John Ingrisano here. The following piece is from my "Focus Small Business" column in the July issue of Corporate Report Wisconsin (www.crwmag.com). I hope you enjoy it. — JRIngrisano
Are you working at least 60 hours a week? If not, you’re a part-timer, just looking to get along. That’s not why you went into business for yourself, and that’s certainly not how to keep it profitable and make it grow.
If your business is only a hobby for you, that’s one thing. But if you’re in it to grow and make money, you need to be willing and able to go the distance. This is a marathon, but one that is a lot longer than the typical race. Are you in constant training? To help hone and tone your business mind and your body, do the following:
- Work 60 hours a week. This is no 10K walkathon. So, start pushing your endurance. You probably put in 30 to 40 hours, typically. Why? Because of habit. That’s the standard workweek. But you are a business owner, and there’s nothing standard about it. This month, push your hours up to 45. Then go for 50. Finally, by the start of 2008, be ready to run that 60-hour workweek without breaking a sweat. Let’s say you add one hour a day to a five-day workweek. You come in half an hour earlier and shave 30 minutes off your lunch. That gives you five additional hours a week, 20 more a month, or more than 240 a year. You will add 30 extra days to your year, which adds up to more than five weeks! Do nothing else, and you will leave your competitors in the dust, along with the rest of the hungry herd.
- Make them real hours, not punch-in-and-sit-on-your-butt hours. As a consultant, I’ve noticed that most people blow at least two hours each day indulging themselves—engaging in a quick round of computer solitaire or Soduko; checking e-mail for the fifth time in an hour and actually reading all their spam junk mail; knocking off early because, well, what can you do with that random 15 minutes?
Instead, organize your time so that each minute counts. Every evening before I head out the door, I plan tomorrow’s schedule. I divide my day into 15-minute slots and know exactly what I will be doing all the time. Sure, there are those customer phone calls that send me scrambling, so I have to be flexible, but I at least start out with my schedule and try to make it work.
?Give up your bad habits. Remember, you are running a business marathon each and every day. So, respect your body.
When I was a young buck writer, I drove myself on the pure exuberance of youth. I smoked a pack a day, drank too much, slept too little, and had boundless energy. Then I quit smoking and starting exercising each day (I map out projects while walking or read biz books while peddling away on my exercise bike). Within a month, my energy level had jumped. Since I liked the feeling (and never was one to take life in small bites), I then quit drinking. The results were scary. I now need almost two hours less sleep each night (which adds both business and personal time to my day), and my mind is more focused, so projects that might have required five hours before now often come together in three or four hours. The bottom line: The quality and quantity of my work has improved since I began treating my body like a cherished friend, not my party buddy.
?Take time for family, friends, and self. That’s the truly cool part. If you pump up the quality and quantity of your business hours, and if you master time management and make every minute count, and if you take good care of your body, you will have more business time, feel better, AND have more quality time for personal interests, from family, to friends to religious and community involvement.
The bottom line: You can make quality time for your personal and your business life by treating life and business as a marathon. Now, get out there and work hard. Make money. Have fun.
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