewhere in this website: “A business that doesn’t make profit, is a hobby.”
If your focus is making money, there will never be enough. This year you might focus on making $100,000 profit, but as soon as you’ve made $100,000, you’ll want to make $200,000, and then $500,000 and so on, there’s always more money to be chased.
If your focus is making money, why pick $100K or $500K, why not $531,629,23? or $496,187.42. Any number you pick will be arbitrary, and hence meaningless.
If your focus is making money, your brain won’t cooperate. To your subconscious brain, there is no difference between $100K or $150K. Your subconscious can not think in concrete concepts, such as numbers, it can only get engaged by emotional concepts.
If your focus is making money, you’ll wonder what it’s all been about when you’re on your death bed. Nobody has ever lain on their death bed and thought: “I wish I’d made more money”. I guarantee you that much.
How do you get beyond money? Take these four steps;
So, if you want to get unstuck, stop being a crisis manager and move out of overwhelm in your business, you must start thinking beyond making money.
These are the big 4 steps to take to move out of overwhelm and into having Fun in Business:
Ask yourself the Big Question of Small Business: Why does your business exist, and why would anybody care about that? (The Purpose question, more about the Purpose of Business here)
Learn to ask yourself every week: How much Fun in Business did we have last week, and how can we make next week a little bit more Fun? (I’ve written about measuring Fun in Business in my book and also here)
Develop a discipline around your time. Know that your time is the most valuable asset of your business. As a responsible business owner, it is your job to ensure that you look after your most important asset and get the best return you can from your assets. This means you must discipline yourself not to waste your time on things that are actually not all that important. (Read more about business owners and time management here)
People: Get the right people on the bus, in the right seats, facing the right direction, and the wrong people off the bus. There is no greater cause of stress, overwhelm and frustration than people. (More about managing people here and here)
Further reading about overwhelm, taking control and Fun in business:
Watch this quick video in which I talk about a couple of the unique challenges that come with building a business based around creating beautiful things: buildings, websites, logos, photography, videos, etc.
I have worked with many architects, designers, and owners of creative agencies in the last 11 years. I love the passion that designers have for their profession and their craft. There is a special set of challenges in marrying business with the design mindset.
“Roland helped me put my work into a bigger context which defined the purpose of my business and brought clarity to my decisions.”
Building a design agency that is founded on your passion and creativity can be especially tricky at times. Your clients come to you for your creative reputation and they often resist dealing with your staff. And turning a design practice into a profitable business while being true to your principles is a constant balancing act.
“Roland helped transform my business daydreams in to a practical, pragmatic and actionable plan… And then we made it happen”
How I’ll help you build a business that stands the test of time:
Implementing better bookkeeping, workflow management and project management systems. Your fingers on the pulse of all the key indicators of the health of your business, as opposed to keeping your fingers crossed.
Developing absolute clarity abut the Purpose of your business; the reason your business exists and why anybody else would care about that. Know where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
Building relationships with the right people. Referral marketing is the most powerful way to build your business.
Developing marketing strategies that mean you get to build your business with the right type of clients. Clients walk in the door, wanting to do business with you.
Developing and implementing Quality systems that allow you let people get on with things confident the work will be consistent. Make your agency or practice run like a Swiss clock.
Developing better approaches to managing and engaging your staff consultants, so that you won’t have to stand there and watch them all day.
“Working with Roland transformed me and my business. It now flows. It’s less stressful and more enjoyable.”
If you recognise some of those statements above and you’d like to explore how I can help you overcome some of those everyday struggles, click here to book in a free Discovery Coaching Session now as part of my Five Steps to Discovery Process, designed to help you discover and build your own Beautiful Business and Life.
The New Perspectives Fun in Business Intensive is a transformative 6 – 12 month Business and Life coaching, mentoring and guidance program designed for individual small business owners, business partners and husband and wife family business owners, who want to build their own unique Beautiful Business and Life and have more Fun in Business.
The Intensive is designed for small business owners who find themselves operating in a state of overwhelm and stress and who feel stuck in their business. They are frustrated and are ready to roll up their sleeves to start to build their Beautiful Business now. (Also read more about husband and wife family business partnerships here)
The foundation of the Fun in Business Intensive program are my books: “The Ten Truths Trilogy: Business books for people who don’t read business books, but should”. I suggest you might like to read my third book: “The Ten Truths for Making Business Fun” especially (It’s a Fun read, of course). You can download any of my books for free from the main resources download page in the website here. The Fun in Business Intensive combines Visioning, Goalsetting, Planning, Strategy, accountability, support, guidance, brainstorming and advice with coaching and mentoring methodologies, resources and tools that simply work.
What’s Fun in Business got to do with building a Beautiful Business and Life?
I believe most small business owners operate in a state of overwhelm and stress and they often feel their businesses and lives are stuck. You run around from crisis to crisis all day extinguishing brush fires along the way. You’re the first one in the door in the morning and the last one out the door at night, and you have to catch up on your admin, email and quoting after dinner. Your staff don’t seem able to tie their own shoe laces, clients expect you yourself to serve their needs, personally, whenever they have even a slight cough, even though you’ve got a bunch of perfectly qualified staff to do the work, and to top it all off you’re barely making any more money now than you were 5 years ago.
Well, I think it’s time we started to think differently about business than we traditionally have and learn to appreciate that there is something greater for us to achieve than make sales, improve our systems and generate cash.
More reading and resources about Overwhelm, Stress, Change and Fun in Business:
Business is Fun when everything is working as you want it to.
To start moving out of that overwhelm, stress and stuckness, a really effective place to start, I believe, is to focus on the concept of Fun in Business. Because you see, when business is Fun, it means everything is working. Fun in Business is the opposite of Overwhelm, Stress and feeling Stuck. When business itself is Fun it means that:
You are making money and generating cash flow
You’re making sales
You’re getting better all the time
You know where you’re going
Your staff are highly engaged
Your customers love you
You’re proud of the stuff your business produces
You’re creating the kind of balance in your life that is important to you.
Focusing on Fun in Business as the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of the health of your business and understanding that all the other KPI’s we are used to measuring and thinking about are merely drivers to the main KPI of Fun in Business, will change your business and your life.
What’s different about the Fun in Business Intensive program?
My thoughts about Change and Business coaching are possibly a bit different to what you might expect or what you might have heard from others. You might find it interesting to read some of my articles about those topics:
The Fun in Business Intensive program is about going on a journey; A big journey, an adventure even. That’s as it should be, because Change (with a big “C”) can only ever happen on a journey. You can never just flick a switch to implement Change. You’ve heard people talk about stepping out of their comfort zone. I agree, we must step out of our comfortzones to create Change, and stay there. We need to get out on the ocean. Nothing important ever changed in the safety of the harbour. Poking your nose out the heads, looking at the horizon and turning back again in time for lunch is not going to Change your business or your life.
To change our business and our life we have to hoist our sails, set a course for the horizon and above all we must not turn back.
When you are ready to change your business and your life, the reason you would want me to come on that journey and adventure with you, is that:
I will help you set a course and help you adjust it as we travel along and circumstances change.
I will keep you focused on the course.
I will teach you the skills you need to keep the ship safe and headed in the right direction
I make sure that you know when to row and row hard and when to let the wind take you along for a while.
And finally, I have been out on the ocean many many times… I know how to keep your ship safe.
Coming on the Journey with me in the Fun in Business Intensive will truly change your business and your life for ever…
Weekly or fortnightly one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions, either face-to-face, by Skype or telephone.
Unlimited phone and email support
Access to a comprehensive library of business development resources
A vast range of business development tools as required
“Make no mistake; for one person, Roland is a power house of ability, knowledge, support and wisdom.”
(Tony Isgrove, Isgrove Painting a decorating)
Free Five Steps to Discovery Process:
Before we engage in any of my full coaching programs, first, I always advice we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (via Skype or similar) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get insight into what stage you and your business are at and what your challenges are, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process for you.
Fill in the form below to find out more to book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.