Are you Running a Business or Did You Create a Job?

Metathinq-Running a business vs. a job

Running a business isn’t easy or for the faint of heart. There is always something to do, marketing, bookkeeping, customer service. It’s not uncommon to see entrepreneurs or small business owners wearing many hats and working long hours.

For many that is done out of passion.  Unfortunately, for many others it is out of necessity.  Are you running a business or is it the other way around.  Far too often this trend becomes the long-term reality for the business owner with no end in sight.

So, what are the telltale signs that you have created a job versus a business? 

#1 You are working “in” the business not “on” the business.

You become too involved in the day to day needs of your business vs. holding back some time to think strategically. You hold on to responsibilities that do not build the business rather than delegating those tasks to your team. Often, we are misguided, thinking we can get certain tasks done faster than our staff. Most of the time it stems from there being no formal process or procedure supporting the need. This forces us to continue to operate in the same manner repeatedly rather than taking the time once to create documentation.

We retain the work vs. freeing up that time to work on items that can help our business grow.

#2 You are putting in 60 or more hours per week taking little or no vacation

Let’s just start with the fact that if this is done consistently your health will suffer. Let’s add that it will leave very little time for the things most important in life, being with your family, visiting with friends, and contributing to the community.

Many business owners I talk to cannot remember the last time they took a true vacation.  Most cite long weekends vs. extended (1-2 week) excursions.  The conversation often turns to how they would never really unplug and relax. Running a business generally came with interruptions on vacation.

I will close with the reality; more work doesn’t necessarily bring more revenue. For many this workload is not even pushing the needle in terms of growth for the organization. Yet it is almost certain to result in burnout.

#3 Running a business and not getting paid what you’re worth.

Your current pay is probably less than you can get by working a 40 hour a week job. You may have been earning more prior to starting your company. You may even be borrowing against your personal assets to keep the business afloat or worse, working for free.

None of us started out hoping to earn less.  The reality is part of the reason many of us started our businesses was the opportunity for unlimited income as we grew the operation. By no means should running a business actually cost you money. If that is the case you need to evaluate what you can do to stop the bleeding.

#4 The business has hit a ceiling it just can’t break through.

Revenues might be stagnant three or four solid years, employee counts stay the same, you lose one customer every time you win a new customer. These signs tell you you’re at an inflection point where you might not be able to move upward.

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So, what can you do if you find yourself owning a job vs. a business?

Coaching

The good news is all is not lost. In many cases it’s just a question of getting some outside perspective. One step you can take is bringing in a coach. An executive coach or consultant can help you get organized. The will assist you in understanding what kind of work you should retain and what tasks you should delegate. They can be an accountability partner ensuring you follow through in creating the procedures and systems to make this a reality.

Often as small business owners or entrepreneurs we do not recognize the bad habits we have that can limit our growth. That’s why it’s vital to bring in another party.

Review Personnel

Another step is taking a moment to really look at your staff. For many of us we have people that have been with us a long time but they may have outgrown their roles. Worse, they may not strong enough to meet the roles that we need them to play as our business moves forward.

A lot of stifled business growth can be found in the limitation of the skill sets found within the organization. That work you retain may in fact be a necessity because you do not have the right people. An unproductive team can be costing you dollars that can be put directly back in your pocket.

Look at Client Relationships

A final opportunity to get your business unstuck is to look at your customer base and see where you and your team are spending their time.

We all know the rule that says 80 percent of our revenue comes from 20 percent of our customers. Well the same can be said for time spent to support those clients. With the proper systems in place we can identify losing customer relationships and adjust.

We can all agree that it is better to fire an upside-down client than continuing to service at the expense of our business and personal lives.

Where do you stand in your business?  Have you created a business or are you working a “job”?  Let me know in the comments below.

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