Ever thought of running away to a deserted island?
As a baby boomer, you have probably been in business a long time. You have seen things come and go, and managed many changes. Chances are you are feeling a little worn out. A little over it and just wish things could be easier.
If you could run away to deserted island, what are the three things you would take with you?
I could place a winning bet right now that it would not include BAS, PAYG, employee mistakes, client demands and social media posts.
Before making any knee jerk reactions about your business, take a moment to take a step back and look at what you have achieved over the past few decades … and what you still have to achieve. Baby boomer business owners have been the backbone of the Australian economy and in these economic times, the chances are you will be in business for a few more years.
If you are feeling stuck in your business, it is time to take a stocktake and look at how you rediscover your business mojo. Grab a piece of paper, break your business down into sections and explore each one to see where you can make changes.
New people and training
I am sure there are areas of your business that take up unnecessary time on your hands or perhaps you don’t like undertaking certain tasks and your time is better spent elsewhere in the business, well here is a tip: find someone new. Someone with a fresh pair of eyes. Someone with new ideas and bags of initiative. Someone with passion and drive. Ok, so this might be easier said than done at first sight but, patience really is a virtue so don’t settle for just anyone, continue your search and find the right person – the right fit for your business and its future.
Result will be, you can expand your workload, increase productivity and take advantage of new skills. Don’t become stagnant, welcome change. Welcome new people.
Offer apprenticeships and invest in people who want to learn and grow. As they develop your business will develop, too. As a baby boomer in business, you have a lot to pass on – think of it as leaving a legacy, sharing your decades of knowledge. It’ll also give you the opportunity to have more down-time (if that’s something you want).
Train your existing staff. I once saw a post on LinkedIn and it said ‘What if we train them and they leave? But what if we don’t and they stay.” What if they do leave? You gave them an opportunity to be better at what they do – business is about helping people too, not just receiving. But if they do stay, and research shows if you train and treat your employees well, they will be loyal. Expanding someone’s skill and knowledge is only going to be a positive for your business.
Does your team think you are a “walking book of knowledge?” You probably are. Baby boomers have lived through not only changes to the way business is done but also to world changes.
If you do find your staff are always coming to you, wearing you out with endless questions, it may be time to review your current systems and procedures.
If you closed your eyes and dreamt of your ideal work space what would it be?
Let’s be realistic here. It needs to be a space where you can be more productive with limited distractions. Does your workplace reflect this? If not, you could look to relocate.
Relocation has massive benefits, from downsizing to upsizing. You could also save money and get rid of that unwanted floor space and move to a smaller premise and hire a self-storage mobile unit hosting the IT system, filing and archiving or storing stock – ultimately making room for more people but reducing the overheads in the process. It’s about finding the right balance.
Every year I spring clean my house ready for the year ahead and business should be the same. What I mean by this is, every year take a step back and look at the services and products you offer. Are they working? Could they work better? Could you introduce something new? Are there new opportunities with your customers which you could tap into before your competitors do?
Listen to your customers. Find out how they are evolving. If you know you have what it takes to help, then do it before others take the lead.
Money is not the motivator
Certain factors stir our ambition, such as increased sense of importance, learning new skills, being able to express ourselves – you will find that money is not the main motivator. Obviously it helps because it pays the bills and can dictate the life you lead but some research suggests the following are the main motivators: Learning and developing, clear career progression, recognition, autonomy and responsibility and the working environment.
Take time out
When I take time away from business I can be found walking along the beach, going to the movies, watching mindless TV, having coffee with a friend…just simple stuff.
Baby boomers have a different work ethic. We do not quit until the job is done. Baby boomers keep going even when they do not want to. We understand sacrifice. After all that is how you built a successful business.
Everyone in business should take time out. Too much work reduces productivity. This doesn’t necessarily mean making time for a holiday but turning off the phone and laptop. Make time in your diary away from business, altogether. Even if it is just a day or two to recharge your batteries, spend time with family, go for a nice meal. It will help find the right balance between business and personal life.
Only you can make the decision to make the changes. You can do it. And, by doing it you can bring your passion back.