Posted on Aug 7, 2013

Are you running your business, or is your business running you?

We've all seen it before: A person walking a dog. Sometimes that dog looks more like a small bear than a dog, and sometimes you can't tell just who's actually walking whom. If you're not careful, the same thing can happen to you and your business.


I'm not talking about your business getting taken over by bears or dogs. I'm talking about you ending up on the wrong side of the leash of your business, and letting it run you.


If this sounds like you, keep reading for ways to get back in control of your business. If this doesn't sound like you, keep reading anyway so you'll make sure to know how to stay in the clear of your business running you.


Are you doing everything yourself?


Are you the boss, the accountant, lead sales person, copywriter, and manager of marketing? Think about it. These are individual jobs that people do full-time. For you to be doing all of them means that you’re doing the work of at least 5 people.


This sounds like a good, pretty impressive thing, right? While it is in certain ways, it can be hurting your business. Once you start multi-tasking too much, quality is lost.


Find ways to take control


Outsource your work


Figure out how much time you're spending on each business task, or how much time you'd like to spend on each, and hire someone else to do it for you. Consider interns, freelancers, and sales people to work on commission to keep overhead costs low.


If you hire an accountant for 10 hours a week, that's not only 10 hours a week you get back to focus on business growth and development, but you never have to worry about accounting tasks again. Another option is to look at what mobile apps can do the work.


Focus on your customers


It's easy to get caught up in the tasks of running a business, but as the head of a company, you need to remember to shine the spotlight on your customers and let others handle the bulk of the routine business tasks.


Do some business networking and customer outreach, and really get a feel for how your customers perceive your business. Grow your email lists, and engage with your customers. This will help you make important decisions about the direction of your business, and put you back at the right end of the leash.


Reconnect with what you created in the first place


Revisit the original ideas you had when you started the company. See how things have shaped out, and what still needs to be worked out. Instead of getting bogged down in the small details, spend some time looking at the larger picture, comparing it to your original dreams.


Remember that this is YOUR business. You created your brand. You are its master.


Be passionate


A passion for something probably led you to start your business. It's easy to lose that passion when you feel overwhelmed or are bogged down with routine tasks that were never part of your business-owning dream. Unless your dream was to run a one-person company and you have a deep affection for heavy multi-tasking, doing it all will burn you out quickly.


Get back in touch with your original passion, and you'll start to feel more in control and optimistic.


Partner up and collaborate


If your business is just pulling you around by the leash a little too much, call in backup. Look up some old colleagues in your field, or network to meet new ones, and see what you can do for each other.


Consider trading services to each other, or sharing a service, such as rent on a conference room space. Partnering and collaborating can do a lot for you. It can save you time, money, efforts, boost morale, and expand both your social and professional networks.


Remember: You created your business. Your business did not create you. With some focused efforts, assistance from others, and a return to your original passions, running your business will be like a nice walk in the park with a well-behaved dog.


How do you stay in control of your business? Please comment below.