While at a conference for PASBA (Professional Association of Small Business Accountants) earlier this month, our keynote session was from the E-Myth Worldwide Group. We discussed all of the traditional principles of managing your business rather than just working in it. If you have not read the book, go get it today and read about yourself if you are a small business owner. The work-life balance is something everyone struggles with, including me.
The speaker had us go through an exercise of writing down our goals for what we like to be doing versus what duties we actually perform in our business in a given day. I’m sure that 99% of the members had a consistent theme of what we would like to be doing — working less and spending more time with family and friends. I am included in that group. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and am passionate about it. But, I’m also passionate about living the rest of my life outside of work.
Last week, my husband left on a fishing trip to Portsmouth Island (near the Outer Banks of NC) and has been stranded there due to weather and wind for a couple of extra days. My mom also lives near me, but is out of town visiting our family in Ohio. So that leaves me with my soon to be four year old son, Zack, and being a full-time stay at home mommy for a few days. I have to keep reminding myself that it is a time that I will never get to relive so I put the work aside (for the most part) and live in the moment of being a mom. Zack saw a picture of his dad on my TweetDeck and wanted me to make it bigger. He said, “Mommy, I miss that guy.” It reminded me how important it is to spend time with your children and family. We have had a great time and guess what? The office is still standing and our customers are still getting their questions answered in a timely fashion due to our remote work environment and the invention of the century, my Crackberry, I mean, Blackberry.
Take a look at your business. Can it survive if you are out for a week or two? If the answer to this is no, admit it, you need help. There may be some easy things that can be resolved with technology or outsourcing. Or maybe its just a matter of having that contingency plan to have others trained to do what you do. To maximize the value of your business, you cannot be a cornerstone in running the business every moment of the day. It needs written processes and procedures so someone else can step up to the plate if necesary. This process will also give you a great peace of mind in knowing that your business is a self-sustaining entity.
As Michael Gerber reminds me each day, “small business owners spend too much time working IN their business rather than ON their business”. I remember when I am at the office because his words are framed and on my desk. Come see me to discuss this important topic and I’ll remind you too!