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The Most Important Hour of Your Week as a Business Owner

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The Most Important Hour of Your Week as a Business Owner

Many Small Business owners, operate in a state of overwhelm on a daily basis, because they feel they simply do not have enough time to do everything they need to do in their business and their life.

Being in a state of overwhelm is no fun, it is unhealthy and to make matters worse, your brain becomes less and less efficient the more overwhelmed it gets.

It’s a vicious cycle. The more stuff you have to do, the more overwhelmed you start to feel, the less efficient you become, the more stuff you’ll have to do … etc.

When I began building my business in the eighties and nineties, I often got trapped in this spin cycle of overwhelm. Whenever I was spinning like that, the business suffered, my family suffered, my staff suffered, my clients suffered, and both my happiness and my health suffered.

Thinking back now I realise that I may not always have been the easiest person to be married to or to work for when in the midst of one of those recurring cycles. I would snap at people, make rash decisions, my family missed out and many important business development projects were left as so much debris by the side of the road.

The E-Myth by Michael Gerber

Towards the end of the nineties, I came across a book that intrigued me. It was one of the condensed editions of The E-myth by Michael Gerber. Gerber tells the story of a builder named Joe and Joe was just as stuck, frustrated and overwhelmed as I was. His business and his people suffered just as much as mine did.

I felt as if Gerber was writing about me and one specific paragraph changed my life. That paragraph went something like this:

“Effective business owners must learn to work “on” the business as well as “in” the business”, and: “There is the work of the business (the making and delivery of products) and there is the work of the business owner. To be an effective business owner, you must allow space and time for the latter, as much as for the former”

The work of the business owner is the only work in the business that cannot be delegated. It is also the work that can always be put off another day, but every day that it is put off, is a day in which the business stagnates. The work of the business owner is the work that builds the business into the thing we dream of and ultimately it is the work that gets us out of that state of overwhelm. It’s thinking, planning, imagining, designing and strategising.

Reading this paragraph took my breath away. I realised that until that moment I’d spent my days managing the work of the business and that I’d largely ignored the work of the business owner.

My Business building hour

The first thing I did was set aside Tuesday morning from 9 am to 10 am for the work of the business owner. To ensure I’d not be interrupted I’d go to a local Greek café near my office, and take nothing but a notebook. In the beginning I felt guilty and made up excuses to my assistant and clients, but I nevertheless let nothing get in the way of having my business building hour.

The impact on my business and my life (and my wife and my kids and my staff and everyone else) of setting aside this weekly business building hour, far exceeded my expectations and I slowly started moving out of overwhelm, out of stuckness and out of frustration.

A year later, my business building hour had grown to become 2 business building mornings and my feelings of guilt had entirely dissipated, but the first months of 1 hr per week is what started the transformation.

I haven’t always agreed with everything Michael Gerber has written and I’ll write about that some other time, but this one insight alone means he remains one of the all-time great business gurus for me.

Give it a go yourself. Start next week, set aside an hour… Just one hour a week religiously, consistently. Make it important enough, because it is… I promise you.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Megan Winter
    Reply

    Great article Roland. This is something that I am constantly trying to master. Is really easy to slip back into “busy” but I know that when I honor appointments with myself to work on my business, business and life is much better.

  • Roland Hanekroot
    Reply

    Thanks Megan… yes, that’s right make the appointments with yourself and make them just as important as the appointments with others… that’s the secret… keep it up!

  • Bridget
    Reply

    Roland I had a similar ‘aha’ moment when I was given the advice to ‘spend 15 minutes at the start of the week deciding your top 3 priorities for that week – not tasks, but strategic priorities. Then spend 60-90 minutes every morning focused on those priorities.’ So it could be anything from lead generation to finding strategic partners to improving cashflow to recruiting quality staff to resolving a legal issue. But you spend at least 5 hours a week on something which makes a big or long term difference.

  • Roland Hanekroot
    Reply

    Thanks Bridget… great advice… I bet it made an incredible difference in the development of your business.

  • mm
    Rosemary Shapiro-Liu
    Reply

    This is such an important reminder. I am always asking business owners to have a once a week Management Meeting with Self. I love this concept of a bussiness hour. I think they go together.

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