We all get busy, right? Leading a growing firm means you have a lot of stuff to do. Let’s just make it super simple and break down what we have to do as firm owners into two categories:
- Producing the service that generates the revenue.
- Running the business as the container that holds the business model.
It’s not that simple obviously, but I want to keep it simple so I can challenge you in this article. Don’t get mad at me as I challenge you. I hope you’ll listen since all of these words come from 20 years of experience and making a lot of poor and great decisions in firm growth.
We teach a lot of firm entrepreneurs, and we like to break down the amount of time that should be spent on each category like these:
- Producing the revenue is about 80 to 90 percent of your time.
- Running the business is about 10 to 20 percent of your time.
So, at a minimum, we believe you should have a four-hour block on your calendar each week (10 percent of a 40-hour work week) devoted to running the business. If you don’t put some time on your calendar to do this work, then your daily busyness of producing service and revenue will get the best of you and consume your firm. The results can be that you will lose control of your growth, the team can become chaotic doing what they want to do, you can lose focus and become unclear as to the next steps in growth, and service delivery to your clients can suffer.
So, how do you start getting your growth under control?
- First, put a calendar block on your calendar for at least two hours per week where you will solely devote that time to building your business. What do you do in that work block? Read the book, “Traction,” and that will give you plenty to do. Or, join Thriveal’s Future Firm Groups, and we’ll spend a year with you and walk you through it ourselves. Do you have time set aside each week to running your business?
- Second, make sure you have enough time devoted to your firm. If you are working out in the middle of the day, skipping days of work for fun times, failing to have accountability to work full days in your business or taking two-hour lunches, then you are probably not going to grow. Your current work hours may sustain your current firm size, but you can’t grow unless you are dedicated to growth. Are you wasting time that you could devote to growth?
- Third, you may have to add some more hours to your week to achieve the growth you want. If you are working 40 hours a week now, and then say you want to start growing 20 percent each year, then you are going to need to add more hours to your work week. You could gain a lot of new time just by doing what we talked about in #2. But, if that doesn’t cut it, then you may need to add an hour in the morning or evening, or on Saturday, to do what it takes to accomplish 20 percent growth. Are you willing to add some time to your calendar to commit to growth?
- Fourth, you’ll need some accountability. If you are leading your firm all on your own, then it’s so easy to just go to a coffee shop and “write” (or whatever you call it). Entrepreneurs need other people in their lives that ask caring questions like, “Did you complete that marketing plan you said you were going to get done this week?,” or, “Did you begin using that workflow tool you found so that you can be more efficient with the work flowing through your firm?” If you are an entrepreneur, don’t trust yourself with your time. Entrepreneurs suck at time management. Bring people into your life that will care enough about you to ask hard questions to help you achieve the goals of growth. Do you have other entrepreneurs in your life that can ask you hard growth questions? (If not, Thriveal could be the place for you!)
As we like to say when we teach firm entrepreneurs, filing tax returns takes a calendar work block to accomplish. Filing tax returns is work. Growth is work, too. Growth is a job, and you have to do things if you want to see the results of the growth. Team members can file tax returns, but the firm owner has to lead the growth. You’ll have to get your calendar and accountability straight if you want to grow. This article doesn’t have many efficiency tips in it. Sorry about that. You know all of those anyway (because of the efficiency blogs you read during your two-hour lunch breaks). Some of you are not hearing me because I made you mad at me. But, some of you (you know who you are) need to change things in your life if you want to grow your firm. Growth is complex, but it’s a lot of fun. It just takes work. That’s all. I’ll leave you with this powerful Theodore Roosevelt quote to inspire you:
“In this life, we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present merely means that there has been stored up effort in the past. A man can be freed from the necessity of work only by the fact that he or his fathers before him have worked to good purpose … a mere life of ease is not in the end a very satisfactory life, and, above all, it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it for serious work in the world.”