In running my own businesses I sort of got into a certain groove where I was easily taking on customers and sales were increasing. Sometimes I would end of working 7 days a week and other times I would work 20 hours a week. In all this time I didn’t really get the sense of satisfaction of arriving somewhere, it seemed I was always preoccupied with getting more customers. And at the same time I was managing my businesses. At some points I had a few going at the same time.
While reading the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People it was already provided me with a mental framework for creating businesses and reminded me about following good principles for long term success.
And, while in my own business I would sometimes feel like I was doing a lot of different things…I probably could have used some guidance to make it a little easier and even to help with a growth plan.
In my cleaning business we had more than 100 customers a few staff and my partner all working 5 days a week. I would end up managing the business and squeezing in time to do more marketing when I could. I didn’t enjoy managing the business because I wanted to spend more time making it bigger.
There became some struggles when my partner was probably a little bored with cleaning and managing staff and didn’t have the management skills to be able to make her own job easier.
The challenge it seemed was to train my partner on management skills and at the same time be able to focus on making the business bigger.
So, in the book it explains a framework whereas management and leadership are two different things. And that other business owners have struggled with the same thing. As well, in my working with other business owners I have also noticed this struggle as well. Many of them are trying to be the managers of their businesses and at the same time be the leaders of the business. This creates a sort of dual focus, where managing the business can quickly become a full time job in itself and leave little time for focusing on leadership.
When I was running a restaurant, after a few years I had all the staff trained and performing well and literally only had 30 minutes of work to do each day and then I was bored. However, the benefit at the restaurant was that it was part of a large corporation where I didn’t have to do any of the leadership of the company as a whole…none of the marketing, financial planning, product planning or anything that was handled by the head office. In contrast, the small business owner has to consider a lot of things and typically do a 100 different “head office” type roles which is a feat all by itself.
So starting a business out, it is important to start on doing parts of some of the roles in the beginning and gradually build up to having a team of 30 people that can take on the 100 roles required in a large business.
Going from 0 employees to 30 employees is a huge thing, quite the learning curve for someone doing it for the first time, however many have done just that and built million dollar companies in the process.
I have learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes and continue to move forward, however I have learned that reading books about this stuff leads to a huge improvement in success. Especially with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, essentially breaking down the process or the path that is required to achieve great things in 7 habits.
The first 3 habits are about inside stuff and the second 3 habits about about outside, and the 7th habit is about rejuvenating. I have gone through one burnout in my life and could have learned the rejuvenating lesson earlier, which my have got me to avoid burning out.
I used to work hard and play hard and essentially burn the candle at both ends. Now I seek to have a better balance.
The second habit is about the difference between managing and leading and what each role really entails to do it properly.