How To Run A Business Without It Running You

If you are just getting your business off the ground, it is vital to make it does not consume your life. If you learn the hard way to run a business, you will find yourself at the mercy of your clients, team members, and others involved in your business. As well as, feeling like you are frantically spinning too many plates. 

Jodie Cook, a contributor for Forbes, gives tips for small business owners on how to not let your business run your life. 


Set the Rules

As a business owner, you can be pulled into every single scenario when you do not need to be. 

“Offering too many options, every decision needing a multi-person discussion and making concessions and exceptions every day are all recipes for a slow-moving and clunky establishment.”

Cook suggests that making rules and providing clear communications can help you avoid wasting your time.

“Commit to communicating the right information, to the right people, at the right time. Make it OK for your team to do the same. Don’t answer the same question twice. Nearly all those you answer will have been answered before. Update an FAQ document every time you answer a question and ask your team to as well. Soon you’ll have every process mapped out for easy reference and your team will be empowered to use their own reasoned choice.”

Know the Vision

Cook states that understanding and clearly informing your team of your long-term vision is critical to the success of your business. You must also figure out your short-term vision, the stepping stones to your long-term.

It can become confusing if you do not have a clear vision and agenda for you and your team. 

“Leave no room for misunderstanding. Define and communicate your purpose at every opportunity, and use it as a framework from which everyone operates.”

Hire the Right People

Cook’s word of advice: trust your gut. If a new hire does not feel right, or fit in, do something about it. 

“Work with people you trust implicitly, who are aligned in their values and operate in a conscientious way. It’s the only way everyone can take complete ownership of their own role. As Marcus Aurelius wrote: ‘What is not good for the beehive, cannot be good for the bees.’ Everything everyone does needs to be good for the beehive; there can be no selfish agendas.”

Processes in Place

“For everything that happens in your business, there is a process that follows. … Think of it like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, whereby efficient automation and documented processes are the base level that enables the higher stage of creativity and excellence to be accessed.

The default should be that processes run, not that bottlenecks are formed in every department. … Zoom out, right out, and look at where the breakdowns are happening. Maybe it’s hiring or quality control, or just overflowing inboxes. Practical solutions might involve a task management system, an invoice automation tool or even just better email filters.

Processes should work by default and break only occasionally, not the other way around. However small it might seem, if it’s causing a breakdown, it’s costing time and attention and must be solved and eliminated.”

Address Your Mindset

“Remind yourself that you have made the choice to run a business. No one forced you to do it. If you’re running a successful and growing company with happy clients and a dream team of colleagues, but you still feel like your business runs your life, the problem might exist solely in your mind. Develop other interests, give yourself space and don’t be so hard on yourself. If you’re actually in a cushy situation but you’re telling yourself it’s a chore, recognize that you could, instead, choose to chill out and be grateful.”