Yes, you can work less, earn more

score Question:
I run a business employing 12 and would like to work less, accomplish more and earn plenty of money. Any suggestions?

You've probably seen telephone poles plastered with signs proclaiming: "Work at home part time and earn $4,000 to $5,000 a month!" You read them as you idle at stoplights, thinking to yourself "What a rip-off. I feel sorry for the gullible people drawn in by those signs." The most successful business owners develop financial formulas that let them make money without doing the work of two or three people. All it takes, to greatly oversimplify, is take 10 percent more profit on each sale. That isn't your salary, which comes out of overhead or product or service costs. That 10 percent is return on investment; it's there to fund the company in tough times, to pay off debt, to create security for employees, provide a greater return to you and so on.

I can hear thousands of company managers crying out that they can't charge more for their product or service or more than their competition does. Successful firms do. The charge more because they work more and deliver more. When a company earns adequate money for its efforts, the owner stops working long hours and weekends and starts building a team.

Instead of just wishing for it, smart business owners make personal time a priority. It doesn't happen easily, however.

Figure out what you do now and what you can delegate to your employees to streamline your tasks. For instance, have someone prequalify leads over the phone so the firm only handles the most likely buyers. Don't be a proposal-writing machine for every project that comes down the pike. Discuss alternative ideas with prospects - first to see if they are interested and then how they can be implemented in the most effective way.

Go away to a quiet place for a long weekend and just think about your personal priorities. Create a plan to achieve your goals. It may take some reorganizing of your business or additional personnel.

What will it take to give you the life you really want? A highly successful business owner gave me what he calls a job description for success:

  • Be your employees' No. 1 champion.
  • Create unmatched opportunities for every employee.
  • Hold employees accountable for sizing opportunities presented.
  • Create a company culture based on unmatched internal customer satisfaction [your employees]. This will ensure unmatched external customer satisfaction for clients and vendors.
Keeping all this in mind, I challenge you to figure out how you can work less, accomplish more and earn more money than you ever thought you could. It is possible.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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