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Do You Build Clocks, or Just Tell the Time?

This isn’t a post about clocks… it’s a post about building your business.

“Imagine that you met a remarkable person who could look at the sun or the stars and, amazingly, state the exact time an date. Wouldn’t it be even more amazing still if, instead of telling the time, that person built a clock that could tell the time forever, even after he or she were dead and gone?”
Jim CollinsBuilt to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Are you feeling burned out and overworked in your business?  Are you wondering how your competition is opening new locations, or getting more business while arguably having just as good a product/service as you? Maybe it’s time to take a step back and reflect a little.

Ask yourself the following 7 questions:

  • Do you find yourself doing a lot of the same tasks over and over?
  • Do you frequently “hire yourself” to do something instead of creating a repeatable process?
  • Do you “wing it” when communicating with clients?
  • Does your business have anyone that isn’t replaceable (because no one actually knows what they do)?
  • Would you have to do research to find out how many new clients you got last month?
  • Do you have to train every new employee ad hoc?
  • Do you frequently “hire yourself” to save money (opposed to hiring an expert)?

How many times did you answer “yes”?  If you’re like most small businesses, you probably said yes 7 times.

Let’s think back to the original question in the title… “Do you build clocks, or just tell the time?”  If you want your business to grow, to flourish, and to last, you’ll eventually have to accept that you need to step out of the “do it yourself” role (telling time), and start spending your time actually building a business (building a clock).

Hiring out takes guts, because let’s face it… YOU are the cheapest employee you can have.  Whether you’re in business to make money, or help people (or both as I feel is necessary), you got into business to provide a product/service on your terms. You got into business to have a direct hand in creating your future.  Becoming a slave to your own business, and getting stuck telling the time, puts you in no better a position than if you worked for someone else.

If your pride is holding you back, get over it.  If your afraid of spending money, be wise and invest in your future. If you just didn’t realize there was a better way, you’ve now been enlightened.

Now go build a better clock!