Well, you see, I am home alone this weekend as Helen is off to visit her youngest in Sheffield. So, what should I do with my weekend off the reins? Probably much the same as I usually do. I have worked 6 days a week for most of my working life. My choice! Saturday is just such a good day for getting things done. No staff needing help or guidance and most clients either don’t work at weekends or think that we don’t. It is therefore a fine relaxing day when I can focus my mind on whatever I want. I’ll do a bit of online training, tidy up unfinished business from the week that has just finished and then spend some time working on our business.
Now, if you are in business, how much of your week do you devote to working on, rather than in your business?
I had heard a lot about working on rather than in your business but I really did not understand what this really meant until I was given a copy of the E-Myth by Michael Gerber. I was given it, I carried it around for a while, I put it on a shelf but eventually, probably a year or more later, I took it down and read it. It is a fascinating read and should be compulsory for all new business owners. I have subsequently read it again and again until the corners of my copy are now all bent.
The powerful message is delivered as a story told by a business coach who is mentoring a young woman who has recently started in business but is now almost ready to give up and throw in the towel. Working long hours, cash flow issues, staff issues etc. If you are in year 2 or year 3 of your business, you maybe recognise this scenario. Anyway, he takes her over a period of months or years to a much better place with everything organised and the business profitable.
Anyway, in that book I discovered how important it was to find time, somehow, to work on your business. Do you give yourself time every week to take a few steps back and look at what you have and how you can make it better, bigger, more efficient, more profitable etc.
A few years ago, we were part of a mastermind group of accountants. We were all accountants in practice from all over the UK, so none of us were in competition. There were only about 15 of us. One of them had this problem. He worked long hours, and when he was in the office, he was caught up in either staff issues, training or client work. Relations with his business partner were OK but they were not on the same page when it came to a vision for the business.
The mastermind set to work on him.
As an aside, what is the collective name for a group of accounts if it isn’t a mastermind of accountants. There seems to be no standard collective noun for a group of accountants. So, any noun that suits the context could be the collective noun. What about “an audit of accountants”, “a balance of accountants”, “a sum of accountants”, “a fudge of accountants” or “an account of accountants”. Maybe not.
When it comes to auditors what about ‘an incompetence of auditors’ and ‘an inquisition of auditors’. I think we should perhaps leave it there.
The solution for my mastermind friend was to find time to work on and not in his business. He was to take a day, or as much of the day as he could, and not go into the office. That would give him space in which to work on his business. During this time, he was not to check emails or answer the phone.
In the end, he developed a compromise that worked for him. On a Friday morning, he got up early and worked in his home office only going into his office after lunch. This gave him 4 or 5 hours just thinking about and planning his business.
I knew of another who rented a second very small office with no phone where he could go to get the space and the quiet he needed to work on his business.
I have heard other people say that they get their best business ideas when they go on holiday. Their minds have the space to breathe and consider away from the daily grind and all that hustle and bustle that inevitably fills your day when you are working normally.
If you do nothing else today, shut your Outlook and put your phone on silent for 30 minutes and immerse yourself in the calm. Just breath and relax. The world can wait!
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership