Running a small business is no walk in the park. In fact, according to a new survey sponsored by Staples and conducted by International Communication Research, many small business managers are working such long hours they hardly have time to go to the bathroom. Look at these statistics:
· 68 percent work on their days off
· 51 percent work on holidays
· 21 percent work while eating dinner
· 18 percent read work-related documents and email “while in the bathroom!”
What do these numbers mean? Some would say that this is simply what it takes to compete successfully in the global marketplace. Others would argue that these numbers reflect an unhealthy imbalance between work and play that’s harmful to both managers and their families.
One thing is certain: There’s little reality in the picture of bosses who spend their evenings drinking martinis and smoking cigars, and who head for the golf course around noon every Friday.
Running a business is hard work. Of course it takes long hours. The good news is, if you see yourself in these stats, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.
I’d write more, but my wife is just about to serve dessert.
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Now that I’ve had my coffee, I’ve got a few minutes to add a couple of other thoughts. Thought Number One: When IBM was the dominant computer company in the world, part of its culture was based on the idea that if you can’t finish your work by 5:00 p.m., there’s something lacking in your organizational skills. I’m sure this sounds laughable to many readers, given the hyper-competitive nature of the global marketplace, but think about it. Are there ways you can better organize your day in order to be more productive? Some managers, for example, don’t take calls until 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning so they have a little time to think quietly and get things done. Some have put their foot down about e-mail, and only check it twice a day.
Thought Number Two: Can you delegate more? It’s the hardest thing for many people to do, and, yes, it really does take longer to teach somebody how to do it than it does to do it yourself. But over time, it’s the only way to grow your business.