One of the drawbacks of being a small business owner is the multiple hats that you have to wear. You will find yourself performing several roles at a time — company director, marketing executive, human resources department, sales executive, production and administration department. The allocation of tasks is easier for big businesses, but for a small store with a limited staff, this is difficult.
Many small business owners get trapped in day-to-day activities and thus do not have time for doing tasks that will make their business more profitable. This is because customers are demanding and there is always a fire to be put out. However, very often, this isn’t the cause for store owners to be trapped sweeping the floor or fitting watch batteries. Frequently, it has to do with wanting to be in our comfort zone.
The first need we satisfy by doing odd jobs is that of certainty or comfort. We are comfortable fitting batteries. We feel less comfortable working on the marketing plan if that is not our strong suit and we are at a loss. Hence, we dump it in the “too hard” pile.
The second need we satisfy is that of making a contribution. We know that fitting batteries is an essential task — it is a key cog in the wheel that begins when the customer comes in and ends when they pick up the watch. Others can see our efforts.
The third need is that of significance. If you create a business where everything depends on your decisions, it will need life support in your absence. But it also creates a sense of importance for you. Believing that “nobody is as good as you” is a good source of self-esteem. Fitting batteries can become a task that only you can do.
So how do you get rid of these habits?
Raise the bar for yourself. This means becoming more demanding in terms of the quality of work you do. Imagine if you were working for someone else’s store, would they be happy with your performance as manager? Chances are you wouldn’t survive more than six months — there are no consequences of your actions in your own store and neither is there any accountability. Let’s say you are being paid $100 an hour to do your job. Would you still fit batteries? You may not have the staff for these jobs currently, but you can always contract out some of these services. Being too busy to plan your business means being too busy to make a profit.
Plan your day the night before. Prepare a to-do list and include at least one task that will help grow your business. As soon as you arrive at work, lock yourself in to finish the task; that way even if your day doesn’t go as planned, at least you will have completed your most important task.
Recognize that doing the same things over will not yield different results. That you’ve read this far shows you want more out of your store. It is vital to take time out to do the tasks that make a difference or you won’t make progress.