In 2014, one of my professors in my MBA program asked the question, “Why are you here?” As he went around the class, many people responded, “To Further my Career", “To Earn More Money”, “To get a Better Job” and when it came to me, I responded, “I am here to Learn How to Work Less and Make More Money”. I remember to this day, when I said that, there was a gasp of unbelief in the room and several people said out loud that that is not possible. “How can you work less and earn more?”
Earning more and working less is a concept beyond imagination for most small business owners as it was for those MBA students.
Most business owners believe that they need to work more to earn more. They are stuck in the mindset of an hourly employee. However, in order to take our business to that next level, to get to the point where we can work less and earn more, we need to have the right systems and people in place that allow us to step back as owners and focus on doing those things that will really make the company successful.
The challenge for most business owners who are stuck in the weeds of the business, is that they have a hard time to see beyond the day to day operations of the business. They get up, go into “work” and fail to have a plan that will enable them to increase their margins, or generate more sales, or develop new markets. Those things that might allow them to work less and earn more.
Recently I asked one of my clients what he learned in the past year. His response was “I learned that I can earn more by working less!” Not only had our client doubled his income over the past year, but he also significantly reduced his stress levels. You might think that this story is an exaggeration or isn’t possible. How can someone double their take home pay in just one year? However here is the testimonial I received and is similar to what we hear from our clients on a regular basis.
"As the owners of a contracting company with 10 employees, we have been working with Dave for the past year in trying to take our business to the next level. As a result of Dave's Coaching we have doubled the amount of income that we took home this year over the previous year, and our stress levels have dropped significantly."
So, what did my clients do that enabled them to earn more and stress less?
1. Work Differently: First, they recognized that what had worked in the past was not working any more for the business. They needed to think differently about their business as sales were going up but profits were going down. They decided not to focus on sales but focus more on profitable business and as a result in the year their sales actually dropped 20% but their bottom line doubled.
2. Delegate more: The partners recognized that they had a great crew of employees, and decided to delegate more and keep their employees more accountable. They started having regular staff meetings that were “uncomfortable “for them at first but improved morale and communication. These changes enabled them to step back from the day to day work and focus more on the high-level operations like working on margins, and developing relationships with their clients.
3. Plan for Success: Thirdly, they started planning, they developed an annual plan that helped them strategically focus their energies and their operations. In the past, like many business owners, they were floating from year to year, now with some concrete objectives and guidelines about what they should and shouldn’t do, which they developed for themselves, they had clarity on what they needed to do to be successful.
My response after listening to my clients was
“You just learned in a year what most MBA students never learn in a lifetime.”
The fact is that many business owners would be able to earn more if they changed their mindset and thought like these clients. Thinking differently, delegating more, and strategically planning are key to earning more and worrying less. Perhaps it's time you decided to implement these processes into your plan for the rest of the year!
Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning Certified Professional Business Coach and the author of the book “Profit Yourself Healthy”. Need help with your business? Email