More and more start-ups and small business owners are reporting longer weekly working hours than ever.
In 2017 for example, 36% of Smart50 Awards listed business owners reported working 60 – 70 hours per week, 22% reported 50+ hours and 10% reported 75+ hours per week. We know from extensive research by leadership experts, that even when employees are afforded flexible workplaces, styles and hours burn out is still a very real threat, not only to employees but entrepreneurs and small business owners too.
Anyone working more than a 40 hour work week runs the risk of burning out and increasingly, successful entrepreneurs and leaders in business innovation are writing and talking about the benefits of committing to a shorter working week, leaving them more energetic and with a healthier work/life balance. Instead of being forever ‘switched on’ and ready to work, successful leaders are increasingly incorporating contemporary practices like telecommuting and retaining virtual assistants who can be delegated tasks and responsibilities that entrepreneurs and owners just don’t have the time for.
This streamlined approach to modern business development is proving extremely successful, with compressed work weeks making up the structure of half of the companies listed as Australia’s ‘50 best places to work.’ Whether this compressed work week looks like a 30-hour week, 4-day week or something else entirely, it’s a trend that has a massive pay-off for owners and employees.
So how do they do it?
Thinking about changing your work style or implementing new practices and working hours is a daunting prospect, even for the most organised business owner. Fortunately, we’ve done (some of) the hard work for you! After weeding through all the best advice from self-starters and successful entrepreneurs who have made the switch to a new business model we have carefully collected our top 3 tips for cutting back on hours, without breaking the business.
1. Outsource tasks to a trusted VA
Timothy Ferriss, bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, documents how he moved from a 14-hour per day work schedule to only 4 hours per week, when a 3 week sabbatical in Europe inspired him to streamline all of his processes. Honestly, Timothy's approach business model is interesting enough to warrant it's own entire blog - but I digress. By working remotely and delegating most tasks to efficient and flexible Virtual Assistants, Timothy freed up enough spare time that his main focus is now self-promotion.
2. Talk to your team
Anna Ross, founder of nail polish brand Kester Black ensures her staff work no more than a four-day work week. When discussing her strategy at 'Mobile-ising Women', an industry event in 2017, Ross revealed that not only did she receive feedback from her team when she initially made the change to a more flexible roster but again, when the new policies were reviewed and further improved upon.
Coronavirus has thrown a real spanner in the works for many businesses, though for some the necessity of telecommuting may be a blessing in disguise. Working from home may not only reduce business overheads on things like office rental, internet and phone costs but this modern approach also reduces the cost of business to the environment. How can this cut back your work hours though? Well as well as saving 15-25 full working days a year by just cutting travel time, research has shown that productivity actually increases more than 10 per cent in staff and management working from home.
Shorter workdays really are possible and the solution may be simpler than you think. Start small – investigate telecommuting options, streamline your system by delegating to virtual assistance and start scheduling with the big picture in mind – long term goals for you, your business and your staff. Flexibility is not just a trend, but a radical response to an all too frequently imbalanced work/life routine. So what are you waiting for? Reach out to Adminovate to find out what a Virtual Assistant can do for you and get your free time back today.
Not unlike growth in nature, businesses grow and evolve in stages, moving through many different cycles before reaching their full potential. Like the first bloom of a flower or the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly, all businesses can thrive and flourish with the right nourishment (or management) and under the right conditions. These are the five stages where organic growth and development may require a bit of extra assistance, and where you can find it.
You have that idea that won’t quit. You are full of enthusiasm and cannot wait to get started. This is the beginning of your new venture and often, the most exciting part of the journey. So what kind of business will you start? Have you done research about potential competitors? This is the stage of your business where the project is in its earliest formation. Your idea may have amazing potential but to get things off the ground, you need to soak up the knowledge around you. Find people with experience, talk to them, network and never stop researching. Necessity is the mother of invention and the best business ideas will come not only from believing in your idea but understanding your market.
This is the second phase of development that you will see in your business. By now your dream has become a reality and you probably have less time than you did before for all that dreaming, hard at working bringing it to fruition instead. This can be a costly stage for any business, and you might find yourself burning through cash just to keep up with it all. Between implementing new systems and processes and of course, trying to stay nimble enough to change direction in an instant, on the off chance that everything doesn’t go exactly to plan. Sometimes growth can be so quick that you will outgrow a system or process almost as soon as it is implemented, meaning more cash is needed. It can be hard to keep track of it all and might be a good time to consider a bit of extra help. Delegating your time better can help keep costs down in the long term by leaving you to what you do best – focusing on the big picture, while a part-time or virtual assistant can do the rest.
Growth has slowed down now, with processes and systems bedded down. Your VA has helped to organise your scheduling, mail and billing and your growth is now tracking at a healthy, sustainable pace. Due to your growth rate steadying up, you are now able to start analysing your business a little more critically, fixing some of the issues that you may not have had time for previously while growing at such a frantic rate. Have you got a current social media or marketing plan in place? Would it be simpler to digitalise or archive client files? Perhaps it is time to update your old policies and procedures? Good record keeping is essential to tracking growth and something that VA’s are great at!
You are now able to be “seen” as a serious business. You are confident in your practice, management and ethos and are ready for the next stage of growth. What does that look like for your business? Are you hoping to start a franchise? Expand your brand? Perhaps you are simply moving fast enough to require extra staff or a bigger team. Processes are well bedded down so if a change needs to be made, it doesn’t take all the time or money in the world to do. By now you (hopefully) have a VA, or a team of VAs that know your business, have grown with you and are ready for the extra workload.
Decline (but we prefer to think of it as “New Life”):
Don’t think of decline negatively here (although it does bring a negative vibe, doesn’t it?). This is just the phrase that we are using to illustrate this transition often presents a crossroads for a business. Previously, you had expended most of your time and energy growing into the thriving, successful business that you knew your dream had all the potential to become. Now the market conditions are changing, though. Macro conditions are constantly in play and you may have to change your business model and evolve to stay ahead of the game. You may even find that you move through the growth cycle all over again. New product lines, new services, new staff that need nurturing, stripping away old processes that are no longer relevant - all those things belong in this stage. The only difference is you now have the experience and know-how to ensure the next cycle starts stronger than the one before!
We are here to help your business grow. We work in support of businesses in various stages and cycles of growth. Having been through this ourselves, we know the importance of business and administrative support that is efficiently supporting and committed to your development. Reach out today, we can’t wait to hear how we can help you!