Hope is Not a Plan: Have you seen this man?
By Adam SnookFeatures Business Intelligence business intelligence equipment rental opinion
Work/life balance…is it just a far-fetched dream?
It’s 30 degrees outside, there’s ball games, festivals, outdoor concerts, hiking, biking. You get the point. Summer is here! The best season to be a Canadian, aside from the mosquitoes. You want to go to the cabin and fish, head to the mountains, go help on the family farm. All things that make summer the most enjoyable time of year.
While it seems everyone else is out doing what we’re supposed to do this time of year, where are you? You’re stuck at the shop wishing you had the ability to tell your boss that you’re taking 10 days off to go to the lake with the family. The problem is, you’re the boss. When people want time off they come to you and you’re forced to move other people around to cover, or cover it yourself.
So where did we go wrong? We seemed to be living the dream. We own our business (or the bank does). We control our own destiny. We’re the envy of every nine-to-fiver. They all think we drive around in our Mercedes convertibles, coming into the office three hours a day and spending the rest on the golf course. Wintering in Mexico. The reality is that like most small operators, we’re lucky to get a long weekend off. Especially being that we make 80 percent of our revenue in the nicest 50 percent of the year. Well, we put ourselves into this situation by choosing an industry we love. It’s the sacrifice that comes with something worth doing.
This summer may be a lost cause, but what can we do about it for next year and every summer after? The answer seems obvious, but is easier said than done. Work on the business, not in the business. Hire someone to start taking the day-to-day responsibilities of the business from you. We’re independent people in the rental business, so letting go of some control can be very hard. It’s likely going to take a long time to find a person you trust enough to hand over what we’ve worked so hard for. Make a plan to start looking soon, list your expectations, budget etc. Don’t let another year pass you by.
This is actually the perfect time in history to be taking a look at tweaking some things in order to enable yourself to get away. You probably have Wi-Fi if you are staying in something more elaborate than a tent. So you’re reachable in the event of an emergency that your staff can’t handle. And you can avoid that nagging feeling that the world is ending just beyond your line-of-sight by checking your email quickly in the mornings. COVID wasn’t good for much, but it did get many of us comfortable with video conferencing over Zoom and the like. You could be at the lake and still have morning meetings with the team back at the shop. Yes, the self-help people instruct us to fully disconnect in our down time but we business owners know that’s, shall we say, an “aspirational” goal.
Clearly not every business has the structure or resources to allow it. But, if you can make it work and start enjoying life outside of the shop or office, it’ll make you appreciate your business far more. You’ll have a new-found energy for focusing on growth and improvement. Plus, your kids might actually have some memories of you when they’re older.
As you’re looking back on your life I don’t think any of us will wish we spent more time stuck behind the counter.
Adam Snook owns Just Bins, a Regina-based provider of waste disposal solutions.
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