The Keys to Freedom - Escaping from the Tyranny of Busines OwnershipPosted 5/10/2004
By Thom Tschetter
To avoid burnout, owners must diagnose their businesses, much like diagnosing cars, to pinpoint problem areas that are keeping them from experiencing a better business and - in the end - a better life.
Let me share a concept with you that was developed because many shop owners today are feeling burnt-out and frustrated. They've traded the tyranny of a job and a boss for the tyranny of business ownership and an even worse boss - themselves. In the end, they lose their passion for their business and, ultimately, their passion for life.
Why is this article important? Because life is too short, and death is too long. It's time we all start looking for ways to make better choices about how we spend the time we have on this earth to make a better life for ourselves and our loved ones.
Have you ever noticed how most shop owners seem to take pride in such statements as, "I've been putting in 60 to 70 hours a week for years" or "I haven't taken a day off for umpteen years; if I ever left this place, the wheels would fall off."
I've heard these types of comments for more than 25 years. Frankly, I figured most of these guys were just jockeying for some perverted form of bragging rights. But in my consulting practice, as I weave in and out of different shops around the country, I've discovered that this is actually the way most shop owners live. In fact, I was amazed at how many shops close down so the owner and all the employees can take vacation at the same time. This way, the owner doesn't have to worry about things getting screwed up if he takes time off while the shop is open. The end result is that many shop owners lose their passion for their businesses. They become frustrated and eventually burn out. They are no longer moving toward their original dream. They have become so busy making a living that they forget to make a life. This is often because they are so caught up in the day-to-day crises of their businesses that their businesses are actually running them instead of serving them.
Stephen Covey wrote a book titled "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." In this book, he says, "Highly effective people don't do things differently; they actually do different things." They don't work harder, longer or faster than less effective people, but that they actually focus on and do different things that lead to greater effectiveness.
I know that most of you have heard that "you need to work on your business instead of working in your business." But, what does that really mean? Most of us know how to work on a car, but what is "working on a business?"
Hopefully, this article will help you better understand one approach for working on your business. Perhaps with some commitment and practice, you can learn how to identify and work on key aspects of your business so it will begin serving you instead of enslaving you.
To keep things in line with the way most of us think, I am going to share an approach with you for working on your business in a similar way that you might approach working on a car.
Why do you think you need to work on your business in the first place? Here is a list to help you get started in your thinking. If you find something on this list that you need to work on, great. But I encourage you to come up with your own list.
I suggest that you pick one - or if you're real aggressive - two things to work on at a time. Once you've mastered the techniques described in this article, you will be more proficient and ready to tackle a few more things.
Once you've decided what you want to work on, it's time to diagnose the problem. That is, you need to answer some questions so you can be sure you're fixing the right problem, for the right reason and in the right way. We've all had that sinking feeling of fixing the wrong problem with a customer's car because we blew the diagnosis. All too often, business owners become frustrated with their efforts in trying to make things better because they are working on the wrong problems.
The following exercise will help you diagnose, as well as develop, a strategy for solving most business problems. You need to think about each of the following questions specifically as they relate to your business problem(s). You also need to take time away from your business to do this process and write down your thoughts and ideas. Let's get started:
Now it's time to move on to the actual work of fixing the problem(s). This is the implementation phase. Here is a checklist to help you through this phase:
The keys to freedom allow you to develop a blueprint of what to do and how to do it with respect to implementing effective change in your business to enjoy a better life. It demonstrates a process for working on your business rather than working in your business. It breaks the concepts down into simple, bite-sized steps that will help you get started. It isn't the total answer, but as you begin to get some positive results, you will hopefully seek more training on management-related topics. I hope this will inspire you to participate in more of the AMI training courses and programs.
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