Thursday, April 15, 2010

How To Scale Your Life?

Scalability is something that all entrepreneurs think about. Taking their business to the next level, while increasing functionality and increasing the number of clients they serve, hopefully brings with it more profit and success. Investors contemplate if a company can scale before they invest, as the money folks do not want a flat line. Growth is important to most long-term business plans.

It takes different resources to scale a business beyond the initial stages. Not all companies are able to do this, and not every entrepreneurs has the desire to create a larger enterprise. But for those who have this ambition, the ability to manage the changes is important.

The same thing is true in life. The habits and skills that got you to your current position may not scale to get you to the next step. We must adapt and change the actions we take if we want to expand our effectiveness in any area. I feel these pressures in both my career and personal life.

After a lifetime of working for other people's companies, I began working for myself twelve months ago. It is a different world, and I have struggled with the changes in how I make the choices of how I spend my time. I am happier, but also hungrier to do more.

The biggest change I have had to face was how I manage myself (and time). There are more people who want to "pick my brain", more opportunities to speak, more responsibilities to existing clients, and a focus on finding new business. Everything I do has more importance and significance. Being a small business (both for NYP Speakers and my own speaking career), there is not a full staff to whom I can delegate.

However, at the same time, I do not want to be one of those people who shuts out others. My success has always come from having mutually beneficial relationships in my network, and I have seen too many entrepreneurs who get busy and then avoid people. The concept of a network that lead them to the top becomes a bother. They rationalize they cannot scale, but I am not sold on the fact that success means you have to put up walls. It just means you have to find other ways to manage it all.

I read a passage in a book recently that suggested entrepreneurs pre-judge the people to whom they allow time on the calendar, as time is the ultra-valuable asset. It implied that one should only meet with those who can be predetermined to bring benefit to the entrepreneur. Between the lines it said you should ask "so what is in this meeting for ME?" before ever talking with someone. Wow, the best things sometimes come from directions you are not looking, so this could be limiting.

Pre-judging everyone can't be the answer, as it seems too selfish. I understand that there are only limited hours in the day. Yet, scalability does not requires a person to become focused only their self-importance.

The best answer I ever witnessed was a CEO of a multi-million dollar company who allowed anyone who wanted 30 minutes on his calendar (sales people, those who want to network, etc...) to have his time at either 6:30 AM or 7:00 AM. He was an early riser and enjoyed getting to the office early. I took one of those spots on his calendar (and closed a sale). He told me that most people declined the early hour. With 52 weeks in a year, and five work days each week, he offered availability to 510 people (granted, sometimes he was gone or on vacation, but you get the idea) to get on his calendar. He told me only a couple of dozen ever showed up. But he had never wanted let his success make him shut people out of his life.

I do not yet have all the answers. I am grateful that I am having to face these questions, as I am getting more speaking engagements, more consulting clients, and NYP Speakers (and New Year Publishing) are continuing to grow. Along with the good things that come from creating a sustainable business, comes more questions on how to scale my life. Keeping up with emails, making sure my family knows they are my priority, WOWWING clients, finding time to prospect, and not getting worn out by it all can be overwhelming.

What suggestions do you have to scale as your time becomes more limited?

Have A Great Day.



Harwick Family said...

Dads should listen to Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin at least once per month. Puts it all in perspective for me. "There are no Do-Overs".

Eugene Sepulveda said...

first suggestion is setting up an office and having people come see you for a set amount of time - 20 or 30 mins max - being very explicit about amt of time available. Might not be practical but has vastly improved my quality of life since establishing an office with the EF staff. Traveling and even being in a public space just isn't anywhere near efficient. (also helps that my office is super cold and that no one wants to just hang out).

Winmark said...

I think some of it also has to do with being willing to give a little back. Most of us have had someone take a little time to help or tutor us along the way and it's important to be willing to do that for those coming up behind you.