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Hey there, fellow business owners! Joseph Haecker here, and today I want to talk about a phrase that often plagues our entrepreneurial lives:
"I'm so busy."
It's a common response when someone asks how we're doing, but have you ever stopped to think about the impact it has on ourselves, our teams, and our clients? Let's delve into why being "busy" is not the goal of business ownership and how it hinders our ability to achieve long-term success.
The Busy Business Owner:
I won't mention names here, but I once knew a very successful business owner, who fell into the trap of repeating the words, "I'm so busy".
When her clients would call, she would immediately apologize while juggling around with her phone, keys and other items, letting her clients know that, "...the last call ran over, and that she's just so busy". When she would get to the office, she was always urgently running between appointments and running late. So much so that her team learned not to bother her with anything that might upset her, or may or may not be important, because they feared she was "Just too busy".
When it came to her friends and family, they would put off phone calls, important updates and invitations to fun family events, because they knew that she was "...just too busy".
She had convinced herself and everyone around her that she was "so busy" that they all simply assumed that she was "just too busy...for them".
Though highly effective and talented at what she did, throughout the process her clients felt neglected, often say things like, "You're just too busy for us".
Her team also suffered, in silence. Their needs were often over shadowed by hers. Pay increased were neglected, time off requests were not mentioned, they personal lives and commitments were at the whim of the business owners urgent needs and demanding client expectations. Though, because they knew how busy she was, they would never bring it up.
And when they did, it was an explosion of emotions. Crying, quitting or letting important client follow up fall apart.
The simple mantra of, "I'm so busy" echoed and reverberated through every aspect of her life, and yet she didn't even know it was slowly killing her, her team, her family, her clients, her business and her ability to gain even more referrals.
Using "I'm so busy" as a mantra creates a psychological burden. It reinforces the belief that being busy is the only way to achieve success. It drains our mental and physical energy, leads to burnout, and affects our decision-making abilities. More importantly, it hinders our ability to work on the business itself, taking us away from the bigger picture.
At the end of this article, I'll share another personal story of a business owner that "got it right".
Working ON, Not IN, Your Business:
As business owners, our ultimate goal is not to be "busy" but to own a profitable and thriving business. This requires us to work "on" our business, not just "in" it. When we're constantly stuck in the day-to-day operations, we miss out on the opportunities to strategize, innovate, and grow. We become reactive instead of proactive, hindering our ability to address the needs of our business and provide an exceptional experience for our clients.
Life Balance vs. Business Ownership:
The concept of "life balance" often touted in popular culture is a myth for business owners. Instead, our focus should be on planning, direction, and building a culture that aligns everyone's efforts with the desired goals of the business and the products or services that we offer. We must understand that our role as owners goes beyond being "busy" with the operational aspects; it involves shaping the vision and creating an environment that supports growth and success.
Eliminating "Busy" From Our Vocabulary:
Let's face it, "busy" should be eliminated from a business owner's vocabulary. It's time to delegate, reallocate resources, and streamline our businesses so that we are never "too busy" for our team, our clients, our family, our friends, or even "ourselves". By leveraging the strengths and expertise of our team members, we free up our time and energy to focus on what truly matters—strategic decision-making, cultivating relationships, and driving the business forward. It gets us back to why we got started in business in the first place.
Wisdom from the Experts:
Fortune 500 CEOs and business industry publications echo this sentiment. According to Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, "Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action." Meanwhile, the Harvard Business Review states that successful leaders understand the importance of balancing "doing" with "thinking" to drive long-term growth.
The Business Owner That Got It Right:
At the beginning of this article, I said that I would share another personal story of a business owner that got it right.
I have not talked with this guy in a long time. And I'll share that our professional relationship even ended on a sour note. But I will never forget the level of time and attention my former boss would give, in the midst of his ultra-busy day.
The owner of the second lighting firm I worked for, owned seven businesses that each employed dozens of people, and each generated tens of millions of dollars respectively. This man ran between projects and companies all day long. His wife also owned and managed several of her own businesses. And they could easily be labeled a "Power Couple".
What struck me, and a picture in my head that I will never forget...When you would catch him running through the hallways at work, he would immediately Stop. Put a hand on your shoulder. Look you square in the face. Then lead with some personal thing, like, "How are the kids? Did Jayden make Captain of the football team?
Each and every time. With out skipping a beat. He was immediately 100% focused on "Me".
It did not matter that the world was burning around us. In that moment, he not only was focused on me. But he immediately was personal and let me know that I was "Top of Mind".
He "WAS" a busy man. There was not mistaking it.
But he didn't let me know it.
Instead, he was 100% in the moment, when he was addressing me.
And this is how he was with everyone.
I've met and know 7 Billionaires. Each one of them is both important and busy. But here's the secret..."They don't need to tell you that themselves"
Let me wrap up this blog with this...As business owners, our goal should never be to be "too busy." Instead, we MUST prioritize working on our businesses, delegating tasks, and creating an environment that fosters growth and success. Let's free ourselves from the busyness trap and embrace a mindset focused on planning, direction, and building a culture that drives us toward our desired goals. It's time to shift our perspective, redefine success, and reclaim our ownership. Remember, being busy doesn't equal being successful.
So, I leave you with this...
Take a moment to reflect on why you started your business. Was it to be constantly overwhelmed and "too busy"? Or was it fueled by a passion, a vision, and a desire to make a difference?
Cultivate a love affair with your business once again. Reignite that passion that led you to start this journey. Find joy in the challenges, embrace the learning opportunities, and let your enthusiasm fuel your actions. When you love what you do, being "too busy" becomes a thing of the past.
Give yourself permission to delegate and trust your team. Surround yourself with capable individuals who can handle the day-to-day tasks, allowing you to focus on the bigger picture. Empower your team to grow and shine, and watch your business flourish.
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Let's start a conversation that leads us all to greater success as business owners.
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