Finding balance from your business

How business owners can improve balance in their business.

Finding balance in the current pandemic is more elusive than ever before. Yet it is the biggest challenge that successful business owners face in their lives.

The reality is that as your business grows you have more people that rely on you. Staff, customers, even suppliers. This creates more stress and provides less balance. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let me explain using a recent case study.

Bob came to me because he had lost the love in his commercial cleaning business. He worked six days a week, 10 hours (or more) a day. The business was doing well but the long hours and frustration weren’t sustainable.

Bob needed to make a change.

Sound familiar?

As a business owner there are three key groups of people that you must keep happy to be successful:

  • Staff
  • Customers
  • Business partners (including family, shareholders, etc)

As your business grows, you start to run out of capacity to manage all three groups.

  • Weekly dinner and drinks with staff change to monthly 30 min catch-ups (if you can manage it)
  • That one-on-one relationship with every customer dwindles to the top 20, or even top 10
  • Weekly business partner catchups replaced with monthly management meetings.

You start to feel like you are losing touch, with everyone.

Your time is consumed with the daily firefighting, problem-solving. No time for; strategic vision, casual customer chats, or to focus on the future of your business.

Bob had an issue with two key groups: staff, and business partners (in this case his family).

The staff did not clearly understand Bob’s vision and goals. They were working hard but their decision-making wasn’t aligned to the business goals.

This had a negative impact on customer service and profitability.

Bob’s family was not happy. His mind was always at work even when he was at home.

This in turn created more work for Bob. He was constantly setting staff straight, apologizing to customers, making promises about spending more time with the family… tomorrow…

He was exhausted from the constant firefighting.

We’ve all been there, and it’s hard!

The solution was clear. Bob needed to get everyone on the same page. He needed his staff to make the right decisions so he could focus on the bigger stuff.

We implemented our proven business operating framework. His profit went up by 32 per cent and he wound back to working four eight-hour days a week (from six 10-hour days).

The solution is simple but not easy. Let me explain.

The freedom pyramid below shows the two components needed to get balance in your business.

  1. Financial stability: In the words of billionaire Glen Stearns, “You can’t build a successful business when you’re worried about where your next meal will come from”. You can’t get a balance until you have your basic finances in order. You must have good profit and cash flow practices in place. (Read more about this at:
  2. Emotional stability: Having confidence your staff make the right decisions, even when you’re not there. Adopting a proven business operating framework is your best bet in achieving balance and freedom from your business.

A good framework will focus on four key areas:

  1. Vision, strategy, and goals: Create a shared vision. Making the right decisions becomes easy when everyone is on the same page. Staff starts to think like you and work towards your common goal.
  2. Standardised processes: Process-driven businesses encourage more creativity and consistent results. Systems free up your time and your brainpower to focus on bigger and better things.
  3. Scorecard: Measuring your business from a customer perspective. We use Ultimate Customer Value KPI. It gives you unique insight into your delivery to customer expectations. You can track the results of decisions made from your customer’s point of view.
  4. Active management: Active management drives action. This makes sure things get done with and without you. This action is what drives your business to the next level.

After implementing the changes Bob said something to me that I’ll never forget.

“A weight has been lifted, and I can breathe again.” He started to love his business (again) and enjoy freedom in his life.

Five tips for implementing your operating framework:

  1. Get selfish: It’s not as easy as it sounds. This is your business, your goals. Involve others but put your views first.
  2. Use a proven framework: Yes, you can come up with your own but it will cost you time and money. Speed up your success with a proven model.
  3. Don’t go it alone: Engage others in the process, staff, customers, business partners. Bring them on the journey with you.
  4. Be prepared to change: This is a learning experience not everything will fall into place first time. Experiment a little to make sure it works for you.
  5. Dedicate time and effort now: I know you’re busy. This is an investment in your future. Your time investment now will pay back 10-fold.

Brad Horan is director of Lucrature. He can be reached

This article first appeared in the September/October issue of INCLEAN magazine 

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