Achieving a Work-Life Balance
When we ask our clients what they want to achieve from their business the most common response we get (other than financial success) is work-life balance. Owning a small business is no doubt a very busy lifestyle, but if you make smart decisions and organise your life diligently then there is no reason why you can’t achieve a great work-life balance too.
We have written this blog to share some of the strategies that we find help our clients to achieve a better work-life balance.
Many business owners use their calendar to schedule their business meetings, but why not take this a step further and schedule your whole life into your calendar. Block out time for yourself and your family and treat this like you would a business meeting (i.e. committed). By adopting this strategy you can can incorporate work-life balance and personal/family time into a single schedule and start to plan your business around your life.
2. 80/20 Rule
Always remember the 80/20 rule (the principle that roughly 80% of outcomes come from 20% of the inputs). In the context of business, the 80/20 rule is particularly relevant to your customer base and product/service mix. Identify your “20%” and re-orientate your business to focus on these customers and products/services. You will not only free up valuable time for your work-life balance, but you will also create capacity within your business which can be used for more profitable activities.
Don’t get stuck managing by reaction. Instead be proactive – make sure you understand what outcomes you are trying to achieve (goals), identify the things you need to do to achieve those outcomes (strategies) and prioritise your day accordingly. Think carefully about tasks that do not have a clear influence on the target outcomes you are seeking to achieve. Step back and ask yourself why you are doing these things? Do they add any value to your business? Be honest with yourself. If these tasks don’t add value, perhaps you can cut them out of your schedule to free up valuable time.
4. Know your Non-Negotiables
It is very important to identify your non-negotiables and protect them vigorously. For example, you may decide that no matter how busy you get with your business, you will never work on Sunday. If you set this as a firm non-negotiable factor in your life, then you will naturally plan around it. Make sure your non-negotiables align with your core life values so that you never compromise on these life values.
One of the key factors to achieve a successful and profitable business with a good work-life balance is to delegate, delegate, delegate! Too many business owners get caught up in the belief that they are the only person that can do their job. Make smart recruitment decisions and take the time to train your staff properly so that you feel confident delegating work to them. This also builds resilience in your business and provides business continuity planning options should you be out of action for any reason.
Not many small businesses can afford to hire a full time CFO, marketing manager, IT manager or HR manager. For this reason, often these important functions of the business rest on the shoulders of the owner.
With the advancements in cloud technologies and new innovative business models being offered by consultants and outsourced service providers, it much easier and more cost effective for small businesses to leverage off the expertise of these specialists without needing to pay a full-time manager level salary. By outsourcing these functions to external service providers you can gain the advantage of specialist expertise and free up your own time to focus on the things you do best.
International outsourcing markets have been growing rapidly over the past few years. It is now relatively common practice for businesses to outsource a wide variety of services to remote freelancers from anywhere around the world. Online platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer and 99Designs have revolutionised and globalised the freelancer market. For example, now you can hire a social media marketing consultant from anywhere in the world to manage your digital marketing campaigns at a highly competitive price.
7. Embrace technology
There are some truly incredible technology solutions available on the market today that can drastically change the way you do business. Don’t be afraid of these technologies, embrace them and find ways to utilise them within your business to improve productivity and efficiency. If you don’t have the expertise internally to identify and implement appropriate technology solutions for your business, then consider talking to a consultant.
You can free up valuable time by automating and streamlining your systems and processes with appropriate technology solutions. Furthermore, by shifting your systems and processes into the cloud you can create a far more flexible working environment for yourself and your team which in turn can lead to greater job satisfaction and increased productivity.