A 24 hour business cannot mean a 24 hour commitment from the owner, can it?

Being accessible to your customers 24/7 may be the new reality of business with on-line shopping, extended opening hours and e-commerce… but what does it mean to the small business owner?  How on earth can a business owner be expected to be “on call” 365 days a year, 24 hours a day – that is not humanly possible and it certainly isn’t sustainable.

What I have found is that when business owners go on holidays or when their team is working on weekends, they may have left the building but their minds are still firmly entrenched in the business sandpit.  When the business is operating, these owners are still mentally at work – “on call” just in case something unusual happens – something the team wouldn’t be able to handle.

The only time owners sever this mental attachment is when the business is closed (or at least for some part of that time).

I have already seen the fall-out of this 24/7 story.  Owners who have not considered or planned for the impact of being mentally and emotionally “on call” without reprieve are fast losing their passion for their business – they blame the business, the team, the customers, the industry and the increasing demands around accessibility, for their state of mind.  They see no escape, no alternative and it becomes all pervasive, impacting on family, friends, community, health – they are at a loss and feel like they are failing at the one thing they did well and which in effect, defined them.

Business owners believe that they must move with the times (and rightly so) and embrace the concept of e-commerce, social media and longer opening hours and they begin the implementation process without due consideration to how this will work from a global perspective.  There are so many questions which must be asked before the process begins.

Questions like:

These few questions just touch the surface – invest the time in this pre-implementation process – research what others are doing in your industry, ask your team for input, attend information sessions, and survey your customers and your market (which may expand).  And then continually review, measure, and reset and engage with those who are doing business with you.

Don’t enter this brave new world without doing your homework.  And be warned… too often business owners are on this journey, well entrenched in the new business model before they know it – almost by stealth, little by little, hour by hour, longer opening hours have become the norm.  And owners wonder why they feel so totally overwhelmed.

Let me go back to the last question…

If this question isn’t addressed the likely outcome is not pretty… owners lose the fire in their belly, energy levels fall and the business begins to suffer along with the health and well-being of the owner and all those who he or she connects with.

The business must be designed to be fit for the purpose of a 24/7 operation which at the same time enables the owners to live a rich and fulfilling life.  There may need to be a reset around the owner’s beliefs concerning the role a business should or should not play in their lives.  Often the owner has a misconception (often unknowingly) that the business and their role in it defines them… they are the business and the success of the business is the only measure of success for themselves personally.  There is no separation.

In these circumstances, as the business trades for longer hours, the business owner has the “opportunity” to become even more connected and reliant on the business – it becomes even more all-consuming.

The “rules” of a business must be biased towards the owner’s life plan – too often, the “rules” of life are biased towards ensuring the business plan works.

There is another way, a better way.  It is never too late to take back control.  Find out how at our BUSINESS by DESIGN Workshops



Let's get connected: