Last week’s ritual of turning our clocks back is a business owner’s dream:  We gained an extra hour to accomplish our goals!  This bonus hour suggests a Lesson Found.

This annual 25-hour day is not so much of a Lesson Found as a reminder.  Time is our most precious asset.  There are only 24-hours in the day and 7-days in a week.  But how are we using our time and how much of it do we control? And, because we struggle to achieve that elusive work-life-balance, the question is even more specific:  In our business, how are we using our time? As the owners, we should have full control of our time within our businesses.  But do we?

Here are three situations owners often cite as the cause of time wasted and suggestions for how to regain control:

Putting Out Fires: Staff not knowing or understanding how to handle a situation is the primary contributor to these “fires”.  SOPs are the solution. Documenting your procedures provides your staff the knowledge they need.  SOPs also give staff understanding of how their role fits into the company’s overall operations.  This increases morale and, by extension, retention.

Answering Staff Questions: SOPs provide answers to routine questions. But there will always be non-routine situations and the number of questions seems to increase exponentially as your business grows.  This is when you need to consider building a supervisory team to answer questions and guide your staff.

Answering Customer Questions:  When customers call, do they always want to speak to you?  This might work when you start out with a small customer base.  But it quickly becomes burdensome as your business grows. Thus the need to train and empower staff to provide customers service.  But how can you trust your staff to provide the same high level of customer service?  The answer rests with the quality of the SOPs and supervisory team you’ve put in place.

Of course, it is much easier to write about this then implement; let alone make it work.  And, all this takes times. Where, in your busy schedule, can you even find the time to figure out and plan how to make these ideas work while maintaining profitability?  After all, you are just one person.

You don’t have do it alone. This is exactly why I am forming a Vistage peer advisory group for small businesses.  In this group, owners come together in a confidential, non-competitive environment where they can bring their time-management and other issues and work together to come up with the best solutions possible.  This collaboration delivers results:  Vistage members grow their companies 2.2x faster than their competitors.

The peer advisor group I’m building is a non-competitive group with each business category limited to one-member company.  If you’d like to see if your category is still available and hear learn more about the group, email or call me (717-439-6254).

Life brings us lessons every day.  Sometimes from expected sources.  And sometimes from sources and situations we never would have thought possible.  Either way, they are a gift found. I am fortunate to find these types of lessons regularly and wanted to share them with you with this weekly series of “Lessons Found”.
Did you recently receive the gift of a Lesson Found that has helped you with management, marketing or another aspect in business? I would love to hear about it. Comment below or send me an email to let me know.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay